BROOKLYN, N.Y. – More than 150 Boro Park residents, elected officials and ambassadors to Sweden and Hungary braved the rain Sunday afternoon, the first day of Chanukah, to honor the legacy of humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg at a street co-naming ceremony at the corner of 13th Avenue and 50th Street.
The stretch of 13th Avenue in Boro Park from 36th Street to 60th Street is now co- named Raoul Wallenberg Way.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who, in the summer of 1944, embarked on a mission that led to the saving of as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews who were otherwise bound for death in Nazi concentration camps.
Serving as first secretary at the Swedish Legation in Budapest, Wallenberg devised a plan to issue Swedish “protective passports” and establish safe houses in buildings throughout Budapest.
Sunday’s ceremony was the culmination of a year-long effort to honor Wallenberg’s in this year, the centennial of his birth.
Boro Park is home to the largest population of Holocaust survivors in the United States, and many local families are descendants of individuals saved by Wallenberg.
Joining Councilman Greenfield were elected officials including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, State Senator-elect Simcha Felder, Assemblyman Bill Colton and Assemblyman David Weprin, along with members of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission, Consul General of Hungary Karoly Dan and Honorary Consul General of Sweden David E.R. Dangoor.
“The Talmud tells us that one who saves a life saves the world,” said Greenfield. “In essence, that is what Chanukah is all about, a handful of people refusing to stand by and instead standing up to end the religious persecution nearly 2,200 years ago.
But only 68 years ago Raoul Wallenberg made the ultimate sacrifice for doing the right thing.
There are literally thousands in Boro Park who trace their lineage to someone saved by Raoul Wallenberg.” “The realization of Raoul Wallenberg Way will forever be a testament to the heroism of Raoul Wallenberg and will indeed forever be a symbol of our gratitude to Raoul Wallenberg for saving 100,000 Jewish lives, many of whom later re-established themselves here in Boro Park, including my late grandfather, the previous Liska Rebbe of blessed memory,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, which spear- headed the creation of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission.
“Sweden is very fortunate to participate in this event to honor Raoul Wallenberg and we are very proud as a country to have him as part of our legacy,” said Honorary Consul General of Sweden David E.R. Dangoor.
“I would like to thank the Wallenberg Commission for putting forth this wonderful street renaming so Raoul Wallenberg’s name is here forever. One hundred years from now we have to make sure Raoul Wallenberg’s name is not only marking this street, but some- thing that means something important to us,” said Consul General of Hungary Karoly Dan.
“This is such a great moment here in Brooklyn, as we make the statement that we will never forget those who stood up and did the right thing,” said former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
“We still face forces of evil, and there are still forces that seek to destroy, so this street renaming is a sign and a light.
It is very appropriate that it be during this period of Chanukah.
It is a light to the world of hope and determination to make sure that good survives…,” said Assemblyman Bill Colton.
“This is a righteous person and some- one who should be recognized by the world … When young children pass by, their parents will be able to tell them that Raoul Wallenberg is a real hero for all of eternity,” said Assemblyman David Weprin.
“This co-naming is very important, especially for the younger generations who do not know as much about our history, so that we look up and see Raoul Wallenberg Way.
That is the way that you should live your life,” said CB 12 Chairman Yidel Perlstein.
“I am proud to join the community in paying tribute to the life of Raoul Wallenberg.
His actions saved so many lives during the Holocaust.
He is a hero not just for Jews, but for all of humanity, and his story should never be forgotten,” said Councilmember Brad Lander in a statement.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Ceremony hosted by Councilmembers David Greenfiled and Brad Lander, who co-sponsored the co-naming legislation in the NYC Council Sunday, December 9th 12:00 pm 13th Avenue at 50th Street Brooklyn, NY.
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