January 18, 2001

Russia Wallenberg Monument Unveiled

Story Filed: Thursday, January 18, 2001 3:51 PM EST

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow library unveiled a stone sculpture of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg on Thursday, with a plaque praising him for saving tens of thousands of Jews during World War II — but missing a date of death.

A Swedish-Russian panel investigating Wallenberg’s fate wrapped up a 10-year study earlier this month that failed to determine how or exactly when Wallenberg died.

Wallenberg is credited with issuing Swedish passports for tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest, Hungary, who otherwise would have been sent to concentration camps. Soviet troops arrested him in 1945, and Soviet officials later claimed, without offering proof, that he died of a heart attack in 1947.

Jan Wallenberg, a relative of the diplomat, unveiled the bust and plaque at the Library of Foreign Literature. The ceremony was attended by diplomats, human rights groups and the head of Russia’s presidential commission on rehabilitating victims of political repression, Alexander Yakovlev.

The Swedish-Russian panel found some evidence to contradict the Soviet version, but little to support other theories suggesting Wallenberg was executed or lived on for years or decades. The Swedish side said it would continue its probe.

The Russian co-chair of the panel, Vyacheslav Tuchnin, said on Echo of Moscow radio Thursday that despite the extensive investigation, there may be documents in “private archives” that were not released to the commission.

Earlier this week, the Russian side of the panel said some key documents had disappeared, suggesting that Soviet authorities were trying to hide something.

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