Raoul Wallenberg: a duel with Stalin

17-12-2011, by Leonid Muchnik, ed. Research worker of Institute of Democracy and Human Rights, Odessa city, Ukraine

Whoever saves one life – saves the world entire.

Talmud

The article in Russia

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) rightly said in his memoirs that Raoul Wallenberg “is one of those people who make not just all of Sweden but all of humanity proud” (1) . As long as Judeo-Christian civilization continues to exist, his fate is sure to move people, for he was one of its most praiseworthy examples that has lived among us. Humanity’s greatest good always begins with the ability to do good on behalf of other people. In saving the lives of the Hungarian Jews, Wallenberg made his own contribution to the development of all Western Civilization. It is apparent that through his acts of self-sacrifice over the course of several months in 1944, he fathered the standard of our attitude to human dignity which was subsequently laid down in perpetuity as the foundation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For this reason, this article is dedicated to the sacred memory of a saint of many nations, Raoul Wallenberg (1912 – ?).
As is well documented, in the period from 1933 to 1945, some 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated in Europe by the combined forces of Nazi Germany, their allies, and in addition their collaborators in occupied countries (2). Such ruthless mass murder of Jews while the entire world looked on was to become the single most unmitigated catastrophe in the history of the Jewish people. > More

F. v. Dardels dagboksanteckningar angående R. Wallenberg, 1961-1963

04-12-2011, by Fredrik von Dardel,

År 1961

  • Den 2 januari

I Aftonbladets nummer för idag har Philipp på synlig plats fått en artikel med rubriken: « Arbetet för Raouls återfinnande i Sovjet Unionen fortsätter,  » vari han omnämner att den sovjetiska uppgiften om Raouls död, som endast var en hypotes strider emot vittnesmål av hemvända fångar, som intygat att de ännu år därefter sammanträffat med Raoul i rysk fängelse.

I sitt senaste brev hade Schöggl omnämnt att han såsom S.A. Man räddat livet på en jude vid namn Willy Mayer, vilken adress han lämnade. Sedan Philipp skrivit till denne  och begärt upplysningar om Schöggl. Har Mayer skrivit ett långt brev och berättat att denne med risk för sitt eget liv räddat ej blott Mayer utan också ett antal andra judar. Han yttrat sig i berömmande ordalag om Schöggls karaktär men betecknar honom samtidigt som en fantast och äventyrare. Hans brev synas därför inte kunna åberopas inför UD, som säkert skulle tacksamt skulle fästa sig vid dessa uttryck för att nedvärdera hans trovärdighet medan Mayer närmast han använt för att förklara att Schöggl gått in i S.A. Philipp har bett Mayer att skaffa utlåtande ang. Schöggl av andra judar, som räddats av denne.> More

År 1962

  • Den 7 februari:

Philipp har omtalat att han fått telefon från styrman Svärdell på M/S Yarravonga, vilken under juni månad 1961 skrivit till Marcus Wallenberg om att en ungrare vid namn Hardy som medföljt som fripassegare från Australien, berättat att i Sydney träffat en landsman vid namn Vass, vilken uppgivit sig ha suttit med Raoul i ett fängelse i Rumänien. Svärdell hade nu meddelat att han vid fartygens återkomst till Australien sökt Vass på dennes adress i Sydney, som uppgivits för honom av Hardy, men därvid konstaterat att Vass inte bodde eller bott där. Han bad om ursäkt på kaptenens vägnar att de vidare befordrat en historia som tydligen var uppdiktad, något som vi med kriminaltekniska anstaltens tidigare kunnat fastslå. > More

