Wallenberg Memorial, St Kilda.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish bureaucrat who saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews by issuing Schutzpass (protective passports). A Jewish group from St Kilda raised money, in conjunction with the City of Port Phillip, to make this work as Wallenberg is viewed as a hero to their community and people living in the area are there as a result of his actions.
The memorial is composed of 35 stainless steel, etched “Schutzpass” fixed out off an existing curved steel wall. In their loose, organic formation, the folded elements look like a series of objects in flight, thereby acting as an abstracted symbol of freedom. The detail etched into the steel face is from a pass as it would have been prior to use – ready to have personal details entered, with a line for name, age, sex, height, weight etc. Swedish crowns mark the pass as a government document and a blank, square panel identifies the place where the photograph would have been.
Accompanying the “Schutzpass” is a line of text from Mishnah, Sanhedrin (4:5) that underscores the importance of choosing to save a life: “Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe.” This stainless steel lettering sits like a footnote to the sculptural array.