HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 5, 2012) – In marking the centenary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, noted attorney Morris Wolff will discuss the life and heroic efforts of the Swedish diplomat to rescue Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust in this public lecture at Holocaust Museum Houston this September.
Wolff will also introduce his plans to sue the Soviets once again for the return of Wallenberg or his remains under international law.
Wolff, a distinguished lawyer and law professor and a graduate of Amherst College and Yale School of Law, will discuss “The Life and Goodness of Raoul Wallenberg: Newly Discovered Facts” beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater at the Museum's Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. Tickets are $5 for HMH members, and $8 for non-members who register online. Seniors and students may pay a $4 admission at the door. Seating is limited and advance registration is requested. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online.
At the specific request of the United States government during World War II, Wallenberg, at age 31, a businessman and architect from a prominent Swedish family, went to Budapest, Hungary in 1944. In a six-month period, he saved more than 100,000 Jewish lives from the Nazis without resorting to violence. In violation of his diplomatic immunity, Wallenberg was arrested and kidnapped by the Soviets in 1945 during the invasion of Budapest. He mysteriously disappeared and has not seen freedom since 1945. In March of 1983, Wolff was asked by Guy von Dardel of Stockholm, a half-brother of Wallenberg, and others in the Wallenberg family to sue the Soviet Union to force it to release his brother Raoul. Wolff led a team of lawyers in suing the U.S.S.R. in U.S. federal court to secure his freedom. He won a $39 million dollar verdict, in which Judge Barrington Parker in Washington, DC, ordered Wallenberg’s release.
The Russians claimed falsely that Wallenberg died in Russian captivity on July 17, 1947. A number of testimonies, including those of returning prisoners, however, indicate that he was alive after that date and that he could have still been alive into and through the 1990s. Wolff will specifically discuss Wallenberg’s survival in light of newly discovered facts.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wolff graduated with high honors from Amherst College in 1958 and from the Yale Law School in 1962. He served as professor of international law and ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and at Kings College/London. He was awarded the John Woodruff Simpson Scholarship for International Law in 1958 by Amherst College and studied in Geneva, Switzerland. He also served as professor of constitutional law and American literature at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Wolff served under President John F. Kennedy in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice and worked directly with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the president. He also marched with Marion Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund at the gathering on the Washington Mall of Dr. Martin Luther King when King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Morris, with a team of Justice Department lawyers wrote titles II and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, seeking to end employment discrimination. He then went to Capitol Hill to serve as legislative assistant to the Hon. John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky to work its passage.
In 1983, along with Rosa Parks, Wolff was awarded the NCCJ Medal (National Council of Christians and Jews) for humanitarian service in his work on civil rights, and in 1993, he received the United Nations Peace Award for Humanitarian Service at Carnegie Hall and on the same stage with Audrey Hepburn.
In 2005, Wolff was honored by the United States Congress for his work in seeking the release of Wallenberg. He will sign copies of his book, “Whatever Happened to Raoul Wallenberg?” following the lecture.
Fluent in French, Spanish and German, Morris was a law partner with the Hon. Harold E. Stassen, one of the five original writers and signers of the U.N. Charter, for 20 years in Philadelphia, and served as managing partner of Stassen, Kostos and Mason, where he specialized in international business transactions in Europe and Asia.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.