År 1963

Den 15 januari

För en vecka sedan skickade Philipp ett brev till Thorsten Nilsson, där han framhöll att det nu vore en synnerligen lämplig tidpunkt att göra en förnyad framställning om Raouls hemvändare och vädjade till att icke försitta detta tillfälle. På förslag av Philipp ringde Maj i dag till Lundberg som fåtten avskrift av Pilipps brev, för att höra om dennes uppfattning. Lundberg förklarade att ryssarna icke såg på en enda människas bekymmer på samma sätt som vi och att dom skulle finna det obegripligt om Nilsson skulle resa till Moskva bara för Raouls skull. När Gusev tog farväl av Erlander, medsände denne promemoria, ang. Raoul, avsedd för Chrustjov. Enligt Lundberg förmenande vore det antagligt att Gusev framlämnat denna promemoria till Chrustjov. Förre ett besök i Moskva borde Nilsson få en inbjudan därifrån. När Undén reste dit år 1954 hade han dock icke varit inbjuden. Lundberg erbjöd sig att tala med Belfrage i saken, men Maj bad honom att tala direkt till Nilsson.> More

Historiker wegen Forschung zu Russland-Deutschen angeklagt

24-11-2011, ed. Der Standard

Russische Staatsanwaltschaft argumentiert mit Verstößen gegen das Persönlichkeitsrecht

Moskau – Wegen seiner Forschungsarbeit über das Schicksal von Russland-Deutschen unter Sowjetdiktator Josef Stalin hat die russische Staatsanwaltschaft eine Verurteilung des Historikers Michail Suprun gefordert. Der Wissenschaftler habe mit seiner Datensammlung für das Deutsche Rote Kreuz in München und den Historischen Forschungsverein der Deutschen aus Russland mit Sitz in Nürnberg gegen russisches Persönlichkeitsrecht verstoßen. Suprun solle deshalb zu einer Geldstrafe von umgerechnet 3.600 Euro verurteilt werden, teilte die Staatsanwaltschaft in Archangelsk im Norden Russlands am Freitag nach Angaben der Agentur Interfax mit. >More

Civilkurage premieras inte på UD och det blev Raouls öde

20-11-2011, by Mats Lewicki, ed. NewsMill

Utrikesdepartementet är en politiskt styrd organisation och i sådana finns det litet eller inget utrymme för medmänsklig storslagenhet. Raoul Wallenbergs öde är tyvärr ett skolexempel på den ständiga bristen på civilkurage. Det skriver Mats Lewicki, sekreterare vid Raoul Wallenberg Academy.

OM FÖRFATTAREN

Mats Lewicki är sekreterare vid Raoul Wallenberg Academy for Young Leaders, www.rwa.se

Den 17 januari 1945 sågs vår svenske diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, för sista gången. Det var i Budapest. Mitt i brinnande krig. Uppdraget han anförtroddes var kort – att rädda så många människoliv som möjligt undan nazisternas gaskamrar.

Det uppskattas att Raoul Wallenberg räddade, direkt och indirekt, upptill 100 000 människoliv. Det motsägelsefulla är att han inte förmådde att rädda sitt eget liv. Han utelämnades istället helt själv ute på fältet med fienden.

Nyligen, i en stor helgbilaga till den ansedda tidsskriften The Wall Street Journal, uppmärksammades på nytt UD:s hanterande av vår kidnappade diplomat. Kritiken är skarp och närmast pinsam. Bland annat belyser den hur lite stöd Raouls familj faktiskt fick från svenskt håll, både från UD och regeringen. Det saknades helt enkelt genuint engagemang att återfå Raoul från Sovjetisk fångenskap.


Idag kan vi kort konstatera att mycket kunde ha gjorts bättre, vilket även framgår av den omfattande utredning som presenterades av den så kallade svensk-ryska arbetsgruppen 2001. Det fick sedermera statsminister Göran Persson att offentligt gå ut och be familjen till Raoul om ursäkt. Men vad spelar det för roll? > More

Gör tecknad serie av Raoul Wallenberg öde

20-11-2011, by Tanja Schult, ed. NewsMill

Vi behöver inte fler minnesplaketter och pliktskyldiga bedyranden om Sveriges försummelse under Raoul Wallenberg-året. En tecknad serie skulle däremot kunna nå en yngre publik, skriver Tanja Schult, författare till A Hero’s Many Faces. Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments.

