Lecture: Gilel Storch and Swedish Humanitarian Efforts during WWII

23.12.2021

 
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2021 AT 6 PM 

Topic: Gilel Storch and Swedish Humanitarian Efforts During WWII

Time: Dec 28, 2021 06:00 PM Helsinki

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The lecture deals with the story of Gilel Storch (1902-1983), one of the lesser-known personalities of Latvian Jewish history, who became a leading Swedish public figure during World War II. Born into well-established Daugavpils merchant family with traditions of communal activism, he gained particular prominence under the Ulmanis regime, having close ties with some of the governmental figures. His international connections helped him escape to Sweden already after Soviet occupation of Latvia.
From Stockholm he started tireless efforts to assist the Jews in the Nazi-occupied territories, first aiming at Latvia, and later focusing his efforts on still surviving Jews across Europe, acting as the Swedish representative of the World Jewish Congress. Gilel Storch realized early on the implications of Nazi Jewish policy. His resourcefulness, courage, persistence, and mind for unconventional methods were essential assets in enabling numerous rescue actions.
These include: the mission of Raoul Wallenberg, distributing tens of thousands Swedish IDs to trapped Budapest Jews; supplying food parcels to concentration camp prisoners; and rescuing several thousands of them with the support of Swedish Red Cross and and it’s deputy chair Folke Bernadotte. His missions were successful in part thanks to his ability to establish important contacts, including with Heinrich Himmler through a common connection, as well as with leading Swedish government officials.
Gilel Storch continued to play a prominent role in Swedish society also after the war. In his legacy, the Gilel Storch Award was established in 2018 for the promotion of democratic, humanistic, and universal values. The committee is chaired by Dr. Marcus Storch, son of Gilel Storch and former Chairman of the Nobel Foundation.
Lecture will be presented by Robert Molander, Gilel Storch's grandson, who grew up with his grandfather and will be speaking on behalf of the Storch Family.
The event will be held in English, with Latvian translation.
The event is held in the framework of the Project Remember-ReAct with the support of the Embassy of Sweden to Latvia and Swedish Institute.
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