Response from Raoul Wallenberg’s family to President Obama

24-11-2013, by Matilda von Dardel,

President Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Cc: Ambassador Mark Brzezinski and Douglas Davidson


Dear President Obama,

Yesterday my sister-in-law Nina Lagergren and I received President Obama’s response – via Douglas Davidson, U.S. Ambassador for Holocaust affairs – to our letter from September 3, 2013.

I wish to convey to you my thorough disappointment and dismay with Ambassador Davidson’s note. It showed a degree of detachment and bureaucratic rationalization that froze my heart.

It contained not a single reference to Raoul Wallenberg’s successful work on behalf of the U.S. government or the slightest sense of recognition, gratitude or  commitment to a man whom  Sweden and the U.S. sent out on a highly dangerous mission without adequate protection.

Furthermore, it should be clear that the 2009 Terezin Declaration cited by Mr. Davidson primarily addresses the needs of Holocaust victims, the recovery of Holocaust era assets and archival documentation directly related to these issues.

While Raoul Wallenberg  was certainly engaged in rescuing Jews from the Holocaust, he himself did not fall victim to Nazism but to Communism. In January 1945 he was arrested by Soviet forces, becoming  one of the earliest victims of the Cold War. It is therefore  questionable whether the Terezin Declaration would even apply to his case.That is not say that the  Terezin agreement is not a  valuable document, at least in theory.

However, many families, and especially mine, find that this does not mean that the Russian government is currently complying with the letter or spirit of this agreement. That is precisely why we turned to you for assistance.  Instead, all you are doing is to move us in circles.

After almost seventy years of struggle, Raoul deserves better from the country whose reputation as a humanitarian haven he helped cement.

I would also ask you to please inform us of the result of your’s discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin concerning Raoul’s fate.  As you recall, he had promised to raise the issue with Mr. Putin.


Matilda von Dardel

President Obama’s respons to the family

08-11-2013, by Douglas Davidson, U.S. Department of States,

Dear Mrs. Lagergren and Mrs. von Dardel:

Thank you very much for your letter of September 3 to President Obama. The White House has asked that I respond on the President’s behalf.

The fundamental issue that you raise in your letter, archival access, is an important one for the United States. We have long pressed for greater access by scholars, researchers, educators, and family members such as yourselves to Holocaust-era archives throughout Europe.

On June 30, 2009, the Russian Federation joined consensus on a document called Terezin Declaration. This declaration was issued at the conclusion of an international conference on Holocaust-era Assets in Prague in which 47 countries and a number of non-governmental organizations participated. Among other things, the Terezin Declaration stated this:

We encourage governments and other bodies that maintain or oversee relevant archives to make them available to the fullest extent possible to the public and researchers in accordance with the guidelines of the International Council on Archives, with due regard to national legislation, including provisions on privacy and data protection, while also taking into account the special circumstances created by the Holocaust era end the needs of the survives and their families, especially in cases concerning documents that have their origins in Nazi rules and laws.

This statement reflects the policy of the United States. At the same conference in Prague the head of the U.S. delegation, Stuart Eizenstat, stated:

Full and immediate access to all official and private archives is absolutely essential… in order to give life to the Terezin Declaration.

Together with our partners at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which Sweden founded, we shall continue to urge those countries, including the Russian Federation, that agreed to the Terezin Declaration to provide full and immediate access to their Nazi-era archival holdings to those interested in studying the Holocaust, or those who continue to hope for information concerning the fate of missing loved ones. in addition, we strongly support the Government of Sweden’s efforts to obtain a full accounting of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance.

Knowing that the long wait and the lack of news have surely caused you and your family tremendous hardship, I can only commend and admire your dedication in continuing to search for the truth about Raoul Wallenberg’s fate.

Yours very truly,

Douglas Davidson

Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues


Raoul Wallenberg and President Obama’s official visit to Sweden

03-09-2013, by Marie Dupuy,

On the occasion of U.S. President Obama’s official visit to Stockholm, Sweden on September 3, 2013, the members of Raoul Wallenberg’s immediate family gave him an open letter.

Open letter to President Obama from Raoul Wallenberg's family.

Open letter to President Obama from Raoul Wallenberg’s family.

Raoul Wallenberg is still missing

26-08-2013, by Eduardo Eurnekian and Baruch Tenembaum, ed. Jerusalem Post
The fact that Wallenberg’s fate is still shrouded in mystery is the direct responsibility of the Russian authorities.

Sweden has instituted an official Raoul Wallenberg Day, which will be commemorated every August 27, starting this year.

To be sure, this is an important event which does justice, albeit somewhat late, to Wallenberg’s legacy. Moreover, the commemoration has a strong educational dimension as this year it will start with a Foreign Ministry seminar on the limits and possibilities of diplomacy for an audience of young diplomats, and will also include the dispatch of educational boxes with material on Raoul Wallenberg, the Holocaust and xenophobia to Swedish schools that will have to report on the ensuing activities created by this initiative.

In 2012, coinciding with the 100th birthday of the Swedish hero, the Swedish government created a special entity, led by Olle Wastberg, which coordinated all the commemorative events worldwide. The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation had the honor and privilege to cooperate with this organization in several activities.


Why does the Knesset speaker not answer a question about appointing a contact person?

06-08-2013, by Max Grunberg, ed. Jerusalem Post

For many years now, I have been dealing with different Israeli government representatives in order to request assistance in the search for Raoul Wallenberg.

A Swedish diplomat, Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Jewish persons during the Holocaust in Budapest. He was arrested in 1945 by the Russians, and since then his fate is unknown. Sunday was his 101st birthday. He is also an Honorary Citizen of Israel.

More >


Sweden, Russia Should Find Truth on Wallenberg

08-05-2013, by S. Berger and V. Birstein, ed. The Moscow Time

Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein write: « For a variety of reasons, the Swedish organizers decided to focus attention entirely on highlighting Wallenberg’s legacy, excluding almost completely the question of his fate. As a result, many observers feel that Sweden once again missed a golden opportunity to press the Russian authorities for answers. The approach was also troubling because it signaled that Sweden no longer considers solving the Wallenberg mystery important.

Just as perplexing is that Swedish officials continue to emphasize all the obstacles that  stand in the way of clarifying Wallenberg’s fate instead of energetically pursuing the many options that are available to investigators. Unfortunately, this position plays directly into the hands of President Vladimir Putin, who still shows only a limited willingness to properly reckon with the Soviet past. »

Read more>


The Secret of my Father, Tamàs Szabó, Savior in Gestapo gap

05-05-2013, by Johanna Lutteroth, ed.

Google traduction from the german version

He was nine years old when his father disappeared for months in 1953 in the torture chambers of the Hungarian State Security: But Tams Szab never learned why. After the fall of the Iron Curtain in the years of research he found out that his father was a hero – and victim of a perfidious intrigue.

The very first childhood memory I have of my father Kroly Szab, dates from the year 1947. I was just three years old. My father ran back and forth in our apartment in Budapest and grabbed his suitcase because he had to travel. We wrestled around a bit.Suddenly he came up with the idea to put me in the trunk and carry it around. I found this incredibly funny, even though it was very dark in the case. It was one of those glcklichen, serene moments of deep burrowing into my Gedchtnis.

Six years later, on 7 April 1953, my father suddenly disappeared. He was arrested on his way to work on the open road. For half a year we did not know where he was and what happened to him. Anxiety and concern given our everyday lives. In November 1953, he was then suddenly again outside the door – a broken man His clothes and his shoes were in tatters. He had fresh red scar on the head. His condition lie to only one conclusion: where he had been, he had been brutally tortured.

Father rarely spoke about what had happened to him. Until his death in 1964, he entrenched himself behind the wall of silence – and with it my mother. The fear of those who had tormented him about six months writing and signed him to silence, berschattete our existence. Even as a child I felt this fear in 1969 finally brought to me to leave Hungary and go to the West.

Despite, or perhaps because of this dark chapter of his life lie rid of me never. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, I began to investigate. The Hungarian journalist Maria Ember assisted me. The more sources we frderten evident over the years, the clearer it became apparent that my father had become a victim of intrigue, their masterminds were to look at Highest point in the communist power structure of Hungary and the Soviet Union.

A daring plan

I knew that my father had worked at the Swedish embassy in Budapest as a typewriter mechanic in 1944 and 1945 and there a narrow Verhltnis one of the diplomats used: Raoul Wallenberg. In spring 1944, the Germans occupied Hungary and immediately began the deportation of the Jews. The Swede Wallenberg was involved for their rescue. He fed thousands of Jews with Swedish Schutzpssen and brought them under Swedish protection in so-called houses, which he had rented for them. The more I frderte over the last two years of the war revealed, the more I realized that my father’s fate must have to do with Wallenberg who disappeared in January 1945.

By October 1944, the good diplomatic contacts Wallenberg sufficient to bring the Hungarian Jews to safety before the German machinery of destruction. But then the National Socialist Arrow Cross Party took over under the guided tour of Budapest Ferenc Szlasi the power and instituted a reign of terror by Nazi model. Jews were indiscriminately arrested, deported or shot down. Wallenberg’s contacts with the old Horthy regime could no longer cause. He had to come up with something new.

In this situation, my father came into play. Because his childhood friend Pl Szalai was not only a senior Arrow Cross but also a high official in the Hungarian police. Given this contact forged Wallenberg and his helpers a daring plan: they learned of an arrest campaign, my father dressed as a Gestapo officer should show up in the Arrow Cross, and « officially » request on behalf of the German occupier throughout the release of the captive Jews. Szalai DAFR should get him about the necessary certificates and authorizations, which he did willingly.

