Letter to the Canadian Minister Cotler

04-12-2005 , by David Matas, Susanne Berger, Max Grunberg, Louise von Dardel, Marie Dupuy

To whom it may concern,

It is the view of the signatories to this letter that Canada should pursue an investigation into the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. This letter explains and justifies this view first indicating what questions remain to be answered, second suggesting how they could be answered, third explaining why Canada should be pursuing the investigation and fourth giving specifics on what Canada should do.

I. Unanswered questions
In 2001, after a ten year investigation, the Swedish-Russian Working Group on the Fate of Raoul Wallenberg, presented two separate reports, one from the Swedish side, one from the Russian. In addition, four independent consultants to the Swedish-Russian Working Group – Dr. Marvin Makinen with Ari Kaplan, Susan Mesinai, and Susanne Berger -issued reports of their research.-

The official Russian position as stated in its report is that Raoul Wallenberg was killed in 1947, without offering any documentary or other evidence in support of this claim. Russian officials acknowledge that additional documentation may exist in the case in Russian archives. However, they argue, these would most likely not shed any additional light on the question of Raoul Wallenberg’s fate. Instead, the circumstantial evidence which exists today is supposedly so strong that it allows no other conclusion that Raoul Wallenberg was executed.

A. Swedish questions
The Swedish side argues that since proof beyond reasonable doubt in the question could not be established, the investigation into what happened to Raoul Wallenberg in Soviet captivity needs to continue. Its report outlines some of the difficulties Swedish officials and researchers encountered in Russian archives. Most importantly, access to many essential records was not granted. As an appendix to its report, the Swedish side formulated seventeen questions which need to be answered in full before any binding conclusions concerning Raoul Wallenberg’s fate could be drawn. This appendix stated:-

« Outstanding unresolved matters –
As the above report shows, the working group has not succeeded in finding satisfactory answers to a large number of questions because insufficient basic data has been recovered. Our arguments are largely based on hypotheses. To make it easier in the future, it would be invaluable to obtain complete answers to the following questions.

1. Who took the decision to arrest Raoul Wallenberg and send him to Moscow, and exactly when was this decision taken?-

2. What were the reasons for this decision and for Raoul Wallenberg’s being detained in prison? Did the reasons for this alter with the passing of time?-

3. Did the Soviet side try to indicate that they were interested in an exchange?-

4. What were the reasons for indifferent attitude shown by those in charge of Swedish foreign policy to the Wallenberg case, primarily between 1945-1947?-

5. What happened on 17 July 1947? If Raoul Wallenberg died, how did it happen? If he was executed, who took the decision? And in that case, where is he buried? If he was held in isolation, where are the relevant papers?-

6. When and where was the Smoltsov report found, and by whom?-

7. How did the report come to be written?-

8. What was in the letter Abakumov wrote to Molotov on 17 July 1947? Where is the letter?-

9. Did Roedel die of natural causes in the autumn of 1947, and what are the circumstances relating to Langfelder’s alleged death in March 1948?-

10. Was Raoul Wallenberg in Stockholm in the autumn of 1944? Did he talk then to Mme Kollontay?-

11. If, as emerged from our interviews, Raoul Wallenberg’s belongings were kept in a file in the care of a KGB archive official during the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s, surely it is very unlikely that they would be found on a shelf in a basement in 1989? What happened to Raoul Wallenberg’s other possessions?-

12. Where are the papers relating to the discussion in 1956 between Vladimirov, the Soviet diplomat and KGB official, and Frey, the Finnish diplomat?-

13. Why were so few internal KGB papers preserved, even from the 1956-57 period? When and on whose orders were the papers destroyed?-

14. What did Shiryagin from Charkov write in his letter in the spring of 1956 that caused the MID to worry about the information spreading? Where can this information be found today?-

15. Exactly when were the references to Raoul Wallenberg and Langfelder blotted out in the KGB journals?-

16. Why did the Soviet Union not give a completely honest reply in 1957?-

17. As long as there is no fully reliable proof of what happened to Raoul Wallenberg, the questions relating to the testimony of a number of witnesses must be kept up-to-date and satisfactory explanations obtained. This is particularly valid for Vladimir Prison and the issues concerning the empty cells. »-

B. Expert questions-
Independent consultants to the Swedish-Russian Working Group Dr. Marvin W. Makinen, Susan E. Mesinai, Susanne Berger, and Ari D. Kaplan in May 2005 issued a separate list of very specific research questions which need to be addressed.-

« 1. If Raoul Wallenberg was alive after 1947, he would most likely have become a secret prisoner in isolation. Such prisoners were assigned either a false identity or a number. Who were the convicted prisoners 14, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 who were sentenced by Special Tribunal (OSO) between the Spring of 1947 and May 1948 and in what isolation prisons were they placed after their departure from Moscow? Please make their files available to researchers. –

2. Who were the foreign prisoners in solitary confinement in 1960 in Korpus 2 of the Vladimir Prison described by Varvara Ivanovna Larina and Aleksandr Timofeiyevich Kukin, former employees of the prison; and in 1970 by Josip Terelya, a former prisoner, also in Korpus 2 of the Vladimir Prison? –

3. In 1956 a Soviet citizen by the name of Shiryagin wrote to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claiming to have important information about Raoul Wallenberg. Why did the Foreign Ministry request the KGB to silence Shiryagin on this issue? Where is the letter and what are its contents? –

4. Who was Sandor Katona and why was he transferred as a prisoner with Wallenberg’s assistant in Budapest, Vilmos Langfelder, from the Lefortovo Prison to the Lubianka Prison on July 22, 1947? What are the dates of Katona s imprisonment and where is the documentation related to his case? –

5. The Soviet and Russian governments claim that Wallenberg died in 1947. Yet the currency in his possession at the time of arrest was not confiscated within six months of his alleged death, as stipulated by Soviet prison regulation at that time, but was returned to the family in 1989. Why was the currency not confiscated but still available to be returned? Also, Soviet authorities in 1989 may not have returned the original bills taken from Raoul Wallenberg, but may simply have issued authentic World War II currency to reimburse Wallenbergs family. In that case, how did Soviet authorities know what amount they should return? A receipt stating the precise amount taken from Wallenberg should have been placed in his prisoner file when he arrived in prison. Does this mean that this receipt and possibly Raoul Wallenbergs personal or investigative files were available in 1989? –

6. What possessions did Raoul Wallenberg take with him from the Lefortovo Prison to the Lubianka Prison in March 1947? The relevant entry in the official registry of possessions of prisoners in the Lubianka Prison remains censored. When did this censorship occur? –

7. Zigurds Kruminsh, the former cellmate of Francis Gary Powers and of Marvin W. Makinen in the Vladimir Prison, stated that he met a Swedish prisoner in Vladimir. List all of Kruminshs cellmates in the Vladimir Prison, particularly those in Korpus 1 at the time the Gromyko Memorandum was released in February 1957. –

8. To ensure that other Swedish prisoners could not be a source of confusion with Raoul Wallenberg, please provide a list of all Swedish nationals imprisoned in the Soviet Union, their personal data, with dates of incarceration in prisons, labour camps, and psychiatric hospitals. –

9. Former Soviet Intelligence official Igor Prelin and other former Soviet officials have repeatedly alluded to information that they claim originates directly from the interrogations of Raoul Wallenberg’s assistant, Vilmos Langfelder. Where are these interrogation records and why have they not been shared with Swedish officials? In a reply to the Hungarian government in 1957 the Soviet government claimed that Langfelder had died in March 1948. What were the circumstances of his death? –

10. The Soviet and Russian governments claim that Raoul Wallenberg died in the Lubianka Prison from myocardial infarct on July 17, 1947. The report was supposedly written by A. Smoltsov, head of the Lubianka Medical Services. However, it is known that as of March 21, 1947 Smoltsov was on medical leave because of illness. This information was given by Smoltsovs son, whom Swedish officials were not allowed to interview. What are the precise dates and circumstances of Smoltsovs illness and employment in 1947? –

11. While the American Esav I. Oggins was in a Moscow prison, the head of MGB, Viktor Abakumov, suggested to Stalin in May 1947 that the U.S. be informed that Oggins had died of tuberculosis in Norilsk. However, researchers learned that Oggins was actually transferred from Moscow in late 1946, and died in the Internal Prison in Penza. Soviet and Russian officials have repeatedly pointed to similarities between the Oggins and Wallenberg cases. Therefore, please provide all proof of transport of Oggins from Moscow to Penza, including all relevant Convoy Troop records. Also, provide the correct cause and date of death. –

