Three years of research into the life of Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg will be unveiled in Utica next week by two Hobart College seniors.
February 15, 2002 UTICA, N.Y.—For three years Hobart students William Ferris IV and Jonathan Widmark have been researching the life of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and hero of World War II, credited with saving more than 100,000 Jews from extermination. Their work, driven by a passion to tell the story of Wallenberg’s courage in the face of unspeakable horror, has been made into a multimedia presentation that for the first time will be presented (in an abbreviated form) next week at two events in Utica.
“The Life and Exploits of Famed Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg” will be presented as a slideshow on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. in Deperno Hall on the campus of Utica College and then at 7:30 p.m. at the Utica Scandinavian Association. Utica College anthropology professor John H. Johnsen initiated both presentations after learning of the project.
The research conducted by the two young men has been extensive. With financial support from an alumnus of Hobart College, Ferris and Widmark conducted research in Hungary, Switzerland, and Sweden, meeting with members of the Wallenberg family, Holocaust survivors, people who had assisted Wallenberg, Swedish government officials, and academics. They visited monuments, former safe houses, the old Swedish legation, and the Danube River to which countless Jews were marched, shot, and then tossed into the river. Ferris and Widmark recorded their interviews on audio and videotape.
Widmark, of Dover, N.H., is a history major and vice president of Hobart student government, a member of Chimera and Orange Key honor societies, and the Chi Phi fraternity. Widmark is also an Eagle Scout who volunteers with a Boy Scout troop in Geneva. He is the son of Peter and Judith Widmark of Dover.
Ferris, of Cutchogue, N.Y., is a political science major. He is a member of Chi Phi fraternity and former Student Court Justice. He is the son of William III and Joan Ferris of Cutchogue. William Ferris III is a 1968 graduate of Hobart College.
In the spring, the presentation will be shown in its entirety with audio and videotape footage on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. The project is part of an independent study project for which they will receive credit.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions located in Geneva, N.Y. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum but maintain separate dean's offices, athletics programs, student governments, and traditions.