In 1947, on this day Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (pictured) died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Stockholm, Sweden.
A Holocaust angel dies unexpectedly by Eric LippsPosted to Budapest, Hungary, as part of the Swedish legation in July 1944, Wallenberg worked with fellow diplomat Per Anger to rescue as many Jews as possible from the Nazis and their fellow travelers of Hungary's Horthy regime. Ultimately he would be credited with saving over 10,000 people from the Nazi Holocaust, frequently at risk of his own life.
At the close of the war, Wallenberg narrowly avoided being detained by the Soviets, who had invaded Hungary in January 1945. Not yet 33 years old, he was already an international hero, but to the Soviets he was evidently an unwelcome "agitator" who might interfere with their attempts to seize full political control of the conquered country. Although political pressure deterred the Russians from seizing him, they applied steady pressure of their own for his removal, and in June 1947 he was sent home to his native country, ostensibly "on leave".
Wallenberg's death of heart failure at such a young age has been the subject of controversy, with conspiracy theorists claiming he was poisoned by the Soviets and others speculating that his wartime experiences may have aggravated a preexisting congenital heart condition. No clear evidence for either hypothesis has ever been produced. In 1949, he would posthumously receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his wartime efforts. Memorials in his honor have been erected in Israel, the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and - in 1995 - in Russia.