The Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club reaches over 600 members through our active email list, which is run completely by volunteers.
In 40 years of San Francisco activities, the Wallenberg club has become a top advocate for the Jewish community's important issues. The Wallenberg Club has hosted local and statewide elected officials at numerous events and has been a platform for future leaders in our political community. Wallenberg members who have gone on to careers in politics themselves include State Senator Scott Wiener, former State Senator Mark Leno, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, and San Francisco Democratic Party Chair Leslie Katz, as well as former Community College Board Members Natalie Berg, Milton Marks III Z"L, and Supervisors Aaron Peskin, and Rafael Mandelman.
Members of the Wallenberg Club include people with a wide range of experience and involvement in the local Jewish community and the local Democratic political community. We seek to educate elected officials on important issues to the Jewish Community. We also work to inform our membership on topics of interest in the City such as homelessness, rising antisemitism, mobilizing for racial justice, and Jewish community events.
The Club has also been a force on issues about Israel, particularly fighting anti-Israel resolutions in the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley. In previous years, the club joined the Jewish Community Relations Council's campaign to convince San Francisco's Rainbow Grocery to drop its boycott of Israeli goods and SFMTA to amend its advertising policy to prevent hate speech. We also fought to inspire a local community service organization to drop a requirement that its members sign an anti-Israel pledge.
Please check out a recent article written in the J. The Jewish News of Northern California about the Wallenberg Club: Jewish Democratic club, former SF political powerhouse, makes a comeback
The RWJDC club was founded in 1983 by Jewish community leaders who saw the logic of a Jewish Democratic Club to be in line with the various Democratic clubs based on ethnicity. At the time, grassroots organizing was a growing phenomenon, and ethnic communities were gaining strength. Local San Francisco Jewish political activists thought it was critical that Jews not be left out of this push to be seen.
In its earliest months, debates about the name of the club emphasized the importance of not having a Jewish name, particularly in partisan politics. It wasn't long before the organizers decided to name the club to honor Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat, and Righteous Gentile. Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.
The early work of the Wallenberg Club involved fighting the recall effort against then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in the '80s. Later in the 90s, we worked with the LGBTQ community and co-sponsored anti-hate crime legislation. In the 2000s and forwards, club members continue to engage in political action and civic participation to translate core Jewish values into public policy and educate voters about the dangers of growing antisemitism.
Interim Leadership Team
Former Presidents & Lifetime Members
Milton Marks, III
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat, and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for his successful efforts to rescue tens of thousands to about one hundred thousand Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from Hungarian Fascists and the Nazis during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory saving tens of thousands of lives.
On January 17, 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared. He was later reported to have died on July 17, 1947, while imprisoned in the Lubyanka, a building located in Moscow, Russia, housing both the KGB headquarters and its affiliated prison. The motives behind Wallenberg's arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his possible ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.