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Ulf Zander

Some musical works that build on Raoul Wallenberg’s actions and fate form the point of departure for an argument aimed at problematizing a previously predominant view of the Americanization of the Holocaust. According to that view, adaptation to the conceptions of US audiences mostly involves simplification and a reduction of nuance. With an eye on increasing interest in Wallenberg in the 1970s, the chapter analyses how he became an important factor in American foreign policy and popular culture. The chapter discusses examples of creative negotiation between information about his life drawn from scholarly studies on the one hand and representations of Wallenberg on the other, especially with reference to the American television serial Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story and the Swedish-Hungarian feature film Good Evening, Mr. Wallenberg.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

The final chapter summarizes the main findings of the study. A vital aspect of that study is that scholarship and popular culture are interrelated, as the Raoul Wallenberg example demonstrates. Another realization becomes apparent: while secret/silent diplomacy is in many respects directly opposed to public diplomacy, the two have become increasingly interdependent. How views on Wallenberg have changed in Sweden, Hungary, and the US is shown in a partly different light as comparative aspects are given increased attention. Finally, the chapter addresses the question of how the memory of Wallenberg’s achievements can and should be passed on to future generations.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

Monuments and memorial sites are at the heart of this chapter. After an introductory discussion about the functions fulfilled by statues, both in the past and in the present, a number of monuments erected to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg are analysed. These monuments are located in Hungary and Sweden. The Hungarian statue projects are discussed in close relation to developments in that country’s politics during the Second World War and the Cold War, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Open Access (free)
An evolving history
Ulf Zander

Beginning with the formal announcement in 2016 of Raoul Wallenberg’s death, more than 71 years after his disappearance, the chapter presents some of the speculations as to why he was arrested and probably murdered by Soviet security services. There is also a detailed discussion of previous research on Raoul Wallenberg, and on how the story of the missing Swede may be understood from scholarly historical perspectives. That view is held up against a more comprehensive understanding associated with the forming of myths and legends. The chapter also deals with questions arising from the various materials and methods applied in the investigation.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Open Access (free)
Life and legacy
Author:

Raoul Wallenberg: Life and Legacy examines important events in the life of the Swedish diplomat, but this is not a traditional biography. Starting from Wallenberg’s time in Budapest during 1944–1945, the book analyses how Wallenberg went from being a highly sensitive topic in Swedish politics to becoming a personification of humanitarian effort during the Holocaust, as well as a ‘brand’ in Swedish foreign politics. Fictional portrayals of Wallenberg are another essential feature. Looking at the many ways in which his life has been represented in monuments, on opera stages, in a television serial, and in a feature film, it becomes apparent that scholarly historical perspectives have not set the agenda for engagement with Wallenberg. Finally, this study raises a vital issue: how can Wallenberg’s memory be kept alive as the distance to those events with which he was so powerfully connected recede into the background?

From bone of contention to brand
Ulf Zander

This chapter analyses the initially sparse but later comprehensive efforts made by the Swedish Foreign Office to find out what happened to Raoul Wallenberg. It also examines the many and extensive debates during and after the Cold War about the Swedish handling of the so-called Wallenberg case, often with representatives of the Swedish government and Foreign Office on one side and representatives of the Wallenberg Association, as well as of his family, on the other. The chapter demonstrates how and why Wallenberg went from embodying a difficult issue in Swedish politics to becoming a symbol, or rather a foreign-policy brand, for the country. The latter mindset was especially predominant in 2012, in connection with the celebration of the centenary of his birth. At that point, the express aim was to reduce emphasis on his disappearance in the Soviet Union, and on the way Swedish governments handled that disappearance, so as to lay greater stress on his achievements in Budapest during 1944–1945.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

The chapter is divided into three components, interlinked by Raoul Wallenberg’s operations in Budapest during 1944–1945. The first section supplies a brief biography of his life before the Second World War and during the early war years. The second outlines the history of Hungary from the mid-1850s onwards, with an emphasis on the period 1918–1945 and a focus on the development from antisemitism to Holocaust. The third describes the American political discussion that resulted in the founding of the War Refugee Board, the organization which was arguably Wallenberg’s chief employer, and the efforts made by the Swede during his time in Budapest.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Ulf Zander

The chapter starts from the Scarlet Pimpernel as a stage play, a book, and a film. It draws attention to the effect of the film Pimpernel Smith, featuring Leslie Howard, on Raoul Wallenberg. The dual basis for the history-cultural investigation is provided by Emmuska Orczy’s play and book about the English hero who, in disguise, saves French people from the Terror of the French Revolution in conjunction with Leslie Howard’s representations of the Scarlet Pimpernel and his ‘updated’ counterpart in the 1940s, Horatio Smith, who helps persecuted scientists and intellectuals escape from Nazi Germany. The chapter also examines the Swedish film Pimpernel Svensson and deals with another diplomat, Harald Edelstam, who, like Wallenberg, has been referred to as a latter-day Scarlet Pimpernel.

in Raoul Wallenberg
Abstract only
Jane Brooks

The concluding chapter summarises the book and articulates its implications. The book argues that escaping to Britain certainly saved the lives of those who found refuge in this country. However, any security the refugees found was contingent upon what they could do for Britain and not Britain’s obligation to act on humanitarian grounds. Those who entered the nursing profession were provided with a sense of security, valuable training and accommodation. Nevertheless, the provision of nursing as an opportunity was not entirely altruistic, nor were the refugees always treated with sympathy. The war years enabled the refugee nurses to demonstrate their commitment to Britain, but the concept of the ‘People’s War’, heralded in the press and by the Government, was fragile. Many of the refugees experienced antisemitism, though few dwelled on it in their testimonies. Ultimately the book argues, Jewish refugees were told to be grateful for having been saved by Britain from certain death. Perhaps the gratitude should be ours. Twenty-first-century nursing, and therefore the nation’s sick and in need, continue to reap the benefits of the refugee nurses’ work, in practice, education and research.

in Jewish refugees and the British nursing profession
Abstract only
Jane Brooks

Life for many Jews before National Socialism was happy, despite nascent antisemitism. With the coming of Hitler’s regime, all that changed. Chapter 1 charts the increasing persecution of Jews in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, culminating in the November pogrom after which many clamoured to escape. As the chapter demonstrates, this desperation to leave was met with the hardening of borders across the liberal democracies. Britain may have done more than other countries, but it was still meagre. Nevertheless, the Government did support the escape of children through the Kindertransport and for women to enter the country on domestic service visas and some as nurses. The chapter therefore examines the escape of the refugees to Britain and their early lives in that country. It argues that whilst the Kindertransport enabled 10,000 children to flee, they left without their parents, most of whom they never saw again, leaving many with life-long psychological scars. The decision to enable 20,000 women to escape was not entirely altruistic. The middle-class women of Britain needed servants, and with the imminent threat of war, middle-class matrons needed more nurses for their hospitals. Tragically, treatment by the refugees’ foster parents and employers was often neglectful at best and for some, brutal. Nursing may not have been a popular profession with women of Britain and the working conditions were harsh, but anything was better than domestic service and at least as a nurse they received training, secure accommodation and a ready-made ‘family’ in the Nurses’ Home.

in Jewish refugees and the British nursing profession