Cover image for Lost hero : Raoul Wallenberg's dramatic quest to save the Jews of Hungary
Lost hero : Raoul Wallenberg's dramatic quest to save the Jews of Hungary
Smith, Danny.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : HarperCollins, 2001.
Physical Description:
xx, 183 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Previous ed. published as: Wallenberg : lost hero. Basingstoke : Marshall Pickering, 1986.
Personal Subject:
Format :


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D809.S8 W3273 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The dramatic true story of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish aristocrat who went to Budapest during World War II on a special mission to save as many Jews as possible from the Holocaust.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Much has been written about Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat in Budapest who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from certain death in the Holocaust. Financed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee via the War Refugee Board, and with the support of his own government, Wallenberg used bribery, bluff, and deception to keep these people safe. There is hardly a better example of how an intrepid, strategically placed individual could capitalize on the standing of a neutral power to affect such a large-scale rescue. Shortly after the Russians liberated Budapest in January 1945, he was arrested, apparently on a charge of spying, and was taken to a prison in Moscow. What happened to him remains a mystery, although several former Soviet prisoners reported to have seen him in prisons, an Arctic labor camp, and a psychiatric hospital during the next 20 years. In this revised and updated edition of Lost Hero, previously published in 1986, Smith examines the self-contradicting Soviet statements regarding Wallenberg's fate, along with evidence that refutes their claims. --George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Between May 5 and June 13, 1944, Adolf Eichmann personally supervised the deportation of Hungarian Jews 147 trains brought 437,000 women, children and men to Auschwitz and other camps. The killing temporarily stopped through the intervention of Hungary's regent, Admiral Miklos Horthy, under pressure brought by Raoul Wallenberg, a 31-year-old Swedish businessman from an aristocratic family. Wallenberg had been recruited by the War Refugee Board to attempt to intercede and save as many Jewish lives as possible. By bribing, hectoring and cajoling Hungarian officials Wallenberg managed to manufacture 4,500 Schutzpasses Swedish passports that allowed Jews, if they could prove any connection to Sweden no matter how dubious, to leave Hungary. He also negotiated a series of other deals with the Gestapo that made life easier for the Jews, even as the killings increased as the Russian Army advanced in early 1945. The final third of Smith's narrative examines the mystery of why Wallenberg was taken in custody by the Soviets in 1945 as a spy and was never heard from again. This familiar history is brought to life in vivid prose that at times borders on the imaginative was Wallenberg really inspired to his heroic actions after viewing the 1942 film Pimpernel Smith, based on the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel? and this important chapter of Holocaust history is conveyed with energy and a sound sense of historical context. Smith unearths no new material here although he does restate and reemphasize important historical facts such as the U.S. and British governments' negligence in not acting more quickly to save European Jewry but, in dramatic narrative form, presents a moving and compelling portrait of a man who acted when others did not. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved