Per Anger, Diplomat Who Helped Jews, Dies at 88

Per Anger, a Swedish diplomat who with Raoul Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps, died on Sunday in Stockholm. He was 88.

After the war Mr. Anger, who later became Sweden’s ambassador to Australia and Canada, worked to discover the fate of Wallenberg, a former colleague in Budapest, who was whisked away by Soviet officers in early 1945 and never seen again.

Wallenberg’s disappearance remained a source of tension between the West and the Soviet Union throughout the cold war, and Mr. Anger remained convinced that Wallenberg was still alive as late as 1989. In December 2001 Russia’s prosecutor general said Wallenberg and his driver ”were repressed by the Soviet authorities” in Lubyanka prison, in Moscow, in 1947.

In 1982 Mr. Anger received an award from Israel and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Israel, as a gentile who risked his own life to save Jews, and a tree was planted in his honor on the Avenue of the Righteous in Jerusalem. In 2000 he received honorary Israeli citizenship.

He is survived by his wife, Elena, and three children.

Per Johan Valentin Anger was born in Goteborg on Dec. 7, 1913, and studied law at Stockholm and Uppsala universities. He was posted first to Berlin, where the Swedish mission learned of Germany’s plans to invade Norway and Denmark, but had difficulty convincing Stockholm.

When Sweden finally warned Norway, the German military attaché in Oslo denied the information. The next day he took command of the Norwegian capital.

In late 1942 Mr. Anger was sent to Budapest as first secretary, and when the Nazis invaded in 1944 and started rounding up Jews, Mr. Anger began issuing them temporary Swedish passports and identity cards in an effort to protect them against deportation to concentration camps.

Wallenberg was then sent in, with the support of the United States War Refugee Board, the World Jewish Congress and the Swedish government, to take charge of the rescue effort, which is credited with saving more than 20,000 Hungarian Jews.

The two men regularly confronted German soldiers, pulling Jews off trains heading for the camps and hiding them in safe houses around the capital.

As the Soviet Army closed in on Budapest in early 1945, Mr. Anger pressed Wallenberg to suspend his activities and join the rest of the Swedish mission on the Buda side of the Danube awaiting repatriation. But he refused and was never seen again.

In 1989, during his long campaign to discover what happened to Wallenberg, Mr. Anger listened in on an extension as Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany pleaded on the telephone with Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, to ”let that old man go.” Mr. Gorbachev never answered.

Later, after Mr. Anger had made a personal plea to Mr. Gorbachev in the Kremlin, he said, the Soviet leader again showed no interest and implied that ”he had no control over the K.G.B.”