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Posted Monday, April 9, 2007

University to Honor Swedish Diplomat at Dedication Ceremony

Philadelphia University next Monday will dedicate the walled plaza located between the side entrance of The Kanbar Campus Center and the Athletic and Recreation Center in honor of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. All members of the University community are invited to attend the dedication ceremony April 26 at 11 a.m.

As First Secretary of the Swedish Legation in 1944, Wallenberg dealt personally with the horrors of the Holocaust. In his position, he worked tirelessly to distribute false Swedish identity documents to Hungarian Jews that undoubtedly saved them from death by the Nazis. He established numerous safe houses in Budapest, Hungary, and secured food and supplies for those who were able to escape. For his efforts, he is credited with saving approximately 100,000 individuals from almost certain death.


Under suspicion by the Soviets of spying for the United States, Wallenberg was arrested in 1945 and jailed in a Moscow prison where he reportedly died two years later, although there have never been definitive findings of what became of him after his arrest. A native of Sweden, Wallenberg studied architecture at the University of Michigan, where he graduated alongside former United States President Gerald Ford.

“To many, Raoul Wallenberg is an inspiration and a hero admired for his courage, selflessness and strength during adversity,” said President James P. Gallagher. “I can’t imagine a more inspiring person to dedicate this plaza to and look forward to students, faculty and staff participating in this important event.”  Prior to the construction of The Kanbar Campus Center, Philadelphia University housed many of its student services in the Wallenberg Center, a building previously located on Main Campus.  This Thursday's dedication continues the University's longstanding tradition of remembering the inspiring life of Raoul Wallenberg.

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