By the President of the United States of America
In January 1944, the United States War Refugee Board asked Sweden to send a representative to Hungary in order to organize efforts to rescue the Jewish population of that country from annihilation by occupying Nazi forces. During the 6 months he spent in Budapest, that courageous Swedish envoy, Raoul Wallenberg, saved some 100,000 men, women, and children from the gas chambers and crematoria of the Nazi death camps.
Raoul Wallenberg risked his own life many times in defying the Nazi authorities who were systematically condemning thousands of innocent Jews to death. He tirelessly pleaded, schemed, maneuvered -- and even threw himself before rifle-wielding Nazi guards -- in order to rescue their prisoners from extermination. His efforts were truly selfless and heroic. Amidst the horrors of war and Nazi atrocities, Raoul Wallenberg represented the noble and decent conscience of humanity.
On January 13, 1945, in violation of international standards concerning diplomatic immunity, Raoul Wallenberg was taken into custody by Soviet forces occupying Hungary. The Soviet government initially denied having arrested him, but later stated that a prisoner named Wallenberg died in a Soviet prison on July 17, 1947. Since that date, numerous eyewitness accounts have indicated that Raoul Wallenberg may have survived long after 1947. There is no proof that he is not still alive and imprisoned in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has yet to produce any evidence of Mr. Wallenberg's death and has refused to investigate reports that he may still be alive.
On October 5, 1981, the President of the United States signed into law a joint resolution making Raoul Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States, which signified the American people's recognition of his heroism and our refusal to forget him or his bravery in the face of tyranny.
We welcome as a positive sign the Soviets' invitation to Raoul Wallenberg's relatives to meet with them in the Soviet Union later this year. It is our hope that this meeting will produce long-awaited answers to the questions surrounding the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. This great and selfless man -- and the thousands of people whose lives he saved -- deserve no less.
The Congress, by Public Law 101-63, has authorized and requested the President to proclaim October 5, 1989, as "Raoul Wallenberg Day."
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 5, 1989, as Raoul Wallenberg Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and I urge them to reaffirm their devotion to the just aspirations of all peoples for liberty and peace.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.