Raoul Wallenberg, a man who sacrificed everything to stand up to the evil of the Nazis to save thousands of innocent civilians in Hungary.

Raoul Wallenberg

by Alexi Thijssen from San Diego, California in United States

There have been many significant heroes throughout history, however there are not many like the one of a kind Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg demonstrated courage during one of the darkest periods in history, World War II. Shortly after arriving in Budapest, Hungary, in July 1944, Wallenberg began his iconic life saving mission of distributing certificates of protection to Hungarian Jews. During the autumn of 1944, Wallenberg repeatedly intervened to secure the innocent lives of the Jewish families being sent to death camps. Raoul ended up saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Raoul did this using his undeniable courage and compassion for others, proving him a great hero.

123495Passport photo of Raoul Wallenberg from 1944Unknown author / [Public Domain] via WikimediaWallenberg’s courageous acts proves him as a true hero, as his courage is responsible for saving thousands of innocent civilian men, women, and children from the horrific and inhumane acts of the Nazis. Wallenberg grew up in a wealthy family, hardly experiencing many difficulties in his young life, however at the age of only thirty-one, Wallenberg caught word of a mission assembled by the U.S. military, and sprung to the opportunity to do the world a good deed. Others cowered at the idea of being sent to interfere in this dangerous war zone, but not Raoul. When Wallenberg sprang to the opportunity, it proved his courage: “Olsen (the director of the campaign) was looking for a man willing to walk into the jaws of the Nazi death machine, someone who spoke both Hungarian and German, someone with an independent spirit… for Wallenberg, Olsen’s offer was irresistible, an opportunity to accomplish something truly important”[]. Wallenberg wanted to do the world good when no one else would. This displays true courage, sacrificing his own life, taking on a great mission to make a difference in the well being of the less fortunate people under scrutiny. Wallenberg knew he was putting his own life on the line; however that only seemed to make him try even harder to help. To him, every single life, every child, woman, man, counted and he used his wit and social status for the greater good. His courage was shown as he interfered first hand: “ Wallenberg fearlessly challenged the Germans, going as far as to retrieve intended victims from the trains they has been jammed for shipment to Auschwitz”(Raoul Wallenberg. Encyclopedia). Not many are known to have personally interfered in this dark time, but Wallenberg went straight to the trains going to execution camps to distribute life-saving documents. As he did this, there were many attempts on his life however this did absolutely not stop him. Wallenberg’s courage during World War II no doubt labels him as a great hero.

123515Raoul Wallenberg Place plaqueMike Steele / (CC BY 2.0) via FlickrWallenberg also possessed another essential heroic trait: compassion for others. Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others. And unfortunately, there were many innocent people suffering in this period. “Just 31 years old, Wallenberg organized and overfilled an elaborate system of safe-houses, placing as many of Budapest’s Jews as possible under the diplomatic protection of Sweden.” [] This quote proves the compassion Raoul Wallenberg had for others, as he did everything in his ability, everything possible, all to help end other’s suffering caused by the criminal acts of the Nazis. However this was not all that he accomplished to help save those suffering: “He recruited a network to fabricate and distribute official-looking Swedish protective visas to those being deported to death camps, ignoring the warning shots from S.S. guards to shove life-saving papers through the windows of the transports and into the hands of frantic families”[]. This displays his compassion for others because he was willing to take any risk and do anything to save others in desperate need. He cared about the injustices these people were facing, although they were complete strangers. This is what makes Raoul Wallenberg a hero. There have been many important heroes, however few experienced the courage and the compassion Raoul Wallenberg displayed in this dim time in history.

Raoul Wallenberg possessed courage and compassion for others in the darkest time all to save innocent civilian lives. Not many have expressed the same life-saving traits as Raoul Wallenberg, now inspiring through his relentless courage and kind compassion for other people in need. These are obvious heroic traits and are essential for our society and the whole world as well. Heroism is crucial for us, as for without these genuinely good people like Raoul Wallenberg, how would our world be today? Raoul Wallenberg will always be remembered and will inspire forever.

Page created on 4/18/2018 7:26:23 PM

Last edited 8/2/2020 2:11:55 AM

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Related Links

Choosing to Act: Raoul Wallenberg - Important information on this historic hero, including his background, and his iconic mission to save lives.
Raoul Wallenberg Institute - Learn more about the institute on their website

Extra Info

Works Cited

"Raoul Wallenberg." Encyclopedia of World Biography, Gale, 1998. Biography In Context, Accessed 29 Mar. 2018.

“The Story of Raoul Wallenberg Budapest and Heroism.” Wallenberg Legacy University of Michigan,

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Author Info

I'm writing about this important hero because he created a tremendous impact on history. If it wasn't for what he did in this time period I, as well as many others, may not exist today. He heroically stood up to save hundreds of thousands of lives when nobody else dared.