Our personal photos sometimes end up in random places, especially now thanks to social media sharing tools, but randomly finding your face on a special commemorative stamp is certainly something that doesn’t happen to everyone.
Judith Weiszmann would know. The 83-year-old Winnipeg woman discovered she had been depicted alongside Raoul Wallenberg in a special Canada Post stamp honouring the legendary Swedish diplomat.
Wallenberg is best known for saving thousands of lives during the Holocaust by issuing Swedish identity documents to Hungarian Jews hunted by the Gestapo. Before the end of the war, Soviet forces arrested the heroic Swede and he disappeared like millions of others during wartime Europe.
Weiszmann, then 14, was one of the lucky recipients of a Wallenberg ID card, or “schutz-pass”. It is her face at that age that has been preserved and reproduced on the special Wallenberg stamp.
Before its release, the post office combed through Canadian records to identify the girl in the picture, but to no avail. Then fate stepped in. Weiszmann’s daughter, Anne, happened to pull a random book of stamps out of her purse and received the jolt of her life.
“I thought, ‘That girl really looks a lot like my mother,’” she tells the Toronto Star. “Then I put my glasses on. Then I went, ‘Oh my God, it doesn’t look like my mother. It is my mother!’ ”
Naturally, the Holocaust survivor is honoured to appear alongside the man who saved her life. She only has one regret: that Wallenberg could be there to see the impact his legacy continues to make.
“I don’t know how he ever had the strength to do all that he did. He saved so many peoples’ lives. It’s a sad thing that it’s him who we have lost,” she said.
Gone, but never forgotten.