Swedish-born humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg is one of my all-time heroes. Needless to say, the fact that there are stamps around that commemorate his great person is a thrill for me. I started collecting Raoul Wallenberg stamps shortly after reading John Bierman‘s book Righteous Gentile: The Story of Raoul Wallenberg, Missing Hero of the Holocaust as part of my larger Holocaust commemorative collection.
Raoul Wallenberg has all it takes to be a hero, all the more a mysterious one. A Swedish architect born in 1912, he served as envoy to the Swedish Embassy in Hungary during WWII. He undertook life-threatening actions, through which he procured fake Swedish papers, thus saving tens of thousands of Jews from Hungary. I say life-threatening as his destiny is to date not known: as of 1945 he is listed as disappeared, and among the theories that surround his disapperance there’s death, kidnapping, imprisonment – none of which were confirmed.
His disappearance caused international actions of rescue – mostly motivated and engaged by his family, but also by the ones he himself rescued, but did not turn up any new conclusive evidence. It is assumed, due to the passage of time, that 108 years after his birth, he is no longer living.
His humanitarian role was honored in multiple ways and continues to be so. He was the second person to be granted honorary citizenship of the United States of America (after Winston Churchill), and the first one to be granted this right posthumously. He was also granted honorary citizenships in Canada, Australia, Hungary, and Israel. He is considered one of the most prominent Righteous among Nations by the State of Israel.
Raoul Wallenberg’s story on stamps is an important legacy that needs to be perpetuated. In my opinion, there are never enough Raoul Wallenberg stamps. I would like to see his personality, humanitarianism and humbleness honored on even more stamps than today.
Israel was the first country to issue a stamp dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg in 1983, three years prior to his naming a Righteous among Nations and being awarded the role of honorary citizen.
Argentina also commemorated the great humanitarian with a stamp issued in 1998.
The United States of America
The United States of America also issued a stamp dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg in 1997.
In 2013, Canadian Post issued a stamp dedicated to Wallenberg. It follows a similar design as many of the stamps featured in this article.
A new stamp – newest to date to feature Raoul Wallenberg was issued in 2015 by Australia.
For Wallenberg’s 100th birth anniversary, Kazakhstan issued a commemorative stamp in 2012.
Hungary commemorated the benefactor of their Jewish population on two occasions, on his 80th, and 100th birth anniversary, in 1992 and 2012 respectively.
Pictured above, the 1992 stamp.
Pictured above the 2012 stamp.
Wallenberg’s native Sweden also honored his humanitarian spirit with two stamp issues.
Featured above the 3-stamp humanitarian series from 1987, featuring Raoul Wallenberg, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Folke Bernadotte.
Featured above, the 2012 minisheet issued for Raoul Wallenberg’s 100th birth anniversary by the Swedish Post.
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Stamps featured in post: 12; Period: modern & contemporary (1983-2015); Pricing: low; Availability: not readily available, may surface in online auctions.