« The man in the leather coat »

Several witnesses reported coincidentally, my father gehllt in a black leather jacket appeared several times at the Arrow Cross, they anbrllte bossy and ordered the return of the people. This he waved the papers Szalai had worried him. His self-conscious performances always took effect. Intimidated by the sporty, slim, blond man with his blue eyes, the Arrow Cross did what he asked. In the jewish community, he was quickly given the nickname « The Man in leather jacket. »

The biggest coup succeeded on 8 January 1945. On this day, the Arrow Cross streamed a house that was under the protection of the Swedish Embassy, ​​and deported 154 Jews. They were divided into groups and had, like so many Jews before them, marching down to the banks of the Danube. There they were to be executed. « Shortly after our arrival were suddenly police trucks loaded with policemen, » said Eva Lw, which belonged to the exiles recalled. Angefhrt was the party of Szalai and my father. They stopped the action and brought the Arrow Cross to bring 154 people back down again into the Swedish shelter.

Among the rescued were located and the entrepreneur Lajos Stckler achtkpfige and his family. Stckler played a leading role in the Budapest Judenrat, and sat down heavily since 1944 for the food supply in the Budapest ghetto. He should also nine years later a victim of intrigue of the communist power structure, which is the underlying had sent my father.

Four days later, on 12 January 1945, my father, Wallenberg, Szalai and the jewish doctor Otto Fleischmann, the Wallenberg massively assisted in bailing met for dinner at the Swedish embassy. What they discussed on this occasion, is not more to follow. On 13 January, Wallenberg reported to the Russians, who were standing in front of Budapest, because he wanted to win meals for the Jews after the liberation Fri. Since he was gone without a trace. The three were the last to have seen Wallenberg alive.

Moscow under pressure

The international public took the disappearance of the flagship diplomat Wallenberg, who came from one of Sweden’s most influential business families, not just down. The suspect was circulated that he was always gone in the Russian torture chambers Fri. The international pressure on Moscow grew, especially since the Soviets could oppose the suspect not much: Wallenberg 1947 was come tatschlich Lubyanka prison in Moscow killed. But rather than admit this, decided to Sowjetfhrung, 1952, to wash one’s vest in and to push someone else to the murder in the shoes.

In May 2011, over 50 years after his arrest, I was finally able to the files of the Hungarian State Security (AVH) view and stated: My father was the pawn in this game of intrigue! In a mock trial, he should be tried and Pl Szalai ffentlichkeitswirksam to bury the issue Wallenberg endgltig.

Under Stalin, the Sowjetfhrung of fteren had zurckgegriffen on this instrument to enforce their interests or eliminate political enemies. The most famous case is probably the so-called rzteverschwrung. Allegedly wanted to poison the entire time militrische and political guided tour some of the most prestigious, jewish physicians of the USSR. Although the Vorwrfe were groundless, jewish doctors were serially arrested, tortured and then publicly condemned. Several were executed.

Originally the Sowjetfhrung had wanted to represent the murder of Wallenberg also as a jewish conspiracy. The alleged perpetrators were Stckler and Miksa Domonkos – one of the leading Kpfe the jewish community in Budapest. Supposedly they had murdered Wallenberg, « because he had not done enough for the salvation of the Jews. » The two, however, were tortured so badly that they have a process neither physically nor mentally berstanden huts. Domonkos died shortly after his release in 1953. Stckler remained until his death a nursing care.

From eyewitnesses to the offender

Therefore, the torturers nderten their tactics. Szalai and my father, who had seen Wallenberg as last, who is now the Hauptverdchtigten and were arrested. The indictment sttzte to a forced from Stckler under severe torture in Mar 1953 Gestndnis: « In January 1945 Kroly Szab Pl Szalai helped Raoul Wallenberg kill. » As the Hungarian political guided tour were exchanged in August 1953 a few months after Stalin’s death, on the instructions of Moscow and aufgelst several Hungarian detention camp, recanted his Stckler Gestndnis.

In mid-September, the Hungarian State Security decided to release my father. Not only because Stckler but because the terrorist instrument « show trial » was also made after Stalin’s death to the discontinued model. The baiting was set in the context of the general de-Stalinization and also blown off the Wallenberg process in the course of.My father was dodged. The other half months passed before he finally came to walk free in November, 1953. With good reason: he had also been trimmed so bel of his torturers, that it took weeks until the tracks were at least halfway healed.

over the internet, I could now make ten people locate where my father had saved his life between 1944 and 1945. They recorded their memories and sent them to Yad Vashem, the International Centre for Holocaust Research. There, his life’s work should be gewrdigt. 2012 after over 20 years of research, it was finally time: On 12 November was awarded to him posthumously in Jerusalem, the honorary title of « Righteous Among the Vlkern ». For the first time he was so distinguished for his decent performance except publicly.

Recorded by Johanna Lutteroth.


The Truth of the Gulag

15-04-2013, by Nikita Petrov,

5659 Katyn – a double game of the Kremlin

70 years ago the world learned the truth about the terrible tragedy of Smolensk, but so far out of it trying to make a secret.



