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|Subject: Per Anger, 88; Swedish Diplomat Helped Save Jews From Nazi Camps|
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Date Posted: August 30, 2002 6:36:31 EDT
Per Anger, a former Swedish diplomat who worked with Raoul Wallenberg in shielding thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps, has died. He was 88.
Anger, who was awarded honorary Israeli citizenship in 2000, died Sunday night in a Stockholm hospital after a stroke, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
Anger, who was working as first secretary of the Swedish legation in Budapest when the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, began issuing temporary "Schuetzpaesse," or protective passports, that identified Jews as Swedes to keep them from being sent to Nazi death camps. About 600,000 of Hungary's 1 million Jews ultimately died during the war.
Anger was soon joined by Wallenberg, who extended the practice and is credited with saving some 20,000 Jews from deportation before he was arrested in 1945 by Soviet troops and disappeared at age 32.
After the war, Anger was one of the leading figures trying to learn what happened to Wallenberg, traveling to Moscow in the 1980s to appeal personally to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to reveal the diplomat's fate.
Anger also was active in spreading information about Wallenberg's deeds around the world, believing that Wallenberg remained alive as late as 1989.
"His work was very much appreciated, and he played a vital role in spreading the message about the importance of Raoul's efforts to save people during the war," said Wallenberg's half sister, Nina Lagergren.
Russia acknowledged for the first time about two years ago that Wallenberg and his driver were imprisoned for political reasons until they died in 1947. The two men were officially rehabilitated as "victims of Soviet repression," but details were not provided.
Anger received several awards for his heroic actions to save Jews during the war.
In 1982, he was awarded by Israel and the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem as a gentile who, with danger for his own life, rescued Jews, and a tree was planted in his honor on the Avenue of the Righteous in Jerusalem. In 1995, he was awarded the Hungarian Republic's Order of Merit.
Anger was born in Goteborg, Sweden, in 1913. After graduating from Uppsala University in 1939, he was assigned to the Swedish Foreign Office in Stockholm.
His first foreign assignment was in 1940, when he joined the staff of the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. He was transferred to Budapest two years later.
After the war, Anger was assigned to the Swedish embassies in Cairo; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Paris; and the consulate general in San Francisco.
He also served as ambassador to Canada before retiring from the Swedish diplomatic service in 1979.
Anger is survived by his wife, Elena; and three children.
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