Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > The Envoy

The Envoy by Alex Kershaw
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Apr 26, 2011

bookshelves: 2011-audio-books, 2011-nonfiction
Read in March, 2011

The Envoy: The epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II, by Alex Kershaw, Narrated by George Guidall, Produced by recorded Books, downloaded from audible.com.

This is a full-length investigation of the life of Raoul Wallenberg, a member of the Swedish embassy stationed in Hungary, who made it his mission to save as many Jews from the holocaust as possible. In the last few months of the war, Eichmann saw to it that about 400,000 Jews in Hungary were sent to Auschwitz. But Wallenberg managed to hide many Jews in safe houses around Budapest. He protested the treatment of the Jews by the SS and stated that the Germans would lose the war and would pay in war crime trials for their mistreatment of people. Some of the German army was cowed by his scolding and allowed Jews to be protected from prison, but the zealots like Eichmann were unmoved. When Eichmann and his guards would gather up Jews to shoot and throw into the Danube at night, Wallenberg and his myriad of volunteers would jump in and save those they could. There are no clear estimates of how many Jews he saved, maybe as many as 20,000. But when the Russians marched in as the victors, Wallenberg was taken off to Russia as a prisoner. And no one knows what happened to him after that time. From evidence finally released by the Russians in late 1989, it appears that he died a prisoner. But the most astonishing and mystifying behavior came from the Swedes, who should have protested loudly for his return, but who seemed for many years to want to sweep him under the rug in order to retain their reputation as neutrals and not to raise problems with Russia. This is an amazing story of a man and how he is remembered by many of the people whose lives he saved.
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