Per Johan Valentin Anger (7 December 1913 – 25 August 2002) was a Swedish diplomat who participated in numerous efforts to rescue Hungarian Jews from arrest and deportation by the Nazis during World War II.
Born in Göteborg, Anger studied law at the University of Stockholm and later at the University of Uppsala. After graduating in November 1939, he was drafted into the Army. Soon afterwards, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs offered him a trainee position at the Swedish legation in Berlin, which he began in January 1940. Anger was assigned to the trade department, but after the legation received information about an impending Nazi attack on Norway and Denmark, he became involved in relaying intelligence to Stockholm. In June 1941 he returned to Stockholm, where he worked on trade relations between Sweden and Hungary. In November 1942 he was sent to Budapest as second secretary at the Swedish legation.
After Germany invaded Hungary on 19 March 1944, Anger became involved in efforts to aid Hungarian Jews. Anger originated the idea of issuing Swedish provisional passports and special certificates to protect Jews from internment and deportation. Seven hundred of these documents were issued initially. Although the legality of the documents was doubtful, the Hungarian government agreed to recognize their bearers as Swedish citizens. On 9 July, Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest. He immediately extended Anger's initiative, introducing colorful protective passes (Schutzpasse) and creating "safe houses" throughout the city. Anger and Wallenberg worked together, often literally snatching people from transports and death marches. After the Soviets invaded in January 1945, both Anger and Wallenberg were taken into custody. Anger was released three months later, but Wallenberg never emerged again, becoming one of the 20th Century's most famous missing persons.
After the war, Anger served in numerous diplomatic posts in Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Austria and the United States. He later became head of Sweden's international aid program and served as ambassador to Australia, Canada and the Bahamas. Throughout his post-war career, Anger led efforts to learn what happened to Wallenberg, even meeting personally with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s. In 2000, the Russian government finally acknowledged that Wallenberg and his driver died in Soviet custody in 1947, although the exact circumstances of their deaths remain unclear.
In April, 2002 Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson awarded Anger the Illis Quorum Meruere Labores for his actions during and after the war. Illis Quorum (For Those Whose Labors Have Deserved It) is the highest award that can be conferred upon an individual Swedish citizen by the Government of Sweden. Anger died in Stockholm after suffering a stroke.
Per Anger Prize
The Per Anger Prize was instituted by the Swedish Government to honor the memory of ambassador Per Anger and is awarded for humanitarian work and initiatives in the name of Democracy. The prize is awarded to individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves either in the past or in more recent times.
In 2011 the Per Anger Prize was awarded to the Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.
- Per Anger. Swedish diplomat who, along with Raoul Wallenberg, saved thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps (The Guardian, 29 August 2002)
- " Per Anger Secretary of the Swedish Legation in Budapest, Hungary, 1944-45" The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation
- Per Anger, Co-saviour with Raoul Wallenberg of Hungarian Jews(Independent.co.uk. August 30, 2002)
- Per Anger, 88, a Diplomat Who Helped Jews, Is Dead (New York Times. August 29, 2002)
- Forum För Levande Historia http://www.levandehistoria.se/projekt/peranger/english/about
- Skoglund, Elisabeth R. A Quiet Courage -- Per Anger, Wallenberg's Co-Liberator of Hungarian Jews. (published by Baker Books. 1997)
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