Raoul Wallenberg was born into a prominent Swedish family in 1912. Wallenberg went into business with Koloman Lauer, a Hungarian Jewish man, and used his language skills and freedom of movement as a Swedish citizen to build up a strong network of contacts and knowledge of Nazi bureaucracy.

Wallenberg with Lauer and others saved as many as 100,000 Jews from deportation and death, by providing employment, by issuing real and fake passes, by setting up safe houses and by putting pressure on influential contacts. He often put himself in personal danger, relying on bribes, threats and sheer persuasion to rescue people from trains and death-march columns.

The briefcase, created by sculptor Gustav Kreitz, is a copy of one which forms part of a monument to Wallenberg near the United Nations building in New York. It stands on cobblestones from the wartime ghetto in Budapest.