Text: H.R.3001 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 112-148 (07/26/2012)
[112th Congress Public Law 148]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
RAOUL WALLENBERG CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION ACT
[[Page 126 STAT. 1140]]
Public Law 112-148
To award a Congressional Gold Medal to Raoul Wallenberg, in recognition
of his achievements and heroic actions during the
Holocaust. <<NOTE: July 26, 2012 - [H.R. 3001]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Raoul Wallenberg
Centennial Celebration Act.>>
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 31 USC 5111 note.>> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Raoul Wallenberg Centennial
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds as follows:
(1) Raoul Wallenberg was born in Europe on August 4, 1912,
to Swedish Christian parents.
(2) In 1935, he graduated from the University of Michigan in
Ann Arbor, completing a five-year program in three-and-a-half
(3) In a letter to his grandfather, Wallenberg wrote of his
time in America: ``I feel so at home in my little Ann Arbor that
I'm beginning to sink down roots here and have a hard time
imagining my leaving it. . . . Every now and then I feel strange
when I think about how tiny my own country is and how large and
wonderful America is.''.
(4) Raoul returned to Sweden, where he began a career as a
businessman, and afterwards, a Swedish diplomat.
(5) In 1936, Raoul's grandfather arranged a position for him
at the Holland Bank in Haifa, Palestine. There Raoul began to
meet young Jews who had already been forced to flee from Nazi
persecution in Germany. Their stories affected him deeply.
(6) He was greatly troubled by the fate of Jews in Europe,
confiding to actress Viveca Lindfors the horrific plight of Jews
under Nazi Europe.
(7) Under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
the War Refugee Board was established in January 1944 to aid
civilians that fell victim to the Nazi and Axis powers in
(8) One of War Refugee Board's top priorities was protection
of the 750,000 Hungarian Jews still alive.
(9) It was decided that Raoul Wallenberg, aged 31 at the
time, would be most effective in protecting Jews and victims of
the Nazis in Hungary under the War Refugee Board. He was
recruited by Iver Olsen, an agent for the Office of Strategic
Services and sent to Budapest, Hungary, under his official
profession as a Swedish diplomat. He was instructed to use
[[Page 126 STAT. 1141]]
passports and other creative means to save as many lives as
(10) Wallenberg created a new Swedish passport, the
Schutzpass, which looked more imposing and official than the
actual Swedish passport. He reportedly put up huge place cards
of it throughout Budapest to make the Nazis familiar with it. He
unilaterally announced that it granted the holder immunity from
the death camps. The Schutzpasses alone are credited with saving
20,000 Jewish lives.
(11) In one example of his heroism, Wallenberg was told of a
Nazi plot to round up several thousand Jewish women and acted
swiftly to save them. Former Wallenberg staffer, Agnes Adachi,
recalls the time when she and other staff, spent the whole night
making around 2,000 Schutzpasses before 6 a.m. They were all
completed and personally delivered to the women in time to save
(12) Using the money the United States put into the War
Refugee Board, Wallenberg was able to purchase about thirty
buildings, which he used as hospitals, schools, soup kitchens,
and safe houses for over 8,000 children whose parents have
already been deported or killed.
(13) Tommy Lapid, a young boy who was staying with his
mother in a Swedish safe house (his father was already dead),
gave an eyewitness account of how his family was helped by
Wallenberg and the War Refugee Board: ``One morning, a group of
Hungarian Fascists came into the house and said that all the
able-bodied women must go with them. We knew what this meant. My
mother kissed me and I cried and she cried. We knew we were
parting forever and she left me there, an orphan to all intents
and purposes. Then two or three hours later, to my amazement, my
mother returned with the other women. It seemed like a mirage, a
miracle. My mother was there--she was alive and she was hugging
me and kissing me, and she said one word: Wallenberg.''.
(14) Even as the war was coming to a close, Wallenberg
remained vigilant and attentive to the people under his care.
Adolf Eichmann, the SS colonel charged with the extermination of
Jews in Eastern Europe, was determined to exterminate the 70,000
Jews kept as prisoners in a guarded ghetto in Budapest. As soon
as Wallenberg heard of the plot, he sent Pal Szalay, an Arrow-
Crossman senior official, who defected and turned to Wallenberg.
Szalay was sent to speak to General Schmidthuber, who was
ordered to spearhead the ghetto extermination in Budapest.
Szalay informed Schmidthuber that, seeing as the war was coming
to an end, if the planned massacre took place, Wallenberg would
see to it personally that Schmidthuber would be prosecuted as a
war criminal and hanged. The plans were ultimately abandoned and
considered Wallenberg's last big victory.
(15) Of the 120,000 Hungarian Jews that survived, Raoul
Wallenberg, acting under the War Refugee Board, is credited with
saving an estimated 100,000 of them in a six-month period.
(16) Raoul Wallenberg's fate remains a mystery. In January
13, 1945, he contacted the Russians in an effort to secure food
for the Jews under his protection--as he was still working hard
to protect them.
[[Page 126 STAT. 1142]]
(17) In 1981, President Ronald Reagan made Raoul Wallenberg
an honorary citizen of the United States, an honor only
previously extended to Winston Churchill.
(18) These findings show that Raoul Wallenberg showed
exceptional heroism and bravery with his actions during the
holocaust. Working with the War Refugee Board, a United State's
agency, he was able to save about 100,000 Hungarian Jews, many
of which were later able to immigrate to the United States.
(19) Indeed, hundreds of thousands of American Jews can
directly or indirectly attribute their own lives to Raoul
Wallenberg's actions during World War II. Many of the people
Wallenberg saved have been influential citizens contributing to
American institutions and culture, including Congressman Tom
Lantos (February 1, 1928-February 11, 2008), Annette Lantos, and
the Liska Rebbe, Rabbi Yoizef (Joseph) Friedlander, who carried
forth the Liska Hassidic dynasty from Hungary to the United
States after being saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
(20) His actions and character make him an excellent
contender for a Congressional Gold Medal in time for the
centennial of his birth, to celebrate his achievements and
SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of the
Congress, of a gold medal of appropriate design to the next of kin or
personal representative of Raoul Wallenberg, in recognition of his
achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.
(b) Design and Striking.--For the purpose of the presentation
referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury shall
strike a gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions to
be determined by the Secretary.
SEC. 4. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
Under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may
prescribe, the Secretary may strike duplicate medals in bronze of the
gold medal struck pursuant to section 3 and sell such duplicate medals
at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the duplicate medals
(including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses)
and the cost of the gold medal.
SEC. 5. STATUS OF MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--The medals struck pursuant to this Act are
national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of section 5134 of title 31,
United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be considered
to be numismatic items.
SEC. 6. AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.
(a) Authorization of Charges.--There is authorized to be charged
against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund, such amounts as
may be necessary to pay for the costs of the medals struck pursuant to
[[Page 126 STAT. 1143]]
(b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of duplicate
bronze medals under section 4 shall be deposited in the United States
Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
Approved July 26, 2012.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 3001:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 158 (2012):
Apr. 16, considered and passed House.
July 11, considered and passed Senate.