Although understaffed and underfunded, the board played a major role in saving more than 200,000 Jews during the final 15 months of the war. Among other things, the board's agents persuaded a young Swede, Raoul Wallenberg, to go to German-occupied Budapest in 1944. There, with the board's financial backing, he undertook his now-famous rescue mission. Thomas' action in the Senate was an indispensable part of the chain of events that led to Wallenberg's mission.
The Swedish government, together with Holocaust institutions and Jewish communities around the world, recently launched a yearlong series of events commemorating this summer's 100th anniversary of Wallenberg's birth. One hopes these celebrations will include appropriate mention of the role played by Americans such as Thomas in making Wallenberg's work possible.
And as Romney retraces some of Thomas' steps in Jerusalem, he will have special reason to feel proud of the role played by a fellow Mormon in helping to save Jewish lives.