Senate Joins House With Unanimous Approval Of Wallenberg Medal

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Legislation to recognize World War II hero Raoul Wallenberg with the country’s highest civilian honor was passed unanimously last night by the senate. The bill, S. 1591, was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, in an effort to award Wallenberg with a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of his heroic acts during the Holocaust and is expected to be signed by President Obama shortly.

“Raoul Wallenberg’s heroic rescue of Hungarian Jews during one of the darkest hours of human history exemplifies his outstanding spirit, his dedication to humanity and the responsibility for us all to speak out against atrocities,” Senator Gillibrand declared “I am proud that Congress has recognized Raoul Wallenberg’s extraordinary and enduring courage by passing my bipartisan bill bestowing him with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Wallenberg was recruited by President Roosevelt’s War Refugee Board to save Hungarian Jews from deportation in 1944 and was given a diplomatic passport, a large sum of money and instructions to save as many lives as possible, using any means at his disposal. He is credited with saving more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews over a period of six months by creating multiple safe houses, removing Jews from trains departing to Auschwitz, pursuing convoys carrying Jews, threatening and bribing both German and Hungarian officers and issuing forged identification papers, including the Schutzpass, an impressive looking but counterfeit Swedish passport, which spared the lives of 20,000 Jews. Wallenberg was arrested by Russian soldiers in January of 1945 and his fate remains unknown.

Among those who were saved by Wallenberg was the Liska Rebbe, Rabbi Yoizef Friedlander z’l, whose grandson Ezra Friedlander is CEO of The Friedlander Group, which founded the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission. This national campaign was established in order to commemorate and publicize Wallenberg’s historic and heroic actions in honor of what would be his 100th birthday. Among the RWCCC’s initiatives are the renaming of Borough Park’s 13th Avenue, between 36th and 60th Streets, to Wallenberg Way-legislation that was introduced by City Councilmembers David Greenfield and Brad Lander, as well as a joint educational effort in conjunction with Project Witness to have yeshivas and schools include Wallenberg’s heroic efforts in their curriculum. RWCCC also hosted a congressional luncheon held on Capitol Hill yesterday, honoring several individuals including Andrew Stevens, a Holocaust survivor who aided Wallenberg in his rescue efforts and marking the sixtieth anniversary of the Claims Conference which negotiated compensation to Nazi victims and their heirs.

“As the world gears up for Wallenberg’s centennial on August 4, 2012, we should remember and celebrate the fact that today, there are hundreds of thousands of American Jews who are the direct descendants of those saved by Raoul Wallenberg,” said Friedlander. “Special thanks are due to Senator Gillibrand and members of the Wallenberg Commission who include: Ken Abramowitz; Abe Biderman; Leon Goldenberg Erol User; Emil Fish; Stanley Treitel; Charles Freeman; Sidney Greenberger; William Nussen; Andrew Friedman Esq; and Peter Rebenwurzel for their hard work and commitment to this historic effort, allowing the world to pay tribute to the extraordinary heroism of Raoul Wallenberg.”

A companion bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Gregory Meeks and Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, both of New York, was unanimously passed on April 16th in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.



L-R Standing

With Senator Johnny Isakson

Ben Hoffman – Board Member (Lakewood), Jonathan Zalisky – Healthplus Amerigroup, Stanley Treitel – Board Member (LA), Leon Goldenberg – Board Member, Abe Biderman – Board Member, Senator Johnny Isakson , The Honorable Emil Fish – Honoree, Ezra Friedlander – CEO, The Friedlander Group, Andrew Friedman, Esq – Luncheon Co-Chairman/LA Fire Commissioner

L-R Sitting

Sidney Greenberger, Ken Abramowitz, Peter Rebenwurzel – Board Members



With Senator Gillibrand, who introduced the Wallenberg legislation to the Senate

Sidney Greenberger, Stanley Treitel, The Honorable Charles Freeman, Steve Grauer, Jonathan Zalisky, Abe Biderman, Kathryn Soman, Ben Hoffman, Peter Rebenwurzel, Leon Goldenberg, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Friedman, Esq, Dr. David Moskovits, The Honorable Emil Fish, Ezra Friedlander




With Honoree Andrew E. Stevens Honoree in the front and Senators Lautenberg and Hatch

Abe Biderman, , Ben Hoffman, The Honorable Charles Freeman,  Jonathan Zalisky, Ken Abramowitz, Leon Goldenberg, Stanley Treitel, Sidney Greenberger, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Senator Orrin Hatch, Peter Rebenwurzel, Ezra Friedlander, David Moskovits, Andrew Friedman, Esq., Michael Birenbaum – historian, The Honorable Emil Fish, Roman Kent – Treasurer, Claims Conference, Julius Berman – Chairman, Claims Conference




Board Members with Senator Michael Bennet at a private meeting in the Senator’s office

William Nussen, Heshy Klein, Sidney Greenberger, Stanley Treitel, Emil Fish, Leon Goldenberg, Peter Rebenwurzel, Senator Michael Bennet

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  1. Its time to acknoledge that Ezra Friedlander has emerged as the most powerful consultant in the Jewish community-to have pulled off a project of this magnitude is amazing! Kudos!
    I also noticed two guys from lakewood in the clip

  2. I want to know if we can re-name Lee Avenue Wallenberg Way because it is not well known but Rav Yonoson Shteiff of the Viener Kehila was saved by Wallenberg and what about OUR OWN Lakewood? Should we not have a Wallenberg Way as well???????

    Why does it take Ezra Friedlander to bring this to the public’s attention?

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