April 13, 1943 German radio reported a mass grave in the Katyn forest executed Polish officers. Stalin’s leadership immediately embarked on a denial of guilt. Only in 1990, under Gorbachev, was officially recognized – executions were carried out in 1940 by the NKVD. An investigation that went long 14 years. Although after 1994, nothing new – no papers, no conclusions – the investigation has been received, the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office of Russia for some reason not in a hurry to put a period and closed the case.


Why are so delayed consequence – is understandable. Russian policy has undergone major changes. If at the beginning of the 1990s the Soviet past has been the subject of consideration in terms of the crimes committed by the communist system, which wrote a lot and open by the beginning of the 2000s new winds blowing. Are more often overemphasize the role of Stalin as the winner in the war, began to voices, including historians, that is not necessary to represent the entire Soviet period as a chain of crimes against the people, as a never-ending gulag.History, to teach citizens how to become leaders in the Kremlin, must serve the patriotic education of youth, and, in addition to negative, you should always remember the good moments. Such an approach would inevitably lead to the triumph of a new line in the state policy of Russia – the line at silencing the Soviet crimes.


Against this background, the most domestic policy of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office did not have the clarity and constantly struggle was waged around the question of who exactly should blame the Katyn crime and how to qualify – as a war crime, or merely as « abuse of power » by officials. In the original decision to dismiss the case, prepared in 1994 by the head of the investigation team Anatoly Yablokov, were listed among the accused and members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B) led by Stalin signed the decision of 5 March 1940 on mass execution of Polish citizens, Of course, the top of the NKVD, in charge of executions. This conclusion of the investigation and a circle of defendants did not accept the Russian leadership. It was decided to take the time and go on the investigation. Around the same time there was a rumor that it will tighten up until they die back rows by the NKVD, were directly involved in the execution and burial of bodies of executed in Katyn, copper and Pjatihatki.

And now, September 21, 2004 the Chief Military Prosecutor Russia made a decision to close the investigation « Katyn case » for the death of the guilty. And surprisingly, the range of the accused did not include nor Stalin, nor the members of the Politburo, and was limited to only a few senior officials NKVD1Postanovlenie to dismiss the case is still listed secret, but leaked reports, the defendants appear only four of Beria, Vsevolod Merkulov, Bogdan Kobulovand Leonid Bashtakov. That is, the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, sent a letter to the Politburo of the proposal to the massacre of Polish citizens, and members of a specially created three that made the extrajudicial execution of sentences .. And their wine was classified only as « abuse of power », which had serious consequences.But worse, the public was informed about the decision very late – in March 2005. In this case, contrary to Russian law, declared that the decision to dismiss the case, which contained the main findings – a secret and can not be made public. So the Chief Military Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, in fact, rose to the position of concealer Stalin’s crimes.

The position of silence and cover-up results of the investigation, « Katyn case » under the guise of state secrets is a violation of Russian legislation. Article 7 of the Federal Law « On State Secrets » just says can not be classified as secret information « about violations of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen » and « violation of the law by public authorities and their officials. » Hiding the prosecution investigation results « Katyn case » – a fact unprecedented, but in the current Russian political climate – no wonder. While in 2010, after the Smolensk disaster, there was a faint hope that the Kremlin will review the position and take steps to resolve the issue of Katyn.

The question arises: what prevents open to all decision of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s « Katyn case »? That this may turn out, if it happens? One can easily guess that happens international embarrassment. Become apparent full legal incapacity and helplessness of this document. After all, what was to find out the investigation:

– Procedurally determine the full nominal composition victims of the shooting;

– Procedurally determine the full composition of the guilty – as the initiators of the crime and its perpetrators of all ranks;

– To establish full legal qualification of the crime in accordance with Russian and international prava2Guryanov AE »Katyn problem » in modern Russia / / Novaya Gazeta. October 30. 2010. Number 97 ..

The result of the investigation is far from an honest answer to all these questions. Decision to close the « Katyn case » looks like a blasphemy, indicating prosecutors trying to get away from being charged with the crime the higher leadership of the USSR, and in general as an attempt to cover up or « grease » the whole thing. Here is why. First, given the incorrect qualification of the Katyn crime only as abuses of power by officials, not as a war crime. Second, artificially narrowed the circle of those responsible – charges derived from Stalin and the Politburo members, approved the massacre. Third, a clear visible defect investigation, because it was not a complete list of identified victims, which should always be done for completion of the investigation, and to allow them to close reabilitatsii3Rachinsky Ya « Katyn », it is necessary to open / / Novaya Gazeta. 2010. November 8 ..