OM FÖRFATTAREN

Tanja Schult är forskare vid Stockholms universitet och författare till A Hero’s Many Faces. Raoul Wallenberg in Contemporary Monuments.

« Raoul Wallenbergs hjältedåd var av större dimension än vad jag fortfarande tror att de allra flesta i vårt land egentligen är medvetna om. … Ingen annan svensk har i modern tid gjort så stora insatser i humanitetens och människokärlekens tjänst än Raoul Wallenberg. Hans namn har verkligen gett ära till Sverige. Nu kommer han – äntligen – att få sitt minnesmärke också i Sveriges riksdag. Det är sent, men inte för sent. … Wallenberg försvann i stalinismens mörka fängelser, läger och lögner. Vi valde att inte våga rädda honom när detta kanske hade varit möjligt. Vi har en skuld, också till honom. » Så formulerade sig 1998 dåvarande moderatledaren Carl Bildt inför invigningen av Lenke Rothmans minnesmärke över Wallenbergs gärning.

I augusti 2011 sammankallade Carl Bildt, nu utrikesminister i en Alliansregering, ledamöterna till Nationalkommittén för Raoul Wallenberg 2012 för ett första möte. Till mångas besvikelse fanns det ingen budget där institutioner eller enskilda kunde ansöka om medel till projekt. Men viljan att Wallenberg skulle hedras på ett värdigt sätt manifesterades med eftertryck, särskilt hans insats för Budapests judar 1944-45 ska uppmärksammas. Dessutom är frågan vad en hjälte är och om « Raoul Wallenberg var en sådan » av intresse enligt regeringens hemsida. Vad som utgör en hjälte är sannerligen inte alls lätt att besvara, även om det knappast råder någon tvekan om att Wallenberg var en hjälte.>More

F. v. Dardels dagboksanteckningar angående R. Wallenberg, 1958-1960

01-11-2011, by F. v. Dardel,
  • 1958 :

    • Den 20 februari: i går kom propositionen om den förlängda preskriptionstiden upp i båda kamrarna. Ehuru det var all anledning att antaga att förslaget skulle gå igenom utan debatt hade vi ledsamma erfarenheter av tidigare bakslag att vi insåg försiktigheten bjuda oss att vidtala ett par välvilliga riksdagsmän att uppträda för förslaget om någon händelsevis skulle kritisera detsamma.
  • 1959:

    • Den 8 januari: maj ringde idag till Åström, som då meddelade fortfarande undersöker vittnesmålen och tog kontrollstick. Han ansåg ett det vara bäst att vara helt övertygad innan man tog upp saken med ryssarna. Vad man misstrodde beträffande vittnesmålen ville han inte meddela i telefon. Maj framhöll att UD misstrott av Sandeberg och fru Kollontay, men däremot trott på Tamvelius.
  • 1960:

    • Den 3 januari: Philipp ringde och talte om dels av tidningen « Die Welt » haft en notis d.29/12 59 om att ledaren för Suchdienst i lägret Friedland von Rosen förlänats Kronorden av Sveriges kung för verksamhet vid Suchdienst och sitt nära samarbete med Svenska Röda korset och dels att Västtyska radion den 31 dec. Meddelat att samma von Rosen i verkligheten var en förutvarande hög nazifunktionär (S.S. Fürher) vid namn Arvinsky, som anklagar för förbrytelser mot civilbefolkningen.

The FSB Should Open Up the Wallenberg File

11-10-2011, by V. Birstein and S. Berger, ed. The Moscow Time

Next year marks the 100th birthday of one of the 20th century’s most admired figures: Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews from Nazi persecution in World War II Hungary only to be swallowed up himself in 1945 by Stalin’s Gulag. Although Soviet leaders claimed in 1957 that Wallenberg had died suddenly in the Lubyanka prison on July 17, 1947, the full circumstances of his fate in Soviet captivity have never been established.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the current chief of the Federal Security Service’s registration and archives directorate, Lieutenant General Vasily Khristoforov, emphasized that he, too, considers Wallenberg a hero and that FSB officials are doing everything to uncover more documentation. He strongly denied withholding any information that would shed light on the truth.

Yet it is indisputable that Russian officials for decades chose to mislead not only the general public but also an official Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated the case from 1991-2001. This group included official Swedish representatives as well as Raoul Wallenberg’s brother, Guy von Dardel. Russia did not merely obscure inconsequential details of the case but also failed to provide documentation that goes to the very heart of the Wallenberg inquiry.

Chief among these are copies of the Lubyanka prison register from July 23, 1947. They show that a “Prisoner No. 7” was questioned on that day, six days after Wallenberg’s alleged death. Russian officials have since acknowledged that “Prisoner No. 7” almost certainly was Wallenberg. Researchers have yet to receive a copy of the full page of this Lubyanka interrogation register, in uncensored form, showing the complete list of interrogated prisoners and other details. > More

If Russian Authorities Lied About Raoul Wallenberg, Then What?

07-10-2011, by Susanna Berger, ed. The Global Herald

Now that researchers have shown in two proven instances that  Russia for many decades has deliberately withheld key information in the Raoul Wallenberg case, where does that leave the investigation of his fate?

For as yet unexplained reasons, Russian officials chose to  mislead for decades not only the general public, but also an official Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated the case from 1991-2001. This group included official Swedish representatives as well as Raoul Wallenberg’s brother, Guy von Dardel. Russia did not merely obscure inconsequential details of the case but instead failed to provide documentation that contains information which goes to the very heart of the Wallenberg inquiry. These are:

1. Copies of the Lubyanka prison register from July 23, 1947. They show that a “Prisoner Nr. 7″ was interrogated on that day, six days after Raoul Wallenberg’s alleged death on July 17, 1947. Russian officials did not show this page to Swedish investigators during the Working Group, citing “privacy” concerns. They have since acknowledged that “Prisoner Nr. 7″ almost certainly is  identical with Wallenberg.

2. Investigative material about  Willy Roedel, Raoul Wallenberg’s longterm cellmate in Lefortovo prison (1945-1947). In 1993, Russian officials provided the Working Group with a few loose pages about Roedel. They specifically denied that any of Roedel’s interrogation protocols had survived. Just a few weeks ago, however, researchers learned that two of these interrogations had been published as part of a new collection of documentation issued by the Central Archives of Russia’s State Security Service (FSB). It now appears that not only Roedel’s statements are available, but that fifty-seven pages from his file have been deliberately withheld. Some of the material apparently dates from the years that Roedel spent together with Raoul Wallenberg.

An obvious  question presents itself:  If Raoul Wallenberg died in 1947, why this grand effort at deception? At the moment, only one answer seems plausible: Russian officials did not want to complicate matters, as this information undoubtedly would have.  If researchers had learned in 1991 that Raoul Wallenberg was alive six days after his supposed death on July 17, 1947, then an all-out effort would have followed to uncover the full circumstances of his fate.

Similarly, if investigators had known that large parts of Roedel’s file have survived, then quite obviously similar files must have been created for other key persons in the Wallenberg drama, such as Wallenberg himself or for Vilmos Langfelder, Wallenberg’s driver who was arrested alongside him in January 1945. And just as obviously, their files too may well still remain accessible in FSB archives (After all, from where exactly did Wallenberg’s possessions magically reappear in 1989?).

So, what would these papers tell us? Most likely they will reveal information about Wallenberg’s time in captivity, how he was treated, about his health, about his background, his experiences and activities in Hungary, and – most importantly – about how his case was handled by Soviet authorities. In fact, if Wallenberg’s file also survives – as we now must assume – then it would undoubtedly include information about the genesis of a key document in his case, the so-called Smoltsov report from 1947, which announced to the world that Wallenberg had died suddenly of a heart attack in Lubyanka prison on July 17, 1947.

When Soviet officials in 1957 released this note from Lubyanka prison doctor A.L Smoltsov,  almost everyone questioned the details of the story. The general wisdom, however, was that while this version may not have been true in fact, it was most likely true in spirit. That is, Wallenberg had most likely died, but had probably been executed.

The motives of the Soviet government were quite clear. Officials wanted to present a credible version of Raoul Wallenberg’s demise in prison without implicating any living members of the regime. Therefore, the former Soviet Minister of State Security, Viktor Abakumov, who had been killed in 1954 and A. Smoltsov, who was also no longer alive, were singled out for blame.>More

F. v. Dardel dagboksanteckningar angående R. Wallenberg 1955-1957

06-10-2011, by F. v. Dardel,

1955

« Den 14 januari: Sedan Svenska Dagbladet infört en notis om att Sovjet ämnade inbjuda den svenska riksdagens ledamöter till ett besök i Ryssland, har Dagens Nyheter i en ledare framhållit, att ett sån’t besök borde inte äga rum om inte vissa krav som framförs från svenskarnas sida, bl.a. Raouls hemsändande, bleve uppfyllda… » 

1956

« Den 6 januari: Philipp meddelade att en transport nya fångar lär komma tillbaka till Tyskland imorgon enligt Lorentzon fått veta. Man väntar att en person vid namn Stenzel, som uppges ha sammanträffat med Raoul 1953, skall tillhöra denna kontingent. En man vid från stadspolisen reser ner i kväll för att ta upp vittnesmål. Sammanställningen av det hittills inkommna vittnesmålen väntas bli färdig den 16 januari och justitierådet Stezel har förordnats att granska dem och avgiva utlåtande över den… »

1957

« Den 12 januari: Philipps vänninna fru Koblank, som ger fru Axel Axelson Johnson massage, hade uppgivit ett denna var mycket lierad med fru Rodionov, vilket gav Pilipp tanken att hon kunde skriva till fru Rodionov, vilkens man nyligen efter sitt avsked från ambassadörposten i Stockholm blivit chef för ryska UDs skandinaviska avdelning, och be henne intervenera för Raouls räkning… »

R. Wallenberg in Budapest 1944: An Atmosphere of Rescue

06-10-2011, by Dr R. Rozett, ed. The Global Heralds

By ; published on Thu, 06 Oct 2011 08:42:52

When Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Hungary in July 1944 a joint diplomatic and local Jewish effort to aid the persecuted Jews in Hungary was already underway.

From early in the war, and more intensively from 1942 onward, activist Hungarian Jews aided their co-religionists seeking refuge in Hungary, which until 1944 was a relatively safe haven. The most prominent Hungarian Jewish rescue activists belonged to the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee under Rezso Kasztner and Otto Komoly, and members of the various Zionist youth movements.  Mostly they provided refugees with false papers and safe housing. Working together, they even sent couriers to occupied Poland to extricate Jews from the jaws of death.

On March 19, 1944, the circumstances of Jews in Hungary took a devastating turn for the worse when Hungary’s ally Germany occupied the country in response to the attempt by Hungary to withdraw its soldiers from the Eastern Front.  With the occupation, the Final Solution was soon implemented. By early July, when the first wave of deportations ended, some 437,000 Jews had been transported almost exclusively to Auschwitz-Birkenau and only the large Jewish population of Budapest remained mostly untouched.

When the Germans entered Hungary, the leaders of the free world already knew a great deal about the murder of the Jews. As a result, the British and Americans issued warnings to the Hungarians not to cooperate in the murder crusade.  Nonetheless, with official sanction, many Hungarians played an active role in carrying out the deportations. Only in July, after the D-Day landings in France and in the wake of pleas from the King of Sweden and the Vatican, did the Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy order a halt to the deportations.  At the same time he proposed that several thousand Jews be allowed to leave for British Mandatory Palestine.  Known as the Horthy Offer, this would be a cornerstone of future rescue operations. In the meantime, outside of Hungary — the United States through the recently established War Refugee Board, the agency charged with providing help to the persecuted Jews of Europe — turned to neutral countries asking them to extend aid to Hungarian Jewry.  These imprecations would bear fruit, especially in the second half of 1944.

The idea of protecting Jews through diplomatic intervention and the issuance of protective diplomatic papers was not invented in Hungary, and had been used modestly in other places under Nazi dominion. In Hungary, however, in the wake of the Horthy Offer this idea took wing.  Probably the first to extend diplomatic protection in Hungary was the Swiss consul Charles (Karl) Lutz who provided a safe house for Zionist rescue activists immediately after the Germans arrived. Following the Horthy Offer, he provided thousands of Swiss protective papers as well.  Lutz provided papers because the Jews destined for mandatory Palestine were potential British subjects and with Britain and Hungary at war, neutral Switzerland represented British interests in Hungary.

On June 19, the Romanian commercial attaché in Bern, Dr. E. Florian Manoliu reached Budapest armed with 1000 Salvadorian citizenship papers he had been given by the representative of the El Salvador government in Switzerland, George Mantello.  Soon afterward, the International Red Cross, which Horthy charged with the responsibility for the wellbeing of Jews remaining in Budapest, became involved in rescue as well, chiefly through its representative, Friedrich Born. Most notably in cooperation with Komoly, the Red Cross extended its protection to Jewish children who were safeguarded in houses bearing the International Red Cross emblem.  At the same time, backed by the War Refugee Board, Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish representative charged with helping Jews, began his activities.  Other diplomats including Angelo Rotta of the Vatican and George Perlasca, representing Spain, also proffered their protection to thousands of additional Jews.

The neutral diplomats worked closely with the Budapest Relief and Rescue Committee and the Zionist youth movements.  The local Jews were instrumental in obtaining food, clothing and medicine, and they manned the special children houses.  They also worked alongside the diplomats giving out protective papers, and they forged thousands more that they distributed freely.

Deportation of Jews from Hungary renewed in the autumn after Horthy made one last failed attempt to extricate Hungary from German control.  At this time, rescue activities went into high gear as tens of thousands of Jews were rounded up and shot along the banks of the Danube River, tens of thousands were herded into a ghetto, and tens of thousands were marched by foot to the Austrian border to build fortifications as slave laborers.  The diplomats and their Jewish partners did whatever they could to forestall these deadly measures, with some success.  Among other daring acts, Zionist youth dressed in military and fascist uniforms audaciously freed Jews who were being marched to the riverfront to be shot or were held in detention.  An “International Ghetto” was established for Jews holding the various protective papers at this time, and thereby they were safeguarded to a certain degree. Rotta, in coordination with his fellow diplomatic rescuers, was made responsible for trying to gain concessions from the Hungarian government.

In the autumn of 1944 Wallenberg became a legend for his humanity, courage and resourcefulness in the face of the intensified persecution.  Along with his staff, he could be seen pulling out Jews from the concentration point to which the deportees were sent.  He sought those with Swedish papers, and paid little attention to whether they were authentic or forged.  It is even said that Wallenberg used any paper on the person of the deportees that was not written in Hungarian to extract Jews from the forced marches to Austria, gambling on the idea that the soldiers on the scene could read only their native language.

Of course the tragedy of Wallenberg is that after having survived dangerous situations as a rescuer, he was arrested by the very people who had come to relieve Budapest of the yoke of Nazism, the Soviets.  Probably arousing much suspicion for the different papers and currencies on his person, as well as for the fact that he was a Scandinavian, the Soviets seized him, interrogated him and funneled him deep into the labyrinth of their gulag system. One must also remember that hundreds of Jews, who somehow had managed to survive the Holocaust and were liberated on Hungarian soil, were indiscriminately seized by their liberators and imprisoned in the same system.

Wallenberg’s reputation as a hero was justly earned.  Yet, he was not alone in creating an atmosphere of rescue that impeded the destruction of Budapest Jewry.  It was the combined efforts of numerous diplomats and local Jews that contributed to keeping well over 100,000 Jews alive in the city until the Soviet forces conquered it in January and February of 1945.