February 10, 2014

Wallenberg’s family to appeal to Russia in hope to shed light on diplomat’s fate


The family of the famous Nazi-time Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued thousands of Jews from Holocaust, is going to appeal directly to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in order to gain access to classified archives believed to contain files that could shed some light on the hero’s fate. This is according to a US news portal Global Post.

Wallenberg’s niece is due to arrive in Brussels on Monday carrying a letter for the Russian leader ahead of the EU-Russia summit the following day. Louise von Dardel said she was optimistic that the trip would make a difference. “I wouldn’t go if I didn’t think there was a chance,” she told the media.

“It’s been going on for 70 years now. Maybe it’s not worthwhile for the Russian government to keep it secret any longer.”

Global Post also cited exerts from von Dardel’s letter to Putin where the relatives of the deceased Wallenberg said this was Russia’s chance to “end our family’s long ordeal.”

“In doing so, you would send an important signal to the world that justice can and will prevail, no matter how long it may take,” the letter claimed.

The Swede is famous for having saved dozens of thousands of Jews in Hungary from the Nazi. He was arrested in 1945 by the Red Army after the Soviet forces captured Budapest. Wallenberg was then brought to Moscow and imprisoned at KGB’s Lubyanka and Lefortovo prisons.

The mystery surrounding the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, who worked at Sweden’s embassy in Budapest during WWII, has been a stain on the Swedish-Russian ties for years. Soviet authorities and later Russian officials claimed that the Swedish diplomat died of heart failure in Soviet custody in 1947.

Many people have been skeptical of this account after news reports emerged citing eye-witnesses that allegedly saw Wallenberg in Gulag labor camps in the 1950s.

The Russian historic society Memorial has also voiced its skepticism of the official version saying the Swede was probably murdered by Soviet intelligence. Some experts even suggested that Wallenberg could have been killed with a special injection.