In a place so in Poland over Katyn, in recent years there are unreasonably high expectations. This is no reasoned optimism. Fueled this sentiment and generously lavished promises of the Kremlin, not today tomorrow materials « Katyn case » will be declassified and transferred to Poland, and the Poles were shot will be rehabilitated. After the death of Polish President Kaczynski and many thought. In April 2010, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said with conviction: « I sincerely believe that the empathy of the two nations on the tragedy in Smolensk will be a turning point in overcoming common tragic past, » and pledged that Moscow « is prepared Warsaw transfer additional materials on Katyn, which has not been the Polish side « 4Izvestiya. 2010. April 30 ..

Transfer of the first 67 volumes of the 183-volume case was held in Moscow in May 2010 during the visit of the Acting President of Poland Komorowski. Were later prepared and given to the volume of the case, which had marked « for official use only. » But then it all seriously stalled and business volume, equipped with « classified », did not pass. Are still not passed 35 volumes of the « Katyn case » 5Katynsky exam / / Vedomosti. 2012. April 17 ..Moreover, in April 2012, Moscow by the Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky made it clear that nothing is going to pass the Poles, « because the commission to declassify and was no decision to lift the neck » 6Moskva gave Warsaw almost all volumes of Katyn case ( Press Conference in S. Fridinsky Itar-Tass) / / Site of the « United Russia»: -katyni /.

The actions of the Russian side was originally a serious flaw. After all, it is logical to complete the transfer of any investigation of the cases begin with the outcome, which accumulates all the major findings of the investigation and concludes the case. Here everything is turned inside out. Gave the most harmless and insignificant volumes of transmission and brought all the key materials. Is this legal and civilized approach?

It turns out that the most important and legally significant material still unknown to the Polish side. Probably lies in the important task of the Russian leadership, not to give in Poland legally relevant and have probative documents, and to accept responsibility for the Katyn Massacre in name only. What is the status on this subject adopted declarations? TASS published in print April 14, 1990, and the statement of the State Duma of the Russian Federation dated 26 November 2010, and with it, and evaluate the Katyn crime, expressed in the recent statements of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin – certainly are official documents and have political importance. But all of these documents are not suitable for the court in the case of the necessity of proof of guilt of those who took the decision to execute, and when considering the rehabilitation of the victims of this crime.

Russia’s population is so used (and accustomed authority) to prudent cynicism in international relations, which is devoid of even the slightest understanding of the importance and value of goodwill. That is experiencing a persistent distrust for selfless and noble gesture on the part of the surrounding states. And even worse, with bewilderment and disapproval accepts any acquiescence of his government in international affairs. As if it is a sign of weakness and even betrayal of the interests of the country. This ideology has grown a new constellation of Russian state bureaucracy. They have occupied the building of the presidential administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, where decisions about foreign policy initiatives, produced the country’s course. According to their logic, the admission of guilt for the Katyn crime with the sustained claims to Russia from Poland, and then the other neighboring states that have something to show as historical grievances. Here, says the Kremlin bureaucracy vigilant, just give a reason, and they immediately go to ruin our country claims.

Support for this position of the Russian leadership population completely assured. The people do not believe in the good intentions or their own government, or neighbors. Even their own government Russians perceive as hostile to them strength. If tomorrow the print in the newspapers that regularly raises the issue of Poland Katyn only to bring down the price of Russian gas – most Russians would believe immediately and unconditionally. For them, this government’s behavior is understandable and familiar. They are constantly faced with this in their own country, when the state neglects the fate of ordinary people, capitalizing on their patriotic feelings.

In the hearts of Russian statesmen and patriots today are fighting two opposing trends. On the one hand, the absolute rejection of any condemnation of the Soviet experience and the socialist past and dislike of the modern Russian political system and its leaders. On the other – hot support any initiative of President Putin aimed at confrontation and military confrontation with the West. And I must say, the Russian leadership skillfully uses this contradiction.

In the « Katyn case » the Kremlin is playing a double game. For external release political declarations and the fault of Stalin’s leadership in the massacre of Polish citizens in 1940. And the country indulges nostalgic idealization of the socialist past and prevents proliferating speculation about that, they say, all is not clear in the story of the crime, and suddenly all the Germans are guilty? Footy shaft of books and articles that cast doubt on the guilt of Stalin and the NKVD Katyn Massacre and to shift responsibility to the Germans – has reached unprecedented heights. If previously had confined few marginal publications, over the past two years, articles, sowing doubt in the mind, there were a very respectable and having wide circulation and audience publications – journal « Expert » 7Internet publishing: Prudnikova E. Boring truth of Katyn / / Expert. 2012. April 17., The newspaper « Komsomolskaya Pravda » 8Zhukov Yu executions in Katyn – doubts remain / / Komsomolskaya Pravda. 2011. March 23. « Krasnaya Zvezda » 9Internet publishing: Obolensky K. Injury Katyn / / Red Star. 2012. 17, April 24. 10, 17, May 24. « Moskovskaya Pravda » 10Kotlyar E. Katyn – the bitterness of my soul / / Moscow truth. 2010. May 27 .. Their authors are willing to write about the « wounds », and the « bitterness of soul » to convince the reader in his compassion to the families of those killed Poles, but then pulled out into the light and repeat the various fakes. Gradually, the Russian population is confusing and he inspired the idea that foreign policy admission of guilt is not so important, and the whole truth in this matter will never be known …

I must say that for stable doubt the stage was set for a long time. The post-war period and until 1990 the Soviet population instills the idea that the Poles at Katyn shot by the Germans. This was done through direct and promotional claims, and with a sly substitution of the subject. It is no accident of 619 burned during the German occupation of Belarus villages was selected a small village near Minsk Khatyn device there memorial. Consonance of names was intended to supplant the notion of « Katyn » and all that it stood for. In 1969, the memorial was opened in Khatyn and became an obligatory place to visit for a patriotic tourism. In the advertising business a trick called « confusingly similar to. » Such substitution object sustain this in the mass consciousness of the Soviet people of German guilt for the massacre in Katyn Khatyn, on a subconscious level.

Another no less effective counter-propaganda line of the Kremlin – the artificial linking theme of the tragic history of the Katyn stay captured Red Army prisoners in Poland in 1920, where many of them died from the harsh conditions and epidemics. Here observed substitution of concepts, and outright falsification, up to overestimate the number of deaths in a few times. Russian government officials in public statements do both. Thus, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of Russia, Mikhail Margelov indignantly writes in a major newspaper: « We are forced to repent for Stalin, why Poland does not repent for Pilsudski, in which, according to Russian historians, were shot and tortured to 80,000 Red ? And no apologies from Warsaw! « 11. That’s it, simple and easy to understand – « shot and tortured! » So, some Russian historians strongly typed Margelov misleading.

The reason is simple. Historical science in Russia is now ready to serve ideological power. Without any evidence, historians can easily attributed to the Soviet leadership model 1940 motive of revenge for the Polish Red Army prisoners of 1920. Such unproven scheme gets even college textbooks. For example, in being subject to serious scientific criticism textbook for students of the History Department of Moscow State University makes it clear that « Katyn » – a kind of « reverse crime » Stalinist regime « 12Barsenkov AS, AI Vdovin History of Russia. 1917-2009. 3rd ed. Moscow, 2010. 273 S. .. Meanwhile, what were the motives of Stalin, you can see the reasoning, clearly set out in the document of the NKVD (Beria’s letter number 794 / B from March 1940), and the question of future executions.In this letter, Beria puts special emphasis on the class composition of the shot to be Polish citizens (officers, bureaucrats, industrialists, landowners), and noted that « they are all hardened, incorrigible enemies of Soviet power » and are waiting for the release, « to have the opportunity to be actively involved in the fight against Soviet power « 13Katyn. Prisoners of undeclared war. Documents and Materials / under. Ed. RG Pikhoya, A. Geyshtora, comp. NS Lebedev, NA Petrosova, B. Voschinsky, V. Matersky. Moscow, 1997. Pp. 385-388 .. That is at the heart of this – a clear class approach, which was determined during the repression of the so-called « Kulak operation » of the NKVD in 1937-1938. In this sense, « Katyn » was the same kind of « social cleansing » and the logical extension of the Great Terror of 1937, distributed in 1939-1941. on the population of the Soviet Union occupied Polish territories in order to destroy the « class alien » people and the suppression of any possible resistance to Sovietization.

Did Stalin of those killed in 1920 in Poland, Red Army? Of course, only three years before, and not so much about those who died and those who have had the misfortune to go back to the USSR from captivity. Then, in 1937, as part of the « Polish operation » NKVD repression was unleashed on all « suspicious for Polish espionage » and among them were former Red Army passed through the Polish lagerya14Petrov NV, AB Roginsky « Polish operation » NKVD 1937-1938. / / Historical collections of « Memorial ». No. 1 (« The repressions against Poles and Polish citizens »).Moscow, 1997. Pp. 27 .. The question is, why would it Stalin revenge for Poles caught in Polish captured Soviet soldiers, when in 1937 the Soviet Union finished off those who survived and came back?

Today the history of Russia’s decision « Katyn issue » and the current state of affairs – a very important indicator. It is an indicator of maturity of the Russian state system, showing how it is democratic, transparent, and to what extent is based on the law. It is an indicator of civil society in Russia, which indicates how well public organizations can fight for the declassification of materials « Katyn case » and to seek recovery of victims. This indicator wealthy Russian historical science, where you can see how and in what manner a historical community gives and explains this event in the works and publications. Alas, this test of maturity, openness, adherence to the law and scientific consistency of Russia failed.

Today the Kremlin in an unenviable situation. Whatever action taken – loss. Open a case file number 159 – and all will become clear legal and ideological feebleness of the Russian state and its inability and the inability to overcome the bitter legacy of totalitarianism. Hide and close the remaining 35 volumes nerassekrechennymi summarizing the case and the decision to refuse to rehabilitate shot in 1940, Polish citizens – and it becomes obvious confrontational, illegal and anti-European course of development of modern Russia. And while the Kremlin at a crossroads. Balance between these two and the dreams of the noise around the Katyn itself somehow faded.Whether those dreams come true? Hardly.

Katyn issue and its solution are today not only in the plane of the Russian-Polish relations. Now it is the relationship between Russia and Europe, and the Kremlin’s willingness to make a concrete step in to put an end to the « Katyn case » would mean willingness to draw a legal line under the Soviet past. Well, by and large determine the choice of priorities and direction of the further political development.

Russia Continues To Obscure Facts In The Raoul Wallenberg Case

13-04-2013, by S. Berger and Vadim Birstein, ed. NewsMill

Russian officials have argued for decades that because Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was never formally charged with a crime while in Soviet captivity, no investigation file would have been created for him.  This claim is simply untrue, as newly released documents from the Central Archive of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) clearly show. So why would Russian archivists want to hide this fact even today?

Read more > NewsMill

Russia’s Constitutional Court Ruling may provide new Impetus in the Continuing Search for Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate

09-03-2013, by S. Berger and V. Birstein,

A few weeks ago, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the 30 year secrecy rule governing the classification of important historical records had expired in most cases and that researchers should be granted access to these collections. While the ruling allows for numerous exceptions, it nevertheless established an important precedent, with important implications also for the Raoul Wallenberg case. Are Swedish officials poised to take advantage of the opening? If last year’s Wallenberg centennial celebration is any indication, such hopes are dim.

The last celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth are now concluded and it is perhaps time to reflect on one aspect that was curiously missing from the twelve months long commemoration: Any measurable progress on the question of Wallenberg’s still unresolved fate.

We know that Raoul Wallenberg never returned from Soviet captivity after his arrest by Soviet forces in Budapest in January 1945, so it can be assumed that he met his demise at some point shortly after July 17, 1947, when his trail in Moscow prisons grows cold.

Or did he? Even high-ranking Russian archivists from the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) emphasize that important questions remain. As head of the FSB Directorate of the Registration and Archival Collections, Lt-Gen. Vasily S. Khristoforov wrote in the introduction to a recent book about Wallenberg’s cellmate, the German diplomat Willy Rödel, the « when and how Raoul Wallenberg died » remains to be determined.

Swedish officials have hailed this statement as a sign of progress in the search for Raoul Wallenberg. They are overlooking that the Russian side has made similar statements before, both in the Russian Working Group Report released in 2001 and in Mr. Khristoforov’s interesting article about Raoul Wallenberg published in the Russian newspaper « Vremya Novostei » in 2009. Each time these pronouncements were followed by very little meaningful action and continued Russian stonewalling on the question of archival access.

Regarding Swedish efforts in the Wallenberg question, they too have not always run on all cylinders. Instead, the general impression has prevailed for decades that Sweden has never truly mobilized all forces on Raoul Wallenberg’s behalf. Unfortunately, the just concluded Wallenberg year has done little to disperse that notion.

On the positive side, in January 2012, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt asked Ambassador Hans Magnusson to conduct a formal review of the Wallenberg case, to see if any new information was available and, if so, what steps could be taken to follow it up. The appointment was more than welcome, coming after months of requests from researchers for the Swedish government to take a more active role in helping them gain access to Russian archival collections, especially those of the Russian intelligence services.

As former Chairman of the Swedish side of a joint Swedish-Russian Working Group that had conducted a lengthy official investigation of the Wallenberg case from 1991-2001, Ambassador Magnusson possesses a deep expertise in the Wallenberg question. Unfortunately, far from issuing a determined call to action, both he and Carl Bildt voiced pessimism from the start that the new review would yield any significant progress. This, if anything, surely signaled Moscow not to expect much beyond the already familiar.

Not surprisingly, the stated pessimism proved correct. Ambassador Magnusson’s report, released in December 2012, in effect offers researchers nothing new or truly helpful.

The Russians will still not allow direct access to key archival collections, such as the investigative materials of Willy Rödel and other prisoners who had direct contact with Raoul Wallenberg in Soviet captivity. They will still not allow access to the file of the former NKGB agent in Budapest in 1944/45 M. P. Kutuzov-Tolstoy, and other important foreign intelligence documents that could provide information about Stalin’s reasons to order Raoul Wallenberg’s arrest in January 1945 and the failure to release him. And they still will not provide any documentation about an as yet unidentified « Prisoner No. 7 » from Lubyanka’s interrogation registers (who may have been Raoul Wallenberg).

Russian officials did finally release previously classified diplomatic cables from 1945-1947 in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unfortunately, this release remained the one positive exception in an otherwise vast sea of denials.

Ambassador Magnusson’s report does not seriously protest these restrictions. He fails to mention, for example, that researchers are still waiting to receive any formal confirmation that a « Prisoner No. 7 » was indeed interrogated on July 23, 1947 in Lubyanka. In fact, even Hans Magnusson himself, in his formal role as an official Swedish representative charged with investigating the Raoul Wallenberg case, was not allowed to verify the information and was denied access to the registers on his recent visits to Moscow. (This although he had been allowed to see the lists in 1991. At the time he apparently did not notice any entry for a « Prisoner No. 7) All we therefore currently have is FSB’s statement from November 2009 that such an interrogation occurred and that the prisoner was « with great likelihood » Raoul Wallenberg. That is both an astounding and sorry state of affairs three years after the information was first released by the FSB Central Archive. Even more disturbing is the fact that Swedish officials seem resigned to accept this failure without significant protest.

Interestingly, Russian archivists are quite able to identify an earlier « Prisoner No. 7 » held in Luybanka prison in 1945 as « a Russian national. » The identification apparently was made with the help of as yet unspecified « correspondence records.” Direct requests from researchers to Ambassador Magnusson to demand the precise identification of these records from Russian archivists, to see if the methodology could be applied to also identify « Prisoner No. 7 » from 1947, have yielded no result.

Both Russian and Swedish officials have blamed Russian secrecy laws for the failure to provide adequate access for researchers. But so far, Swedish officials have not forcefully pressed the issue. As Ambassador Magnusson remarks in his report, a review of Mikhail P. Kutuzov-Tolstoy’s file , for example, would most likely not yield anything « sensational » and would provide information « only up to January 1945. » A most curious opinion, after stressing at the beginning of his report that learning the reasons for Raoul Wallenberg’s arrest remains a « central priority of the Wallenberg investigation. »

Needless to say, it is not enough for Swedish officials to speculate about the content of files they have not seen. The rules of scholarly research clearly require that researchers are allowed to make proper assessments for themselves, especially for such a vital file. To his credit, Ambassador Magnusson does stress elsewhere in his report that in order to « eliminate any lingering doubts it would be best to give increased access to independent researchers ».
And so it continues – the FSB Central Archive recently published a book containing the investigative material of Wallenberg’s cellmate Willy Rödel that they had claimed for decades did not exist. So far, FSB archivists have refused access to the documentation itself and also have not provided further information to researchers about the file in which the papers were discovered. Again, there has been no measurable protest from Swedish officials and no progress on the request for direct review of the documents by researchers.
A suggestion to form a small new international research group that in close cooperation with Russian experts would target the core questions remaining in the Raoul Wallenberg case and that should be given special authority to review essential files in Russian archives was not pursued further.

Instead, one of Ambassador Magnusson’s recommendations is to encourage more Russian researchers in the search for answers. This may hearten Russian officials, yet Russian researchers undoubtedly will quickly hit the same walls and restrictions international researchers have met (not to mention the difficulties they face in light of new Russia legislation that brands any Russian national cooperating with foreigners as « a foreign agent ») In spite of his stated wish to involve more Russian experts to clarify the unsolved questions of the Wallenberg case, Mr. Magnusson omitted from his report the call by the Co-Director of the Russian human rights organization ‘Memorial’, Dr. Nikita Petrov, for the launch of a formal criminal investigation of Wallenberg’s disappearance and death in Russia.

Another official Swedish recommendation is for intensifying historical, archival research — yes, precisely what researchers have asked for years. How can this occur, however, when the most important collections remain off limits?

To check off this point on the list Carl Bildt in December 2012 addressed a formal letter to his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, asking for Russian cooperation in the area of archival access. Lavrov’s answer came back before the ink on Bildt’s letter was even dry: Russia certainly supports the search for answers, he wrote, but of course only in compliance with « applicable Russian secrecy laws. » And with that, the by now familiar circle of routine Swedish requests and standard Russian replies closed once more for 2012. The result is that researchers find themselves exactly where they were before, on the outside looking in, and once again restricted to a tedious question and answer format in their exchange with Russian archivists.

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Bildt will press Mr. Lavrov on the ruling issud just last month by Russia’s Constitutional Court to allow Nikita Petrov to review collections of the Soviet Security Service’s operations in post war Germany from 1948-1953. The Court agreed with Petrov’s argument that the normal term of secrecy governing these record had expired. While the opening granted by the court is decidedly small – it also upheld many exceptions to the 30 year declassifcation rule – the decision sets an important precedent for similar requests, including those currently pending in the Raoul Wallenberg case.

Sweden currently does not seem inclined to take advantage of this opening. Ambassador Magnusson’s effort is laudable, but this past year has brought no change of the established Swedish approach to the question of Wallenberg’s fate. This approach has remained strikingly narrow, especially when it comes to the many pressing background questions in the Wallenberg case. In fact, both Russian and Swedish officials have shown a noticeable reluctance to delve too deeply into this important area. In that sense, neither side has been willing to maximize the search for the truth. Swedish officials instead appear content to move in circles and to accept the Russian position that few meaningful options exist to make progress in the issue.

And so the momentary ripples on the deep, wide pond that is the Raoul Wallenberg case are dissipating and the many unsolved questions surrounding Wallenberg’s fate loom as large as ever.