Saskatoon high school students are drawing inspiration from Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat whose actions saved thousands of Hungarian Jews.
In 1944, Wallenberg handed out thousands of forged Swedish citizenship documents, called the “Schutz-Pass,” which worked like a passport and prevented anyone with one from being deported under the Nazi regime.
Every year, students host a presentation titled “The Power of One” in Wallenberg’s honour.
“The power of one can be on a small scale. It can be very small or very big. It can be something in your community or maybe making a change,” E.D. Feehan Grade 12 student Joshua Dawes said.
Presenters, which included Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark and Saskatchewan Human Rights chief commissioner David Arnot, reflected on the ongoing refugee crisis and killings at a Quebec City mosque.
“If we devalue one person’s human rights. We devalue all persons’ human rights,” Arnot said, also noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights resulted from the Holocaust.
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Heather Fenyes, another presenter, is the daughter-in-law of a woman who received a Schutz-Pass.
“I’m married to a man who is alive because Raoul Wallenberg stood up and said ‘this isn’t right’ and did something about it,” she said.
Wallenberg is an honourary citizen of Canada, the United States, Australia, Hungary and Israel.
A park named after the Swedish diplomat is situated near Main Street in Saskatoon’s Varsity View neighbourhood.
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