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Series / Wallenberg: A Hero's Story

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Wallenberg: A Hero's Story is a 1985 miniseries directed by Lamont Johnson, produced by Richard Irving, Lamont Johnson (co-producer), Phillip Levitan (co-producer) and written by Thurston B. Clarke (book), Frederick E. Werbell (book) and Gerald Green. It features music composed by Ernest Gold. It won four Emmy Awards and was nominated for five more.

It tells the story of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (played by Richard Chamberlain) who saved 100,000 Hungerian Jews during the final months of World War II by giving them "protective passports" and declaring 32 buildings extra-territorial.


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Wallenberg: A Hero's Story contains the following tropes:

  • Ambadassador: The neutral diplomats.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: To put it mildly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The film ends with the liberation of the ghetto and Wallenberg's arrest by the Soviets.
  • Blatant Lies: Hannah and Nikki are not Rabbi Mandel's children.
  • Book-Ends: The film begins and ends with a narration by Per Anger.
  • Central Theme: The gift of life.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Used for good.
  • From Bad to Worse: When the Arrow Cross take over.
  • Half Truth: Wallenberg claims to be half-Jewish as opposed to one-sixteenth Jewish.
    Wallenberg:All right, I'm one-sixteenth. Call me a liar for a fraction.
  • Humble Hero: Wallenberg calls 20,000 people alive because of the papers he gave them "few".
  • Karma Houdini: Eichmann escapes to Argentina where he lives until the 1960s.
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  • Loophole Abuse: Wallenberg bought buildings and declared them extra-territorial, giving them diplomatic immunity.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Wallenberg rented 32 buildings in Budapest, declared them to be auxiliary embassy facilities — technically Swedish territory, and therefore off limits to the Hungarians and their German allies — and used them as safe houses. He also printed up thousands of "protective passports" identifying the bearers as Swedish citizens, and handed them out to every Hungarian Jew he met — even, on one occasion, those locked in the boxcars on a train departing for Auschwitz! At one point, he ran on top of a train carrying Jews to be killed and stuffing papers into the cars that the Jews could use to semi-legally escape. While Nazis shot at him.
  • Right Under Their Noses: The whole rescue operation happens right under the noses of the Nazis and Arrow Cross.
  • Sigil Spam: Justified to make the protective passports look official.
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