The family of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and hero who was credited with saving the lives of up to 100,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II has appealed to President Obama to help pressure Russian officials to reveal what happened to Wallenberg at the end of the war.
Wallenberg was assigned as a special envoy to Budapest, Hungary, in 1944. When the Nazi occupiers began to round up Jews for deportation to death camps, Wallenberg used his status as a diplomat to shield Jews, using such ploys as creating false "protective passports," and using buildings identified as "Swedish territory" to house them.
When the Russian Army reached Budapest in January of 1945, Wallenberg was arrested on suspicion of spying, and then disappeared. A report later surfaced that he had died in a Soviet prison in 1947.
The Wallenberg family has been trying for years to discover what actually happened to him, and met with President Obama, who was visiting in Stockholm before the upcoming G-20 meeting in St. Petersberg. Obama promised his support, saying "I'm going to see Putin, and I plan to raise this with the Russians," according to Nina Lagergren, Wallenberg's half-sister, who is now 92, as reported by Yahoo News.
The ripples of Wallenberg's actions have spread out as far as the Silicon Valley. Congressman Tom Lantos, who for many years represented San Mateo county, survived during World War II by hiding in a safe house that had been set up by Wallenberg.
In the early 1980's a local campaign of Jewish and Christian leaders advocated for naming a park in honor of Wallenberg, and the City of San Jose designated Wallenberg Park on Curtner Avenue between Cherry Avenue and Cottle Avenue.