Franco Assetto, 1988 – Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue (Raoul Wallenberg Square) – stainless steel and bronze, 18' x 9' x 9'
From the inscription on the statue:
This "Angel of Rescue" went to Budapest in the summer of 1944 as a Swedish diplomat with a mission to save the remainder of the Jews of Hungary from the gas chambers of Auschwitz. He issued thousands of protective passes, set up "safe houses" and brought back the persecuted from the deportation trains and death marches. In the final hours of the siege of the city, he prevented the Nazis from blowing up the ghetto where 70,000 Jews still lived. The Soviet army misunderstood his work and took him prisoner. He was never released. He saved our faith in humanity.
- The Survivors
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In 1986 when an intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles was dedicated as Raoul Wallenberg Square, John Brooks decided to raise funds to place a memorial at the site. After getting initial go-ahead from the council, Brooks contacted another holocaust survivor, Suzanne Zada, who operates a gallery in LA and represents the Italian artist Franco Assetto. Zada persuaded Assetto to donate his talents to design a statue (on the right) in tribute to Wallenberg.
There is also in interview with Brooks that opens with this – "I never met Raoul Wallenberg but I owe my life to him."
On January 17, 1945, Wallenberg was arrested on the direct order of Soviet Deputy Commissar for Defense Nikolai Bulganin. It is probable that the order came from Stalin, for reasons never disclosed. In 1957, responding to diplomatic pressure, the Soviets announced that Wallenberg had died of a heart attack in 1947 in Lubyanka prison in Moscow, but this has been disputed.
As you drive north on Fairfax, the statue is where the Fairfax District begins, the center of Los Angeles' Jewish community.