February 2, 2005

New drive to solve Wallenberg mystery

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Wallenberg was declared a Righteous Gentile in 1963, and is also an honorary citizen of Israel.

Rydberg said the Israeli government is also eager to uncover the truth about Wallenberg.

Lapid said while no one knows why the Russians held him and killed him in prison, what is known is that he was ”the great savior” in the Nazi period.

”We must learn about him in all schools in Israel forever,” he said.

According to Lapid, both Israel and Sweden were too preoccupied after the war to deal with Wallenberg’s fate.

Two of Wallenberg’s nieces attended the sessions, Dupuy Elsa Marie and Helen Maria Louise de Dardel.

Dardel asked for Israel’s help in finding the truth about Wallenberg’s disappearance.

She said Wallenberg’s parents had ”died in despair” 35 years after their son’s disappearance and felt abandoned. ”Everything must be done to continue the battle to bring him home,” she said.

After three generations, she said, there is no reason for Russia to keep his fate secret.

Another niece of Wallenberg is the wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. One group said it is organizing a petition to Annan to continue the searches.

A new appeal for information on Wallenberg is being circulated via the Israeli and Swedish foreign ministries. There is hope that some Russian immigrants may be able to shed some light on Wallenberg’s fate.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Wallenberg was one of the few who ”stood up to the Nazi monster.” He said American Jews were involved in getting Wallenberg dispatched to the Swedish diplomatic mission in Budapest.

His heroism has made him a ”legend,” Rivlin said.

In the 1930s, Wallenberg came to Palestine for a banking position in Haifa and heard about the fears of Jews concerning the rise of Nazism in Europe.

Dardel also said Wallenberg’s mother ”had Jewish blood.”

The Shalem Center is aiming to advance a bill in the Knesset that would require the government to launch or sponsor an investigation into Wallenberg’s disappearance, and report to the Knesset on progress annually.

Labor MK Ephraim Sneh is to advance the bill next week.

Labor MK Colette Avital, chair of the Knesset Immigration and Absorption Committee, said schoolchildren must learn about how one person can make a difference even when the world is being conquered by evil.