The day Raoul Wallenberg was arrested – level 3

17-01-1945

At the end of World War II, Hitler wanted to send thousands of Hungarian Jews to concentration camps. The United States wanted to do something about it. They found a man whose name was Raoul Wallenberg, and they sent him to Budapest. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who worked in Budapest before and who knew important people there.

When he came to Budapest, he started to issue special documents for Hungarian Jews. These documents stated that their owners were waiting for repatriation in Sweden. The documents protected them from deportation. The German authorities often respected these documents because they didn’t want to risk a diplomatic conflict with Sweden which was a neutral country.

Wallenberg had money from the US, and he also rented 32 buildings throughout the city. He hung Swedish flags on them and declared them Swedish territory protected by diplomatic immunity. He hid many people in these buildings. Through his activities, he saved thousands of people from certain deaths in concentration camps.

On January 17, 1945, when the Soviets were already in Hungary, Wallenberg was arrested by them. The Soviets suspected him of being an American agent. He was then taken to prison in Moscow where he disappeared. He was only 32 years old.

He was a big hero. People still remember his name. There are many streets in the world named after him.

Difficult words: state (to write officially), repatriation (to send somebody back to their country), deportation (to move somebody to another country against their wish), authorities (the people who make decisions in a place), diplomatic (the situation when you want to be friendly with another country), neutral (a person or country that does not fight), immunity (protection from what other people can do), suspect (to think that something is true).

What do you think about this day?

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