PERMITTING USE OF ROTUNDA FOR CEREMONY AWARDING CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO NEXT OF KIN OR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF RAOUL WALLENBERG
(House of Representatives - June 09, 2014)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages H5136-H5137]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  PERMITTING USE OF ROTUNDA FOR CEREMONY AWARDING CONGRESSIONAL GOLD 
  MEDAL TO NEXT OF KIN OR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF RAOUL WALLENBERG

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
concur in the concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 36) permitting the 
use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to award the 
Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal representative 
of Raoul Wallenberg.
  The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.
  The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:

                            S. Con. Res. 36

       Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives 
     concurring),

     SECTION 1. USE OF ROTUNDA FOR CEREMONY TO AWARD CONGRESSIONAL 
                   GOLD MEDAL TO THE NEXT OF KIN OR PERSONAL 
                   REPRESENTATIVE OF RAOUL WALLENBERG.

       (a) In General.--The rotunda of the Capitol is authorized 
     to be used on July 9, 2014, for a ceremony to award the 
     Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal 
     representative of Raoul Wallenberg in recognition of his 
     achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.
       (b) Preparations.--Physical preparations for the ceremony 
     described in subsection (a) shall be carried out in 
     accordance with such conditions as the Architect of the 
     Capitol may prescribe.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Mrs. Miller) and the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Lowenthal) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Michigan.


                             General Leave

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks on the concurrent resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as 
I might consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the concurrent resolution, 
permitting the use of the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for a ceremony to 
award the Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal 
representative of Raoul Wallenberg.
  The issuing of the Congressional Gold Medal is in recognition and in 
honor of this individual's heroism and selfless humanitarian actions.
  Raoul Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912, in Sweden; and in 1931, 
Mr. Wallenberg attended college in my home State of Michigan, at the 
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
  In the years that followed his graduating at the top of his class in 
architecture, he quickly established himself in business in his home 
nation of Sweden, and like so many others, then he also witnessed the 
ever-growing threats coming from Germany.
  At the age of 32, Mr. Wallenberg was recruited by the U.S. War 
Refugee Board, a board that was established by then-President Roosevelt 
and whose mission was to rescue the Jewish from occupied territories 
and to provide relief to those sent to concentration camps.
  Mr. Wallenberg later became known as an individual who led one of the 
War Refugee Board's most extensive operations.
  Mr. Wallenberg was given status as a Swedish diplomat and traveled to 
Hungary in the summer of 1944, a few months after Nazi forces occupied 
that nation.
  Sweden was a neutral country; and, therefore, Nazi forces or the 
complying Hungarian authorities could not easily arrest or otherwise 
harm Swedish citizens. This enabled Mr. Wallenberg to save tens of 
thousands of Hungarian Jews from concentration camps.
  Shortly following Nazi occupation, the rounding up of Hungarian Jews 
and their transference into Nazi custody began. When Mr. Wallenberg 
arrived in Budapest that summer, the Nazis had already deported nearly 
444,000 Hungarian Jews, with almost all of them being sent to the 
Auschwitz or Birkenau killing centers.
  We now know that the SS killed approximately 320,000 of these 
individuals upon arrival and used the rest as forced labor. When Mr. 
Wallenberg made it to Budapest, only about 200,000 Jews remained in the 
city, but there were plans made by the Hungarian authorities under Nazi 
rule to deport those as well.
  Provided with diplomatic credentials and the authorization from the 
Swedish Government, Mr. Wallenberg took heroic action to save as many 
of these individuals and families as he could by creating and 
distributing protective Swedish certificates.
  Through the War Refugee Board and assistance from Sweden, Mr. 
Wallenberg was able to use funds to set up hospitals, nurseries, a soup 
kitchen, and dozens of safe houses for the Jewish of Budapest. These 
safe houses actually formed the international ghetto, holding some of 
the same protective Swedish certificates that Wallenberg handed out.
  Faced with the further breakdown of the Hungarian Government and 
increased Nazi control, deportations of the Jewish population resumed; 
but this time, the authorities decided to force tens of thousands to 
march toward Austria, due to the railroad being cut off by the Soviet 
troops.
  That fall, Mr. Wallenberg personally worked to stop the further 
deportation

[[Page H5137]]

of many by securing the release of those who had already had some of 
the same protection certificates that he had worked to distribute, and 
he was able to help them return to safe houses within the city.
  Mr. Wallenberg was not alone. He worked with many of his colleagues 
and other diplomats who participated in the same types of rescue 
operations and issued their own neutral countries' protective 
certificates to Jewish people and found ways to house them.
  By the end of 1944, Mr. Wallenberg and others were able to keep the 
authorities from destroying the ghetto and the individuals who resided 
there.
  By the beginning of 1945, Soviet forces came to Budapest and 
liberated the city in February. More than 100,000 Jewish people 
remained.
  But what happened to Mr. Wallenberg, like so many others during this 
time, is unknown. Mr. Wallenberg was last seen in Soviet custody, and 
it is thought he may have died in prison.
  Mr. Speaker, the end of Mr. Wallenberg's life remains a mystery, but 
the life that he led and especially the actions he took while living in 
Budapest for those 6 months and saving as many as so many innocents are 
forever, forever remembered.
  Raoul Wallenberg is a hero, not just for those who were in Budapest 
at that time, but a hero that the world remembers.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wallenberg's memory lives on and serves as the best 
kind of reminder for what it means to serve and accomplish the greater 
good for all of humanity, and it is certainly fitting that we gather, 
as a Congress, in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, to formally 
remember and pay tribute to this man, a man who used the tools he was 
given to work tirelessly for the lives of others, a man who did so 
much, even at his own peril.
  Awarding Mr. Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal is the very 
least that we can do as a grateful Nation and as a grateful member of 
the world.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.

  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 36. 
Few people in history have shown the sort of bravery for which we will 
be honoring Raoul Wallenberg.
  As Sweden's special envoy to Hungary during the Second World War, Mr. 
Wallenberg quietly issued thousands--and I say thousands--of protective 
passports and sheltered as many Jews as he could in Swedish Embassy 
buildings, protecting them from being rounded up by the Fascist 
authorities. It is estimated that his efforts saved potentially up to 
100,000 Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust.
  Sadly, as the gentlewoman from Michigan pointed out, Mr. Wallenberg 
would never see the impact of his great work. As the Iron Curtain 
descended on Eastern Europe, he was apprehended by Soviet authorities, 
never to be seen again; but if not for his commitment to the protection 
of human rights, untold thousands would not be among us today.
  One of the lives that he saved was that of our former colleague, 
Congressman Tom Lantos, who wrote the bill making Raoul Wallenberg an 
honorary citizen of the United States in 1981.
  In 2012, we posthumously awarded Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional 
Gold Medal in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during 
the Holocaust. This resolution will allow the use of the rotunda for a 
ceremony presenting the Gold Medal to his family in honor of Mr. 
Wallenberg for his noble and selfless actions.
  I urge all Members to support Senate Concurrent Resolution 36, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1800

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, as well, I would urge all of my 
colleagues to support S. Con. Res. 36, which is a resolution 
authorizing the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to 
award the Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal 
representative of Raoul Wallenberg.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller) that the House suspend the 
rules and concur in the concurrent resolution, S. Con. Res. 36.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the concurrent resolution was concurred in.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________