Abstract/Details

Raoul Wallenberg, the American War Refugee Board and the last minute effort to save Hungary's Jews


2003 2003

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This study examines the events of the Holocaust, American anti-semitism, the creation of the American War Refugee Board and the efforts of one individual, Raoul Wallenberg, on behalf of Hungary's Jews. Representing the interests of the American War Refugee Board in his role as a member of the Swedish legation in Budapest, Wallenberg valiantly stood up for an estimated 100,000 Hungarian Jews and saved them from the certain death promised them by the Germans in the final days of the war. Through new eyewitness testimony by survivors speaking for the first time since the end of the war, the horror of the events and the courage of Wallenberg stands out against the background of apparent indifference by Western leaders as millions of Europe's Jews were systematically murdered by the Third Reich.

This study looks at Raoul Wallenberg and how he came to Budapest in 1944 at the age of 31 as a member of the Swedish legation and rescuer of Jews. It also examines the various paths by which the news of the Jewish tragedy came to the attention of Allied leaders and how those leaders responded and why. For decades, the historiography after the end of World War II on the Holocaust left the reader with the impression that Allied leaders were not aware of the Nazi plan for the Final Solution and the murder of Europe's Jews. However, a review of official documentation from the time, of journals and newspapers published during World War II and after, and memoirs and eyewitness testimony from survivors speaking more than 50 years later, make it clear that Allied leaders and many others were aware of Hitler's plans. Yet the Allied leaders, men such as Roosevelt, chose not to act on the information until 1944 when it became politically necessary to do so. This action was the creation of the American War Refugee Board in January 1944.

By January 1944, one of the only remaining and largely intact Jewish community in occupied Europe was that of Hungary, and it was to that country that Wallenberg was sent, and where he stood his ground against the Germans. With sheer force of will, insight, courage and the occasional payment of the necessary bribe, he would demonstrate what one man could do to help the Jews.

While the War Refugee Board came into existence only at the end of the War, it was able to help in the rescue of between one hundred and fifty to two hundred Jews in occupied Europe. This success leaves one with the unanswered question of how many more could have been saved if the Board had been created in 1942 when the Allied leaders first became aware of Hitler's Final Solution.

Indexing (details)


Subject
European history
Classification
0335: European history
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; American War Refugee Board; Holocaust; Hungary; Jews; Wallenberg, Raoul
Title
Raoul Wallenberg, the American War Refugee Board and the last minute effort to save Hungary's Jews
Author
Tevebaugh-Kenwryck, Neil A.
Number of pages
370
Publication year
2003
Degree date
2003
School code
0668
Source
DAI-A 65/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Advisor
Krosby, H. Peter
University/institution
State University of New York at Albany
University location
United States -- New York
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3138640
ProQuest document ID
305264627
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305264627/abstract
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.