The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was deeply honored to have presented The Raoul Wallenberg Hero For Our Time Award to Prime Minister Goran Persson of Sweden. Mr. Persson's response on January 12, 2001 to the Russian-Swedish Working Group's report on Raoul Wallenberg was unprecedented. He refused to close the case because he said that there was no unequivocal evidence of what happened to Wallenberg. The Prime Minister said that because of lack of evidence, it is impossible to say that Raoul Wallenberg is dead. He also deemed it important that the Swedish Government continue efforts to obtain any new information that can shed further light on Wallenberg's fate. Mr. Persson apologized on his own behalf and on behalf of the Swedish Government to Raoul Wallenberg's relatives for mistakes that he felt had been made during the past, particularly in the 1940s.

This is only one of the reasons that we presented the Award to a leader who is not afraid to take a stand for what he believes is right, and like any true hero, he is not afraid to act on his beliefs.


GORAN PERSSON PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN

Prime Minister Goran Persson broke new ground for Sweden and its citizens when he launched the "Living History Project about the Holocaust". His personal and contemplative initiative concerning World War II and the Holocaust have brought to the foreground issues of humanitarianism, equality of peoples, and democracy. At the opening of the Stockholm meeting on the Holocaust . . . tell ye your children, on May 7, 1998, the Prime Minister said in his opening remarks, "The evil that is the Holocaust constitutes a fundamental challenge to our ability to learn lessons from the past. Remaining indifferent and not trying to understand the 'why of the Holocaust,' could threaten our common future. It is thus always the responsibility of parents, teachers, politicians and all adults to teach our children that the right choice exists equal to the wrong one."

Mr. Persson's strong public response on January 12, 2001 to the Russian-Swedish Working Group's report on Raoul Wallenberg was unprecedented. He refused to close the case because, in his view "...there was no unequivocal evidence of what happened to Wallenberg." The Prime Minister said that because of a lack of evidence, it would be impossible to say that Raoul Wallenberg is dead. Furthermore, he deemed it important for the Swedish Government to continue efforts to obtain new information that could throw further light on Wallenberg's fate. He also apologized on his own behalf and on behalf of the Swedish Government to Raoul Wallenberg's relatives for mistakes that he felt had been made during the past, particularly in the 1940s.

The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States is deeply honored to present The Raoul Wallenberg Hero for Our Time Award to Prime Minister Goran Persson of Sweden. A leader who is not afraid to take a stand for what he believes to be right and, like any true hero, he is never afraid to act on his beliefs.

THE CITY OF NEW YORK THE MAYOR, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, UNIFORMED SERVICES, VOLUNTEERS AND CITIZENS

On September 11th New York City was thrust into a situation so horrifying that only a great leader and a group of extraordinary men and women could have brought us through. Our Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, and those who joined him at ground hero led New York City through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and all New Yorkers came together in spirit and fellowship.

Mayor Giuliani was joined by other members of our government: brave and caring heroes from all branches of the Uniformed Services; tens of thousands of men, women and children who volunteered to help search for the missing, care for the injured, give comfort to the loved ones of those who were missing or lost, and help provide sustenance and courage to the workers who search through the rubble of The World Trade Center.

During our twenty-year history, The Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Award has only been presented twice before: to the City of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for standing together as a community against the violence of Neo-Nazis; and to the City of Billings, Montana for setting an example as to how a city responds to racial and religious bigotry. On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 and in the weeks and months that followed, New York City set a new standard for all America and every American. Its citizens continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with one another. The examples of courage, compassion, and true heroism have given new meaning to these words and helped raise the spirits of frightened men and women throughout our nation and our world.

The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States is deeply honored to bestow its Civic Courage Award on New York City and her citizens.


Salisbury’s Braswell Perry among those receiving award for heroes

BY ROSE POST
from the
SALISBURY POST
December 16, 2001


For as long as he lives, Salisbury’s Braswell Perry will never really believe that for one magic night he was a stand-in for the city of New York.

But he was.

“And is! ” says Rachel Oestreicher Bernheim, another Salisbury native and the woman the New York Times has called the “matriarch” of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States.

“In microcosm, he’s what New York is all about!”

And that’s why the Wallenberg Committee turned its spotlight on 23-year-old Braswell, son of Mark and Barbara Perry of Salisbury. He’s an emergency medical technician in New York and was honored along with five other New Yorkers for what they did on Sept. 11 when those terrorist planes changed the skyline of New York and the world.

They’re heroes — and for the past 20 years her committee has been teaching American children that the difference between a celebrity and a hero is that a hero, celebrity or not and most often not, is a person who makes a difference.

He — and two firefighters, two police officers and a citizen volunteer — received Raoul Wallenberg Civic Courage Awards at the committee’s 20th anniversary black tie gala at the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf Astoria, sharing the spotlight with Sweden’s Prime Minister Goran Persson, who received the Raoul Wallenberg Hero of Our Time Award, and the evening with the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations.

Within hours of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Rachel says, she knew this year’s event should focus on the real heroes of New York because she heard her office manager, Betty McGuinness, talk about her sons, Daniel and Robert, both firefighters, and her almost-son and his girlfriend, police officers, and what they were doing at Ground Zero.

“And about her fears,” Rachel says. “It was treacherous work every day.”

She knew what her friend, Carol Wasserman, who’s visited here often, did. Carol had gone to give blood and found lines around the corner and a five-hour wait and was put off and told to call back and call back again.

“I felt very helpless,” she says, “and I couldn’t stand being helpless.” So she volunteered at the New York Medical Center to help connect names of of 2,000 people in all the hospitals with families searching, hoping, desperate to find a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, to find someone they loved who was missing after the attack.

“From midnight until 6 a.m. every night, she tried to put people together,” Rachel says, because an injured person could be anywhere. “People who were injured were just picked up and taken to wherever there was medical treatment available.”

So Carol tried to get answers for desperate callers.

“I never put anyone on hold,” she told Rachel. “The frustration was already so great.”

Then Rachel saw a Salisbury Post article on the Internet about Braswell and what he did during those first terrible days after the attack.

“And all this started coming together,” she says. “It fit our ideas about people who make a difference. They don’t have to be famous. They’re just people who see a need and respond.” more