Wallenberg to receive honorary Australian citizenship

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save up to 100,000 Jews during the Holocaust, will be made an honorary Australian citizen, the country’s first such honor.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Monday that Wallenberg will be recognized as an honorary Australian citizen.

“This is the first time that Australia has bestowed such an honor,” she said in a statement. “The lives of those he rescued are Mr. Wallenberg’s greatest memorial and Australia is honored to have survivors he rescued living in Australia today.”

Governor-General Quentin Bryce will host the presentation of a certificate of honorary Australian citizenship at Government House in Canberra on May 6 during a celebration of the centenary of Wallenberg’s birth.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott also welcomed the award. “The ceremony at Government House will recognize Raoul Wallenberg’s remarkable service to humanity and provide an opportunity for Holocaust survivors and their families to honor his memory,” he said.

Wallenberg has been recognized as an honorary citizen of America, Canada, Hungary and Israel, and Yad Vashem honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations.

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