Raoul Wallenberg (4 August 1912–17 July 1947 (?))—Australia’s first posthumous Honorary Citizen

Parliament house flag post

Raoul Wallenberg (4 August 1912–17 July 1947 (?))—Australia’s first posthumous Honorary Citizen

Posted 3/05/2013 by Nina Markovic

On 6 May 2013 the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, will bestow Australia’s first posthumous Honorary Citizenship award to a former Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg. In a covert diplomatic operation involving hundreds of people, Wallenberg was credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish people from the Nazi concentration camps in occupied Hungary during the Second World War by issuing them with a Swedish Government protective travel document known as ‘the Schutzpass’. Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on 17 January 1945 and was reported to have died while in prison on 17 July 1947. He has already been granted posthumous honorary citizenship by the United States (1981), Canada (1985), Israel (1986), and Hungary (2003).

Announcement of the award

On 15 April 2013, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced:
The award of honorary Australian citizenship is symbolic recognition of Mr Wallenberg’s tireless devotion to human life during the Holocaust.
The same day federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said the Coalition welcomed the award, adding:
The ceremony at Government House will recognise Raoul Wallenberg’s remarkable service to humanity and provide an opportunity for Holocaust survivors and their families to honour his memory.

The Australian Jewish community also welcomed the news of the Australian award. 
Wallenberg’s memory in Australia
On 30 November 1989, four Australian politicians spoke about Wallenberg in federal parliament, including the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, who said:
In the period from his arrival in Budapest on 9 July 1944 to his disappearance at the hands of the Red Army on 17 January 1945, Raoul Wallenberg and his colleagues in the Swedish legation saved perhaps 100,000 people from certain death.
At the very end of the Nazi occupation of Budapest, when he learnt of Eichmann's plan for a total massacre of the 69,000 or so Jews who were still alive in the so-called General Ghetto, Wallenberg intervened in a final flourish of threats and brinkmanship to prevent the order being carried out. When Soviet forces took control of Budapest some few days later, they found some 120,000 Jews who had survived the final solution—the only substantial Jewish community left in Europe.
Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Peacock, endorsed the Prime Minister’s tribute, adding:
Contrary to Soviet accounts of his death in 1947, there have been reported sightings of Raoul Wallenberg in various Soviet prisons, some of which, as I recall, date as recently as 1980. Until an objective international inquiry is given free access to all relevant information, written or otherwise, in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, final judgment of the circumstances of Raoul Wallenberg's disappearance and alleged death will need to be reserved.

The Minister for Consumer Affairs, Senator Nick Bolkus, noted on the same occasion ‘the continued international concern’ about Wallenberg’s fate whilst praising ‘the selfless and heroic work of Raoul Wallenberg in saving the lives of tens of thousands of potential victims, both Jewish and non-Jewish, of Nazi terror during the Second World War’. 
In 2011, Australia released a limited edition of Raoul Wallenberg postage stamps, and Canada followed suit in 2012. The US issued a Wallenberg postage stamp in 1997, and Israel, Sweden, Uruguay and Argentina have also issued Wallenberg stamps.
In the year marking the centenary of Wallenberg’s birth, Mark Dreyfus (then Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation) honoured Wallenberg in parliament on 20 June 2012, and acknowledged ‘the work of Judi Schiff and the Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B'nai B'rith in Melbourne’ that was established in 1985. 
Josh Frydenberg, a Member of the House of Representatives, recalled on 16 August 2012 in parliament that the Australian neurology professor, Frank Vajda, was, together with his late mother, saved by Wallenberg in October 1944.
On 26 November 2012 upon inauguration of a Wallenberg memorial garden at the Australian National University, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr listed other Australian memorials dedicated to Wallenberg: 
  • a memorial built in 1985 in Studley Park Road and Denmark Road, Melbourne, as the world’s first memorial to Raoul Wallenberg outside Budapest
  • the second Australian memorial at Edgecliff Road and Queen Street Woollahra, Sydney, also built in 1985 and
  • the naming of a tree in Raoul Wallenberg's honour, in March 1989 by the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, in front of the new Parliament House.
The posthumous awarding of honorary citizenship to Raoul Wallenberg in May 2013 by the Australian Government is perhaps the most significant honour yet in Australia to his memory.
Resources and biography 


  • 21/01/2014 1:55 PM
    Anonymous said:

    Whenever I read of Raoul I have to wonder what the Russian hierarchy hoped to gain from the maltreatment of this gentle ultimate hero, except to make him more so in the eyes of posterity. Long may his name live on. BNG

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics Middle East illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top