Between 1944 and 1945, Raoul Wallenberg helped tens of thousands of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Hungary before he was detained by Soviet forces and eventually disappeared. To mark the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth, The Wiener Library is hosting an exhibition that tells four extraordinary stories of rescue during the Holocaust.

In this exhibition The Wiener Library showcased the remarkable stories of rescue efforts undertaken to save lives imperilled by the Nazi regime.

Raoul Wallenberg used his diplomatic powers to house families in safe-houses in Budapest, while the Berlin department store owner Wilfrid Israel arranged for his Jewish staff to flee Germany and continued to pay their salaries even after the Nazis had closed his business. 

Organisations like the Quakers also took the initiative to assist persecuted Jews to escape, helping to find shelter with families in England. And finally, there is the story of two sisters from Wandsworth who financed rescue missions by writing Mills & Boon novels and offering to smuggle Jewish families’ valuables into England from Europe.

The Wiener Library’s unique archival collection brings to life these stories of rescue and escape and pays tribute to those individuals whose efforts saved countless lives. In addition, the Library hosted a blog in conjunction with the exhibition where visitors can read more inspiring stories of rescue and submit their own. Find out more by contacting the Library or visit the blog at

‘Rescues of the Holocaust: Remembering Raoul Wallenberg and Lives Saved’ was developed with the generous support of the Rivers Charitable Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund.