Mayor Michael Bloomberg was graciously hosted for breakfast at the home of Wallenberg Commission Board Member William Nussen attended by numerous members of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission including Steven Grauer, Yitzchok Fleischer, Ryan Karben, corporate sponsors : Jonathan Zalisky, Kathryn Soman from HealthPlus Amerigroup and Gil Cygler from AllCar Rent a Car, leaders of organizations serving Holocaust survivors and their children Rabbi Yeruchim Silber from the Boro Park JCC and Rabbi Shlomo Mayer from Chai Lifeline, and New York City Councilman David Greenfield.
The Mayor, who was formally welcomed by William Nussen and Wallenberg Commission Chairman Peter Rebenwurzel, underscored the importance of highlighting Wallenberg’s extraordinary heroism; a point brought out very emotionally by Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein, Director of Project , a Holocaust education resource center founded and directed by Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein. Project Witness is also a major organizational partner of the Wallenberg Commission. What is so unique about Project Witness is that it focuses on the spiritual heroism of Holocaust victims and survivors so that the courage of the past becomes a guiding light for the future. This message is particularly apt for the commemoration of Raoul Wallenberg, as he embodied strength and courage in the face of darkness and evil. Mrs. Lichteinstein presented Mayor Bloomberg with a canvas that has a poem which appears in Witness to History.
Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, which spearheaded the recent passage of the legislation to award Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Gold medal, praised Baruch Tennenbaum of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation for encouraging him to create the Wallenberg Commission.
Speaking warmly and praising the importance of remembering Wallenberg, Mayor Bloomberg engaged in a discussion on individual Holocaust stories of those assembled, allowing for an increased awareness of educating the next generation not only about the heroism of Raoul Wallenberg but of those martyrs who are almost forgotten.
It is anticipated that in the very near future, 13th avenue will soon be officially co-named Wallenberg Way a major goal of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Commission. 13th Avenue is the biggest throughway of Boro Park that is the home of the most Holocaust survivors and their children.