Near the end of World War II, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg ensured the safety of more than 100,000 Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Hungary.
Using his own money, he built apartment homes for Jewish families. He built an underground system for refugees.
In 1945, Wallenberg, a non-Jew, was kidnapped and imprisoned by the Soviet Union, never to be seen by his family again.
Despite a 30-year effort by international attorney Morris Wolff and Wallenberg's brother, he remained in captivity until death.
Memorials honoring Wallenberg now exist throughout the world, including Raoul Wallenberg Way, the road in front of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
Wolff, author of Whatever Happened to Raoul Wallenberg, will speak at an interfaith event May 17 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC, 522 S Howard Ave., Tampa.
The event, sponsored by Tampa Jewish Book Festival, Tampa Ameet Chapter of Hadassah and the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is free and open to the public.
"Imagine how many children and grandchildren have come from the 100,000 people Wallenberg saved," said event organizer Joyce Gartman Karpay.
Karpay, who hosts an annual interfaith tea at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa, finds inspiration in Wallenberg's willingness to sacrifice for people outside his religion.
"Some say they saw him, that they spoke to him," she said of Wallenberg's time in captivity. "(They say) that he left notes for his family."
Wolff, who won the United Nations Peace Award for Humanitarian Service in 1993, details the unsolved mystery in his book. Much remains unknown, including the circumstances of Wallenberg's death.
At the Tampa event, Wolff will talk about his work on the pro bono case, which included a lawsuit against the Soviet Union and relations with several United States presidents.
For more information, visit bryanglazerfamilyjcc.com/.
Contact Sarah Whitman at [email protected]