12. In 1961 Dr. Nanna Svartz of Sweden reported that her Russian colleague Dr. A. L. Myasnikov revealed to her during a meeting that he had direct knowledge of Raoul Wallenbergs presence in the Soviet Union. A second physician, Dr. Grigory Danishevsky, was also present during part of the conversation. Please provide all reports of Drs. Myasnikov and Danishevsky to Soviet authorities about their encounter with Dr. Svartz. In May 1965 the Central Committee of the CPSU approved an official reply to be given to Dr. Svartz. The notations on the document show that the Myasnikov/Svartz issue was also discussed by a full session of the Politburo. Disclose the information that is contained in the documentation that was preparatory to the meetings of the Central Committee and the Politburo. –

13. The Russian government continues to restrict direct access to many files and archival collections that are known to exist and are directly relevant to the investigation of Wallenbergs fate. This includes the investigative and personal files of several prisoners known to be connected with the Wallenberg case; administrative records and special registries of Soviet Ministries and prisons; special papers of the highest decision-making level of the Soviet government, i.e. the Politburo and the Central Committee of the CPSU; and records from Russian intelligence services, including the Foreign and Military Intelligence Archives, concerning details of Raoul Wallenbergs activities in Hungary and the circumstances of his arrest. Direct access to these and other records is essential if the investigation into Raoul Wallenbergs disappearance is to comply with accepted standards of a formal historical inquiry. » –

II. How to answer the questions-
Since 2001, with the partial exception of Swedish question Number 4, not one of these most pressing questions has been satisfactorily answered. Yet, the possibility that Raoul Wallenberg’s fate is not known in Russia is minimal. So is the chance that all critical documentation in the question has been destroyed. Most experts agree that Russia today holds highly pertinent records about the Raoul Wallenberg case in Russian Foreign and Military Intelligence archives, including the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russian State Military Archives and the Russian Security Services; the Central Committee and Communist Party Archives; the Presidential Archives as well as in special collections, such a Stalin’s personal papers. –

Over the years, Anatoly Prokopienko, former head of the Special Archives and one of the leading archivist of the former Soviet Union, has repeatedly gone on record to state that the failure to discover Raoul Wallenberg’s fate is due less to a lack of documentation but to Russia’s refusal to provide adequate access to these relevant materials. In numerous interviews Prokopienko has emphasized that the decisive condition for a resolution of the Wallenberg case is –
« the political will of the highest leadership in Russia. » [« Raoul Wallennberg – Retter und Opfer », documentary by Klaus Dexel, 2005. Interview with Anatoly Prokopienko]-

One of the most glaring failures is Russia’s refusal to permit researchers to review the file of known NKGB agent in Budapest Mikhail Tolstoy-Kutusov who extensively reported on Raoul Wallenberg’s activities to Moscow. This file alone could produce valuable clues as to how Wallenberg’s case was perceived and handled in the Soviet system. –

There are other examples: While the Russian side allowed limited review of prisoner files, it has not allowed any access or study of the investigative files of some of these prisoners. These include the files of Raoul Wallenberg’s cellmates and other individuals connected to the case. Chief among them are Wallenberg’s fellow prisoners Gustav Richter and Willi Rüdel, as well as Vilmos Langfelder, Raoul Wallenberg’s colleague who was arrested with him in Budapest. So far, the Russians have not released any information whatsoever about Sandor Katona who was held together with Langfelder in the critical time of July 1947. The information contained in his and other investigative files could provide critical information about the status of both Langfelder’s and Wallenberg’s case at that time. –

There are strong indications that at least part of Raoul Wallenberg’s personal file is available in Moscow. This idea appears to be supported by some of the items among Wallenberg’s personal belongings which were returned to his family in October 1989. These consisted, among other things, of large amounts of foreign currencies, his diplomatic passport and his prisoner registration card. As stated by the Swedish Working Group report, Russian claims that these items were discovered by chance in a sealed package on a shelf in the FSB archive seem hardly credible. The existence of the currency in particular raises questions. Once a prisoner died, under official Soviet administrative rules any currency was permanently confiscated by the Soviet State within six months of his death. If Raoul Wallenberg indeed died in 1947, why then was his currency not confiscated? [see Swedish Working Group Report, p. 324, Appendix 44, excerpt from Susan Mesinai’s report « Strict Isolation and the Numbering of Prisoners. »]-

Just as importantly, Russia has so far failed to disclose the identity of several so-called numbered prisoners who were among the most secret in the Soviet prison system, nor has it provided information about specific prisoners held in severe isolation in Vladimir prison, where many of the most important secret foreign prisoners were incarcerated. –

