Raoul Wallenberg to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Through unanimous consent S.1591, the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act, passed the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk and co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, awards Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal for saving tens of thousands of lives during the Holocaust. The bill, which also passed the House in April with unanimous consent, is now heading to the President for his signature.

"Raoul Wallenberg's actions during the Holocaust demonstrate the highest level of courage," a spokesperson for Senator Kirk said. "Illinois was one of the first states to declare October 5 'Raoul Wallenberg Day' in 2011 and now, the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes Raoul Wallenberg's unique legacy and unmatched heroism."

In 1944, Wallenberg, as a Swedish Diplomat in Budapest, gave at least 20,000 Jews Swedish travel documents to escape the German occupation. Regardless of his heroics, Raoul Wallenberg was arrested by the Russians and supposedly died in prison. His actions gained him recognition at Yad Vashem, honorary Israeli citizenship, and honorary American citizenship. With the President's signature, he will receive the highest civilian award that Congress can bestow.

Posted: 7/12/2012 3:26:57 PM

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