The Power Of One

The example of Wallenberg keeps hope alive that one man can indeed change the world.

“With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.” Abraham Lincoln

Over the course of many years, I have been not only inspired and moved by stories of the selfless and courageous acts of  seemingly ordinary people, but I have also felt motivated to step out of my own comfort zone in order to confront that which challenges my own deeply held beliefs.  Today, I read an article which I feel compelled to share in the hopes that you too will find it worthy of passing on.  The article, in part, explains the rationale in linking the activism of Raoul Wallenberg to the rise of the TEA party and, ” why it’s imperative that we study the heroic life and legacy of Raoul Wallenberg”.  Wallenberg, A Hero’s Story starring Richard Chamberlain was a 1985 made for TV movie that garnered nine Emmy awards and won four.  I remember it as a most rivetting and compelling story of the power of one.  If you have never heard his story and that of  some of the 100,000 Jewish lives he saved, I would encourage you to learn more about that moment in history.

The last video on this post is a particularly compelling narration of a gentleman who was living as a thirteen year old Hungarian Jew who was saved by the heroic actions of Wallenberg who was able to convince the German commander to halt the liquidation of the last remaining Hungarian ghetto saving 7,000 Jewish residents as the Russians were closing in on the German troops.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.                                           Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 4, 2012

Raoul Wallenberg’s Legacy for America’s Patriots

By Phil Orenstein

I am involved in a community project in Queens, New York, to place a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, one of the foremost heroes of WWII, at the Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College.  The message of Wallenberg’s life and legacy is particularly germane to the Tea Party, which is all about individual initiative, constitutionally limited government, and free enterprise.  Raoul Wallenberg epitomizes individual initiative, freedom, and the sanctity of the individual against the all-powerful state.

Comfortable in his affluent Swedish homeland, while nearly everyone was steeped a culture of denial and submission, Wallenberg was alarmed and stood up fearlessly taking action during WWII when millions of Jews were being rounded up and sent to be slaughtered in the Nazi death camps.  Jews were considered traitors and subhuman parasites in Hitler’s Germany, and civilized people in German and European high society turned away from the horrors of the concentration camps, believing that it couldn’t happen there.

Life was comfortable outside the war zone in Wallenberg’s homeland of Sweden, and good people believed they were insignificant and powerless in the face of Hitler’s mighty authoritarian state.  But Wallenberg, a righteous Christian, stood up alone against all odds and became a heroic figure in the fight of good against hatred and evil.  In short, he saved 100,000 Hungarian Jews from extermination toward the closing days of WWII.

Wallenberg stood eyeball-to-eyeball in Hungary with Nazi colonel Adolf Eichmann, who was charged with rounding up all the Hungarian Jewish men, women, and children, the remaining large concentration of Jews left alive in Europe in the last days of WWII, and deporting them to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps in neighboring Poland for slaughter.  But Wallenberg foiled Eichmann, issuing thousands of protective Swedish passports to Hungarian Jews.  He was the hero who appeared in times of great danger to win the battle against great evil.

We will be erecting the statue at Queensborough Community College — the first Wallenberg memorial on a U.S. college campus — to model his life as an example for our youth and all good people to follow today.

Fast-forward to the present.  Today we are beaten down by the growing power of the state.  We live in a communist state in the USA run by the ruling elites.  Communism, Nazism, fascism, and Islamism are all the same.  They are all about big-government control by an authoritarian party.  They function to eradicate the people’s freedom of speech, thought, property, guns, and money and place total power in the hands of the minority elites, destroying the middle class in the process, leaving just the peasants and the ruling class.

Obama’s first term is the tip of the iceberg.  Today our conditions are very much like pre-war Nazi Germany — when Hitler rose to power, was appointed chancellor, and started nationalizing the banks, the auto industry, and health care.  He seized absolute power not long after.

Similarly, Obama took control of the auto industry and the banks, and Obama nationalized health care.  The state now controls the schools, the press, our cultural institutions, our health care, and large sectors of the economy.  Our freedoms are being stripped away.  Soon the internet will be a tool of the government, and free enterprise will no longer be free.  Government is the biggest criminal element in the world.  The government is stealing your money — not the rich, not Bain Capital, not the banks.

That’s why it’s imperative that we study the heroic life and legacy of Raoul Wallenberg.  People back then, as is the case now, gave up their rights for comfort and security.  People look the other way and don’t want to be bothered.  Like in Nazi Germany, when their neighbors were being rounded up and taken away to the death camps, people thought to themselves, “Glad it’s not me.”  People are the same today.  They don’t want to be involved.  Half the people have become dependent on the largess of the welfare state, and the other half believe that politics is crooked and government is corrupt.  And they are right.

But as for us — as for the members of the Tea Party and the freedom-loving patriots who cherish our liberties and independence — our epiphanies came when we got up off the couch and stopped yelling at the TV.  Our job is to become more active than ever before for the sake of America.  It is our job to fight against the crushing power of the government that has robbed the people of their spirit and sovereignty.  We need to awaken our friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors — our fellow Americans who have given up any real hope for their future and their children’s future — and save our country, just as Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of 100,000 Jewish men, women, and children.

There is a Jewish proverb that says there are 36 truly righteous people of courage who emerge during the darkest times for the world to continue.  They come forward and use their powers to defeat evil people.  As soon as the battle is over, they disappear.  As soon as WWII was over, Raoul Wallenberg was detained as a spy by the Russians who captured Hungary.  He disappeared into the Soviet Union.  To this day, no one knows his fate.

Around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union and after Hungary’s liberation from Soviet authoritarian rule, a monument to Wallenberg was dedicated in Budapest, and the Hungarian Raoul Wallenberg Association was formed.  The American Raoul Wallenberg Scholarship committee held a human rights symposium and a freedom march through the streets of Budapest.  It is with this same objective that we venture to install a statue of Raoul Wallenberg at the Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, the only Holocaust Resource Center on a college campus: to give our kids the greatest lesson in the battle for the soul of America.  It’s a lesson of courage, fearlessness, honor, commitment, duty, self-reliance, hard work, and character.  These values will constitute the battle of liberty against tyranny, on a landscape consisting of good actors and bad.  We aim to teach a lesson in understanding our history, understanding the present times, and never repeating our past mistakes.  We aim to sound a clarion call for all who cherish their freedoms to heed the well-known words of Edmund Burke: “All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

Phil Orenstein is a Republican county committeeman from Queens, N.Y. and a manufacturing manager at Orics Industries Inc., NY.  He is a member of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs.

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