Raoul Wallenberg congressional gold medal set for July 9 presentation ceremony in Capitol Rotunda

Recognizes achievements, heroic actions during Holocaust
By , Coin World
Published : 05/28/14
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The congressional gold medal awarded to Raoul Wallenberg in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust will be presented to his next of kin or other family representative in July 9 ceremonies in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Bronze duplicates of the gold medal are expected to be offered for sale to the public by the United States Mint following the ceremony.

The Swedish-born Wallenberg, who earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1935 before returning to Sweden, is one of 31 non-U.S. citizens to be congressionally recognized with a gold medal for their contributions. Wallenberg's medal is authorized under Public Law 112-148.

While working at the Holland Bank in the mid-1930s, Wallenberg began to meet young Jews who had been forced to flee from Nazi persecution in Germany. Working with the War Refugee Board, Wallenberg helped save more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, many of whom later immigrated to the United States. Today, hundreds of thousands of American Jews can directly or indirectly attribute their own lives to Wallenberg’s heroic actions.

He fled to Budapest, Hungary, in the summer of 1944, and in January 1945 he was taken into custoday by Soviet forces who had captured the city from the Germans. Wallenberg is presumed to have died July 17, 1947, at age 34 at Moscow’s Lubyanka, a building that housed both KGB security headquarters and affiliated prison.

The medal’s obverse, designed and sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II, features a portrait of Wallenberg.

Designed and sculptured by U.S. Mint Medallic Sculptor Phebe Hemphill, the medal’s reverse depicts Wallenberg’s view as he extends a Schutz-pass and a background view of those he could not reach being boarded on a train bound for a concentration camp.

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