Ryan Aiken and Professor Paul Kerry, History
My research into the legacy of Holocaust rescuer Raoul Wallenberg is far from complete, and now, over nine months after beginning my investigation to accurately document Wallenberg’s heroic efforts to save Hungarian Jews during the last days of WWII, the overall emphasis of my original thesis has been redefined to – – hopefully – – merit the focused and lasting attention that Raoul Wallenberg so richly deserves and has been so long denied. Hundreds of books have been published documenting the exploits of Raoul Wallenberg, and within each work the individual authors adamantly petitioned the Government of the Former Soviet Union to release Wallenberg, if still alive, or to make available all information relating to his illegal arrest on 17 January 1945 and his subsequent death within the Soviet prison system.
Unfortunately, it has been my sad experience to learn that after the vast majority of literature on Wallenberg went to print, the many authors who had so readily taken up the fight to secure the truth about Raoul Wallenberg’s illegal arrest and imprisonment just as readily withdrew. This disturbing realization prompted me to reevaluate the direction of my research and discover if there existed within the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg a more worthy pursuit, a pursuit that would finally exact justice for a humble Swedish Lutheran who literally gave his life to save Hungarian Jews. In addition, on the 55th anniversary of Wallenberg’s arrest, the American Jewish Committee published a powerfully moving essay by William Korey entitled: The Wallenberg Mystery Fifty-Five Years Later. In the closing paragraph of his essay Korey writes:
“The historic significance of the Wallenberg case transcends its momentary anniversary commemoration. Emblematic of the traumatic horrors of our past epoch– disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and massacre–is the attempted cover-up of such horrors. In an era when the features of the Holocaust, against which Wallenberg so valiantly struggled, find a shattering, if partial, reflection in the tragedies of Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and East Timor, the international community, moving into a new millennium, must be guided by the ethical imperative of full disclosure and the rendering of justice.”
After reading this closing paragraph, I became resolved to Korey’s assertion that “full disclosure and the rendering of justice” are central to the legacy of Holocaust rescuer Raoul Wallenberg. My investigation of this great man has convinced me that as just as Wallenberg sought justice for Hungarian Jews so, too, must justice be sought for him.
While the focus of my research has now changed significantly and while I face a much more daunting task — that of securing justice for Raoul Wallenberg – my project finally possesses the singular merit I always wanted it to have. I am extremely grateful to Brigham Young University and to the Office of Research and Creative Activities for giving me this tremendous opportunity.
- William Korey, The Wallenberg Myster Fifty-five Years Later (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 2000), 51.