U-M marks Wallenberg Centennial


On the centenary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth, a public exhibit telling the heroic story of the young Swede and 1935 U-M architecture graduate will be presented by U-M, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swedish Consulate General of Detroit.

The exhibit “To Me, There’s No Other Choice—Raoul Wallenberg 1912-2012” runs Jan. 30-Feb. 28 in the Michigan Union Art Lounge. Created by the Swedish Institute for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exhibit tells the story of Wallenberg’s life, including the time he spent in Ann Arbor and traveling in America. Most importantly, the exhibit chronicles Wallenberg’s experience in Budapest during World War II. It is estimated Wallenberg saved as many as 100,000 Jews from the Holocaust. In January 1945 Soviet authorities detained Wallenberg in Budapest; his fate remains unknown.

In the past year, the exhibit has traveled to Budapest, Berlin, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Ottawa, Toronto, New York, and Washington, D.C.

John Godfrey, assistant dean at the Rackham Graduate School and chair of the Wallenberg Executive Committee, hopes the exhibit “will instill in the University’s memory Wallenberg’s uncommon courage in defense of humanity. Every Michigan student should know his name.”

The exhibit will open with a reception at 4 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Michigan Union Ballroom. Remarks will be given by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman; Jonas Hafström, Swedish ambassador to the United States; Monica Ponce de Leon, dean of U-M’s A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Holocaust survivor Irene Butter, cofounder of the U-M Wallenberg Executive Committee; and Swedish journalist Ingrid Carlberg, author of the award-winning book There is a Room Waiting for You Here: The Story of Raoul Wallenberg.

Carlberg also will deliver the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning’s annual Wallenberg Lecture at 2 p.m. Jan. 30 in Room 100 of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. Her biography of Wallenberg won the 2012 August Prize for the best Swedish nonfiction book. It is being translated into English for publication in the U.S.

Exhibit sponsors include the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; the U-M Alumni Association; the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; the U-M College of Literature, Science & the Arts; the Detroit Swedish Foundation; the U-M International Institute; the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies; the Jenny Lind Club of Michigan; the U-M Office of the Provost; the Rackham Graduate School; the U-M Scandinavian Studies Program; SACC-Detroit; SWEA-Michigan; the Swedish Club of Detroit; U-M Hillel; the U-M Wallenberg Executive Committee; the University Library; and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia.

For more information or to arrange visits to the exhibit by school groups and other organizations, email rwcentennial@umich.edu or call (734) 764-5536.

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