Cover image for His name was Raoul Wallenberg : courage, rescue, and mystery during World War II
His name was Raoul Wallenberg : courage, rescue, and mystery during World War II
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
Physical Description:
135 p. : ill., maps ; 27 cm.
Sweden, 1912-1922 -- Travels, 1923-1930 -- America, 1931-1935 -- Citizen of the world, 1935-1940 -- War in Europe, 1940-1944 -- The Jews of Hungary, March-June 1944 -- Mission to Budapest, May-July 1944 -- Architect of hope, July 1944 -- Schutzpasse & Swedish houses, August-October 15, 1944 -- The terror of the arrow cross, October 15-November 1944 -- The winter death marches, November 1944 -- The terrible siege, December 1944-January 17, 1945 -- The mystery of Raoul Wallenberg's fate, 1945 to the present -- Others who have made a difference -- More of Raoul Wallenberg's life story.
Reading Level:
1080 L Lexile
An amazing and inspirational World War II story about how one man saved the lives of many.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 940.5318 BOR 1 1
Book J 940.5318 BOR 1 1
Book TEEN 940.5318 BOR 1 1

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An amazing and inspirational World War II story about how one man saved the lives of many.

Raoul Wallenberg's name may not be a universally familiar one, but the impact he had is immeasurable. Wallenberg was a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. He did this by issuing protective passports and housing Jews in buildings established as Swedish territory, saving tens of thousands of lives. Louise Borden researched Wallenberg's life for many years, visiting with his family and the site of his childhood home, and learned his story from beginning to end. Wallenberg himself has not been heard from since 1945. It is suspected he died while in Russian custody, though this has never been proven. Raoul Wallenberg . . . it's a name you may not have known, but you'll never forget his story.

Author Notes

Louise Borden is the author of 25 picture books, including the acclaimed The Journey that Saved Curious George. A history major in college, Borden attended Denison University. Louise and her husband Peter have three grown children, and three grandchildren. They live live in Cincinnati and also in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-This is a detailed biography of a "righteous Gentile" whose intelligence, courage, and organizational talents saved thousands of Jews from being sent from Hungary to Nazi concentration camps. Wallenberg came from a wealthy and influential Swedish banking family. Writing in a direct and adulatory tone, Borden carefully chronicles his life, beginning with his birth in 1912 to his mysterious disappearance at the hands of the Soviets after they liberated Hungary from the Nazis at the end of the war. To this day, apparently nobody knows what became of him. Only a citizen from a neutral country like Sweden had any chance of negotiating on behalf of the Jews, and Wallenberg persevered against great odds. Borden's extensive research is evident throughout. Abundant photographs add immediacy to the narrative, and the double-spaced text and wide margins make the book accessible to students with reading difficulties. An extensive bibliography, a list of archive sources, and another of video recordings are appended. This volume adds to the scholarship about Wallenberg already found in Sharon Linnea's Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death (Jewish Pubn. Society, 1993).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Borden (The Journey That Saved Curious George) gives readers a powerful directive at the outset of her biography-in-verse of humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg: "Look closely/ at this faded school picture from Sweden./ Find the student whose number is 19... Now you,/ and others,/ can become the storytellers/ of this boy's remarkable life." The subsequent myriad details about Wallenberg's privileged upbringing in his native Sweden and abroad might not be as compelling, but the book's urgency and momentum pick up as WWII gets underway. The reason for Wallenberg's remarkableness becomes clear halfway through the book: his plan to save thousands of Hungarian Jews trapped in Budapest using Swedish protection documents and safe houses was both daring and effective. Complemented by photographs, maps, and other documents, the narrative is neither rhythmic nor rhyming; though the layout divides lengthy passages into less daunting chunks, it's unclear that Wallenberg's story, while fascinating, benefits in any significant way from being told in verse. Wallenberg's mysterious fate in the hands of Russian captors adds another dimension to a life full of ingenuity, compassion, and bravery. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

How does a Swedish schoolboy grow up to be a hero who saved tens of thousands of lives during World War II? Raoul Wallenberg was raised to be a "citizen of the world," and his world travels and American education (at the University of Michigan) served him well. Later, when the world was at war, his facility with five languages and his neutral passport landed him a job as a trade representative for an export-import business. It was in Hungary in 1944 that Wallenberg became involved in trying to save the Jews of Budapest and in so doing became "the world's eyes and ears...the world's conscience and voice." He issued thousands of schutzpasse, providing Jews with the protection of the Royal Swedish Government, and when he didn't have time to save individuals, he created collective passports. He set up Swedish houses in Budapest to protect Jews and traveled to train stations, the city brickyard, and barges on the Danube to save Jews. In this thoroughly researched and well-documented volume, Borden has used the power of free verse and vigorous language to infuse the text with an energy perfect for revealing Wallenberg's deeds, if not the inner life of the man. After the war, Wallenberg disappeared in Russian prisons, but his story continues to remind us that one person can indeed make a difference. Appended with an author's note, "more on Raoul Wallenberg's story," a multimedia bibliography, and an index (unseen). dean schneider From HORN BOOK, Copyright The Horn Book, used with permission.

Kirkus Review

(Biography. 11 up) ]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

One of the most famous rescuers of all time, Raoul Wallenberg used his power as a wealthy influential Swedish diplomat in Hungary during WWII to outwit the Nazis and save tens of thousands of Jews by providing them with documents that gave them the protection of neutral Sweden. Based on Borden's years of intensive personal research, including interviews and archival sources, this account written in rapid-reading free verse ( The days were uncertain, / and the city held its breath ) is presented in a spacious, accessible format that includes lots of historic and personal photos, documents, and profiles of victims and heroes. Borden skillfully places the biographical story in historical context, including the horror of the genocide and what Wallenberg was saving the Jews from--the ruthless, pro-Nazi Arrow Cross thugs, the death marches, concentration camps, and gas chambers. There is also the mystery of Wallenberg's disappearance in Soviet prisons. With extensive back matter for students' further research, this is an important addition to the Holocaust curriculum.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist