Raoul Wallenberg biographer speaks exclusively for Shalom Sydney | Jewish Writers Festival event

November 8, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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With the recent declaration by the Swedish government that Raoul Wallenberg is officially dead, 71 years after his disappearance, the visit by the author of his definitive biography, Ingrid Carlberg, is most timely.

book-coverShe will speak exclusively at a ‘Shalom | Sydney Jewish Writers Festival’ pop-up event in her only public appearance in Sydney on 15 November.

Raoul Wallenberg’s heroism while serving as a diplomat in Budapest at the height of the Holocaust, saved some countless lives and ultimately cost him his own. He was subsequently made an Honorary Citizen of the U.S.A. and designated as one of the Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel. Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, describes him as “one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century”.

A series of unlikely coincidences led to the appointment of Wallenberg, by trade a poultry importer, as Sweden’s Special Envoy to Budapest in 1944. With remarkable bravery, Wallenberg created a system of protective passports, and sheltered thousands of desperate Jews in buildings he claimed were Swedish libraries and research institutes. He is credited with helping at least 20,000 Hungarian Jews escape the Holocaust. As the war drew to a close, Wallenberg voluntarily went to meet with the Soviet troops who were relieving Budapest. Arrested as a spy, Wallenberg disappeared into the depths of the Soviet system, never to be seen again.

Ingrid Carlberg

Ingrid Carlberg

Carlberg uses access to totally new research and gains the close cooperation of the Wallenberg family, to tell this never-fully known story of the tragic intersection of Cold War politics and the Holocaust. She narrates with vigour and insight the story of a heroic life, and navigates with wisdom and sensitivity the truth about his disappearance and death.

“After featuring the story of Frank Vajda, who was personally saved by Wallenberg, at the full festival in August, we are delighted to delve further into the life and fate of this Holocaust hero at this special event,” said Shalom Director Michael Misrachi.

Carlberg is a Swedish author and journalist. Her biography of Raoul Wallenberg was awarded the prestigious August Prize for best work of non-fiction in 2012 and the Swedish Academy’s Axel Hirsch Prize in 2013. Carlberg worked at the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter from 1990 to 2010, specializing in investigative and narrative journalism.

Ingrid Carlberg will be In Conversation with Rita Nash at Waverley Library from 10:30am to 12:00pm at Waverley Library on Tuesday 15 November. Tickets are available for purchase at www.shalom.edu.au.

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