Today the U.S. Embassy, the United Nations Office in Belarus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus held a commemoration ceremony for American Ruth Waller, a member of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) Mission in post-war Belarus. UNRRA’s technical and food assistance, to which the United States was the biggest contributor, helped Belarus in a time of devastation, famine and grief.
Ruth Waller succumbed to a terminal disease on August 4, 1946 after she saved drowning Belarusian children from a lake. She has been remembered by the U.S. Embassy since the mid-1990s. In 2015 a memorial plaque, honoring the UNRRA Mission in Belarus, was installed on the house in Loshitsa where the Mission was located, and in 2016 Minsk School 130 was named after Ruth Waller in a ceremony attended by UN Deputy Secretary General Helen Clarke, diplomatic staff, Belarusian officials and the general public. U.S. Charge d’affaires Jenifer Moore joined by Ruth Waller School principal Dmitriy Bektyashkin, United Nations Resident Coordinator Joanna Kazana-Wisniowecki, and the Head of the Americas Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dmitriy Ilyukhin joined to pay respects to Ruth Waller and remember the good done by UNRRA.