The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Raoul Wallenberg Day:
“Every Canadian should grow up knowing the name of Raoul Wallenberg.
“As Nazi-controlled forces seized control of the Hungarian government, Mr. Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, worked tirelessly to save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews.
“He used his diplomatic powers to set up safe houses for Jewish communities and issued passports to families to keep them from being deported to Auschwitz. He fearlessly confronted Nazi officials to demand the freedom of Jewish prisoners, often directly intervening to rescue entire families, delivering them to safety.
“It is estimated that Mr. Wallenberg and his colleagues saved more than 100,000 Jews living in Budapest during the Holocaust.
“Tragically, this heroism was never rewarded. As the war drew to a close, Mr. Wallenberg was arrested by the communist Soviet Union. He allegedly died in their custody in 1947 after being kidnapped and taken as a prisoner to Moscow. However, the exact date and circumstances of Wallenberg’s death are unknown to this date.
“In 1963, Mr. Wallenberg was recognized by Yad Vashem in Israel as a Righteous Among the Nations. In 1985, under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, he became the first-ever honourary Canadian citizen in recognition of his unparalleled heroism in the face of great evil. Today, on the anniversary of his arrest, we pay tribute to this incredible statesman. We honour this hero, whose empathy and love for others saved the lives of thousands. As we reflect on his legacy, let each of us look to him as a shining example of true courage and conviction amidst dark times.”