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Gustav Kraitz is a soft-spoken man who looks younger than his years. He was born in 1926 in the small Hungarian town of Miskole. For the most part Hungarian Jews were left fairly much alone before the war. Even when the war started and Hungary become a German ally, their treatment was relatively lenient compared to the rest of Europe. At the age of 18, in 1944, just before the Germans arrived in force to take over, Gustav entered the Academy of Fine Arts on a government scholarship with the idea of becaming a painter. But with the Russian army drawing close to Budapest, the school was closed and many of the students formed into special battalions to make a last stand against the enemy. Gustav tried to return home to his town in the north only to discover that the Russians were already there. For a while he was able to stay in a boarded-up summer camp belonging to his school, but on January 19, two days after Raoul Wallenberg disappeared, he was arrested by the Russians. He had been in Budapest at the same time as Raoul Wallenberg, but they had never actually met.Upon his release at the age of 23, he found a changed, but not free Hungary, and awaited an opportunity to flee. It came during the Hungarian Rebellion of 1956, when he managed to escape into Austria. From there he headed to Stockholm, and his life as an artist began to emerge.Many years later Gustav Kraitz met Dag Sebastian Ahlander, the Swedish Consul General in New York. In their discussions they conceived the idea of creating a major monument to honor Wallenberg. This proved to be Gustav's largest and most challenging project - an undertaking for which he had been yearning ever since his youthful years in Hungary.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 92 pages
  • 231.14 x 233.68 x 15.24mm | 680.39g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 1585670995
  • 9781585670994