[Video and photos below.] On the first day of Chanukah, an historic event took place which will forever change the landscape of Boro Park as the famed 13th Avenue acquired a co-name- “Raoul Wallenberg Way”- in honor of great humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, who saved more than 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
The NY City Council approved the legislation co-naming of 13th Avenue between 36th Street and 60th Street which was introduced by Councilman David Greenfield and Councilman Brad Lander to ensure that Wallenberg’s legacy and heroic efforts live on for generations to come. The co-naming is the centerpiece of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission’s efforts throughout the year to commemorate Wallenberg’s 100th birthday.
Councilman Greenfield was joined in the ceremony by State Comtroller Tom DiNapoli, Former City Comptroller and candidate for mayor Bill Thompson, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblymen David Weprin & William Colton, and the board of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission including Gil Cygler, Charles Freeman led by its chairman Peter Rebenwurzel,
The event was graced by Consul General of Hungary Karloy Dan and Consul General of Sweden David E.R. Dangoor.
“I am proud to lead the effort to honor Raoul Wallenberg. Quite literally, there are thousands of people in our community who would not be here today but for Mr. Wallenberg’s intervention. This street co-naming will ensure that generations will know of the sacrifices that this heroic individual made on behalf of so many. It is only right that our community show hakaros hatov for Raoul Wallenberg’s inspiring and selfless actions, so my thanks to my colleague Councilman Brad Lander, the Wallenberg Commission and everyone who worked to make this event a reality,” said Councilman Greenfield.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who put his life on hold in 1944 and embarked on a mission that led to the saving of as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews bound for death in Nazi concentration camps. Serving as first secretary at the Swedish Legation in Budapest, Wallenberg devised a plan to issue Swedish “protective passports” and establish safe houses in buildings throughout Budapest.
“The realization of Raoul Wallenberg Way will forever be a testament to the heroism of Raoul Wallenberg and will indeed forever be a symbol of our gratitude to Raoul Wallenberg for saving 100,000 Jewish lives many of whom later re-established themselves here in Boro Park including my late grandfather, the previous Liska Rebbe of blessed memory” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group which spearheaded the creation of the Wallenberg Commission’
“Raoul Wallenberg saved members of my own family and today we celebrated the life of a true hero of the Jewish people who will always occupy a special place in our hearts, that’s why the street naming ceremony was a true Kiddush Hashem and on behalf of the Wallenberg Commission we thank Councilmembers David Greenfield and Brad Lander” said Peter Rebenwurzel, chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission.’
Borough Park is home to the largest population of Holocaust survivors in the United States, and many local families trace their lineage to individuals saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
Corporate Sponsors ElderServe Health, Flushing Bank & All Car Rent a Car were thanked by Councilman Greenfield for their support of the efforts of the Wallenberg Commission.
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