Introduction

Introduction

By the spring of 1944, Nazi extermination camps had annihilated more than a third of the Jewish population in Europe. Yet there was one large Jewish community remaining – in Hungary. The Jewish population here added up to about 700 000 people . In March 1944, Adolf Eichmann entered Budapest behind the German Army during its occupation of Hungary. Eichmann had direct orders from Adolf Hitler to round up and oversee the deportation of Hungary’s Jews. Germany had been defeated in Stalingrad and USSR was occupying large areas of land and began to approach Hungary. Hitler’s aims concerning European Jews were not completed and consequently the holocaust was hurried up. But during this time the world had started to realise the extent of Hitler’s ”final solution”. A variety of international agencies began to look for someone to attempt to save the remaining Hungarian Jewish community. United States President, Roosevelt, decided to establish the War Refugee Board (WRB) on 22 January 1944. The purpose of the WRB was to attempt to save as many threatened people as possible, especially Jews, in the occupied territories in Europe. The WRB contacted several neutral governments, including the Vatican, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal and Turkey, requesting help in organising rescue procedures. Sweden was approached through the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO). The result was an operation led by Raoul Gustav Wallenberg. He arrived in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, on Sunday 9 July 1944, with the mission of saving as many Jews possible from Nazi extermination camps. Despite the chaotic situation in Budapest and the lack of time, Wallenberg and his team managed with the heroic effort to save thousands of lives.

Yet in the month of January 1945, at the very end of the war, when his task seemed to have reached completion, Wallenberg was arrested by Soviet troops. Ever since, his fate has attracted the attention and imagination of many people around the globe. Much focus has been directed towards the mysterious disappearance of Wallenberg after his arrest and imprisonment, which is a question that probably will remain a mystery. An interesting fact that may appear as dimmed as the disappearance is the reason behind the Soviet arrest on Wallenberg. This Extended Essay is an attempt to establish why Wallenberg was captured using a variety of sources including recently discovered evidence.