December 23, 2000

New Hope for Wallenberg Case

Russia claims responsibility yet does not provide substantial evidence

Russia has officially admitted that Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of ens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, was a victim of the Stalinist Regime.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF), which was created in order to shed light on the fate of this great man and to educate people on his honest conduct and solidarity worthy of emulation, considers the Russian admission of responsibility a step forward. This is the first time in almost sixty years that such an acknowledgement has been made by the Russian government.

A forty-line announcement made on December 22 by the Russian government through prosecutor Yuri Ustinov stated that Wallenberg and his chauffer, Vilmos Langfelder were ”arrested illegally and deprived of their liberty for political reasons”.

The Soviet Army arrested Wallenberg and Langfelder on January 17, 1945 in the outskirts of Budapest only hours after Hungary was liberated. Wallenberg was there completing a Swedish government diplomatic mission since July, 1944. In only six months, he managed to challenge Adolf Eichmann who was in charge of the ”extermination operations” and was able to save an estimated twenty to one hundred thousand Jews.

The statement also asserted that the detainees were never accused of any particular charge and it does not mention or cite any document that could prove the death or final destiny of Wallenberg and his collaborator.

Likewise, the IRWF adheres to the words of Wallenberg’s sister, Nina Lagergren, honorary member of the Foundation, who made it clear that she considers this gesture insufficient because it is not grounded in substantial proof and neither does it uncover the circumstances surrounding her brother’s death, whether he died through execution or natural causes.

It is also worth noting that Wallenberg’s sister, officially the head of the family in these matters, declared exclusively to the IRWF that she was only made aware of the announcement through the press and not directly from the Russian government, as it should have been done.