1997 32¢ Raoul Wallenberg
Issue Date: April 24, 1997
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Courageous and selfless, Raoul Wallenberg is an individual truly worthy of being honored on a U.S. stamp. Born to a prominent family of bankers, industrialists, and diplomats, Wallenberg was appointed as a special diplomatic envoy to the Swedish Mission in Budapest, Hungary in 1944. Although more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews had already been deported by this time, he immediately sought to rescue the thousands of remaining Jews assigned to Nazi death camps.
Often using his own money, he established “safe houses” under the Swedish flag where Jews could find food, shelter, and safety from persecution. In addition, he also distributed Swedish passports and false identification papers to over 20,000 Jews.
Arrested by Soviet authorities in January 1945, Wallenberg reportedly died in 1947 of a heart attack. However, reports that he was alive somewhere within the Soviet prison system continued to circulate through the 1980s. More than a decade later, his true fate remains unknown. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan declared Raoul Wallenberg an honorary U.S. citizen.
The photo on the front, which shows Wallenberg at the Swedish legation, is the photo on which the stamp was based. The candle on his desk was used during blackouts.