December 22, 2016

Letters to the Editor: Raoul Wallenberg


Speaking of Wallenberg

Aluf Benn’s opinion column “Facing Atrocities in Neighboring Syria, Where Is Israel’s Raoul Wallenberg?” (Dec.15 2016) is indeed timely since in October the Swedish diplomat, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from being killed by the Nazis, was formally declared dead, 71 years after he disappeared in Hungary in the closing months of WWII. (January 17, 1945)

Raoul’s parents and his step-father are buried in Sweden and his half-sister, Nina, is alive and deserves to be able to visit her half-brother’s grave. We also fondly remember Raoul’s half-brother, the late Professor Guy von Dardel, a man who devoted most of his life to bringing Raoul back home, alas, to no avail.

It is worth noting here that our foundation received an official written statement 11 years ago (June 15, 2006) from the then Deputy Chief of Mission of the Russian Federation in Washington DC, Mr. Alexander Darchiev (currently Russian Ambassador in Ottawa).

Mr. Darchiev, an experienced diplomat, was clear and unequivocal in stating that “Mr. Wallenberg died, or most likely perished in the USSR on July 17, 1947.” He emphasized that “the death of Mr. Wallenberg lies with the USSR leadership of that time and on Stalin personally.”

Moreover, a few years ago, in the course of a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, our NGO offered a significant financial reward of 500,000 euros to any person or entity able to come-up with scientifically verifiable information regarding the fate and/or whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg and his chauffeur, Vilmos Langfelder (both of them apprehended by the Soviet military). We are certainly not seeking an investigation into the circumstances of Wallenberg and Langfelder’s detention and disappearance. These events occurred long ago amidst a particular historical context, in the wake of humanity’s bloodiest war. Our sole aim is to bring closure to a human tragedy.

As Mr. Benn stresses, Raoul Wallenberg was one of the greatest heroes in the history of mankind and, despite the wide international repercussion it has elicited, the decision to declare Raoul Wallenberg dead has little value. It is merely an administrative move after a petition by his living relatives to do so.

The final days of this rescuer are still shrouded in mystery and, as it happens with the fate of the victims of countless atrocities around the world, it seems that it attracts only minor attention, not only in Israel but in the world, by and large.

Eduardo Eurnekian

Baruch Tenembaum

Perla Graisman
Global Development Director

The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation