By Tanja Schult (auth.)
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Additional info for A Hero’s Many Faces: Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments
After the experiences of art’s misuse during the reign of various dictatorships, there was a general skepticism toward any ideological use of art in the West. Individual freedom was now regarded as most worthy of protection. 43 The second blossoming of non-representational monuments was at first limited to the years after 1945. One of the many pathfinders for the development of the monument genre in the 1980s was the general growing interest in public art during the 1950s. In the 1960s, the monument medium was, however, generally still a mistrusted art form.
After my thesis was defended in 2007 and my book published in 2009, historian Paul A. Levine’s finished his book Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest: Myth, History and Holocaust (2010). Unfortunately his book was, for various reasons, a disappointment. Levine finds the prominent role that Wallenberg occupies in popular memory problematic, but sadly he displays a lack of understanding of the terms and conditions of a mythic narrative (as further developed in this book, see Chapter 2). His frustration over the many exaggerations and simplifications of the historic person hampers his aim to contextualize Wallenberg’s achievements.
The results of the investigation were published after nine years of intense research. 11 Apparently, Wallenberg was suspected of espionage on behalf of Germany and/or the US. It became also obvious that there had been Soviet interest in exchanging Wallenberg for Soviet citizens captured in Sweden. The Soviet plans failed because of Swedish ignorance and reluctance. indd 39 12/13/2011 12:11:39 PM 40 A Hero’s Many Faces may have contributed to Wallenberg’s continued imprisonment and ultimate fate.