"Diplomats today should follow his lead," U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said at a Wednesday event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Swedish diplomat's birth, a U.N. statement said.
The event at New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage was held to discuss Wallenberg's mysterious disappearance at the end of the war and his legacy.
The United States War Refugee Board recruited Wallenberg in June 1944 to travel to Hungary, which was aligned with the Axis powers. He is credited with rescuing at least 100,000 Jews in Budapest, Hungary, from the Nazis.
"Wallenberg lived up in reality to the unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind," Eliasson said. "But he certainly did not show any anguish or despair when it came to take action to help many survive."
Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, the U.N. undersecretary-general for communications and public information, said the envoy was an example for others because he "was willing to fight for what he knew to be right – to defend the lives and dignity of fellow human beings – at any cost."
The event was organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Program to encourage education about and remembrance of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide.