2013-07-26 / Front Page

Margate Intersection to be Named for Raoul Wallenberg

By Kirk Wisemayer
Acting Executive Director, Jewish Federation

Raoul Wallenberg Raoul Wallenberg On Aug. 4, Raoul Wallenberg, the heroic Swedish diplomat who saved more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews from Nazi extermination, were he alive, would celebrate his 101st Birthday.

Tuesday, Aug. 6, beginning at 7 p. m., a broad- based coalition of community partners, including the governments of Atlantic County and the City of Margate, will officially dedicate the intersection of Jerome and Fulton avenues, renaming it Raoul Wallenberg Plaza.

Why is this important? It is important because the impact of Wallenberg’s actions still resonates today. As a man of position and means, Wallenberg could have lived a quiet life of privilege and, as many did, done nothing to help the Jews. Instead, he used his influence to save Jewish lives at great risk to himself and others. He was in every sense a Righteous Gentile, and deserves to be both acknowledged and remembered for his heroism. His is an example we can all learn from, with contemporary significance for our nation and the world on speaking out, on being an ‘up-stander’ and not a bystander to hate and intolerance.

It is an important event because it was planned by members of every faith group in our community, with full support and involvement of local government and our elected officials. It is important because it will bring together those of all faiths and ethnicities to celebrate Wallenberg’s life and to acknowledge his enduring contribution to humanity. In so doing, we recognize and acknowledge that we each have a voice and a responsibility to improve our world, to stop hatred and to speak on behalf of those unheard.

Sweden’s consul general to Philadelphia, Jan Campbell-Westlind, will officially represent the Kingdom of Sweden at the dedication, and New Jersey’s Lieutenant- Governor Kim Guadagno will deliver remarks on behalf of the people of New Jersey.

Finally, it is important because we will have the rare opportunity to hear from two New Jersey Holocaust survivors who were saved by Wallenberg: Ernst Paul, who lives in this community, and Dr. Vera Goodkin of Mercer County. For how much longer will any of us have the opportunity to hear survivor testimony up close and personal? Sadly, there are far too few survivors still among us, three quarters of a century later, for any of us, whether for the first time or the fiftieth, to pass up such an opportunity.

Please put aside thirty minutes of your day on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m., to join us on the corner of Jerome and Fulton avenues for this very special dedication of Raoul Wallenberg Plaza.

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