Furthermore, only a very limited review of so-called secondary documentation pertaining to the Raoul Wallenberg case has taken place. This includes in particular prisoners’ transport and medical records. In fact, there has only been the most rudimentary effort of studying the numerous facilities of punitive medicine where many important political prisoners were held captive in the Soviet system. –

Another Swedish Commission in 2003 sharply criticised the investigation conducted by the Russian side, concluding that its 2001 report –
« appears to be an attempt to transfer as much blame as possible to Swedish authorities for Wallenberg’s alleged death in the Soviet Union rather than a contribution to determine the truth about Raoul Wallenberg’s tragic fate. » [« A Diplomatic Failure: Raoul Wallenberg and the Swedish Foreign Political Leadership », SOU 2003:18, p.89]-

Access to original documentation was severely limited, and as a result it was impossible to verify the information provided by the Russian side or to view documentation in context. Such comparison is an essential part of any historical investigation deserving of the name. There are countless examples where Swedish officials and researchers were limited to the use of photocopies to study documents. Numerous questions have arisen which can only be solved if access to the original material is granted. In some cases, it appears that the Russian side obtained information from files it has adamantly denied possessing for years. –

In addition, interviews with former high ranking Soviet officials were often conducted only by Russian representatives or in their presence. This may have limited the information these individuals were willing to provide. –

Future research needs to address three basic points: –
1. Systematic follow-up of the findings outlined in the Swedish Working Group report and the questions raised by the independent consultants.-
2. Obtaining direct access to original documentation in Russian archives and to collections which are known to exist but which the Russian side so far has refused to make accessible to qualified researchers.-
3. Seeking declassification of records pertaining to the Raoul Wallenberg case in other countries. Currently, much of the documentation which remains secret in archives around the world remains so due to bilateral agreements between countries. Aside from Russia and Sweden, the United States, Great Britain, Hungary and Israel are of special interest.-

Specifically, research in Russia needs to target four main areas:-
1. Isolator prisons, especially Vladimir prison-
2. Secret/isolated prisoners, especially numbered prisoners-
3. Medical and psychiatric facilities-
4. Specified, (as opposed to general), access to Russian intelligence and administrative records-

III. Why Canada should be involved-
A. A moral duty-
There is a moral duty to determine the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, to get at the truth about what happened to him, to follow every evidentiary lead to its conclusion, wherever that lead might take us. That duty rests not just on Russia, but on the whole global community.-

The Holocaust showed us the abyss of the human soul, the depths to which humanity could sink. The efforts of Raoul Wallenberg showed what one person could do in the face of tyranny. He demonstrated the heights that humanity could reach. The Holocaust has become the symbol of evil for this century. Raoul Wallenberg has become the symbol for good. What Raoul Wallenberg did he did for humanity. All of humanity owes its gratitude to him.-

Many, in the face of the Nazi killing machine, did nothing. They asked, what could we have done? The answer to that is: look at what Raoul Wallenberg did.-

Nazis viewed World War II as a war against the Jews. It was a one sided war which only the Nazis were fighting. The Jews did not know until it was too late that they were under attack; they were isolated from the rest of humanity, which, for the most part, offered no help. But Raoul Wallenberg helped. He fought the Nazi death machine. And he won.-

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing. Raoul Wallenberg showed us the opposite. He showed that all that was necessary for evil to be defeated is for the good to be active.-

The activity he showed must be an inspiration to us whenever evil is present, whenever governments attempt to crush humanity. But his work must first of all be an inspiration to us in fighting for him, in finding out, finally, what really happened to him.-

The Wallenberg file must not be just a matter of passive curiosity. It must be a matter of active concern. We must show that the investigation into his fate matters to us. The investigation into his fate must not only be done properly, be done thoroughly. It must be given the highest priority.-

Raoul Wallenberg research is a matter of urgency because his siblings Guy von Dardel and Nina Lagergren remain alive today. At some point, all files now in secret archives that shed light on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg will be disclosed. But if that disclosure is fifty or one hundred years from now, his immediate family members, those who knew him before he disappeared, will all be gone. We owe it to his family to expend every effort to determine his fate while they are still alive.-

Some of those responsible for Wallenberg’s fate and the coverup of what was done to him remain incontestably alive. Those responsible for his fate as well as those responsible for the coverup should be held to account. Indeed, it is quite possible that the fear of this being held to account is a reason why full disclosure of his fate is so difficult.
The murder of Raoul Wallenberg and the coverup of that murder, if he was murdered, is one of the great crimes of the twentieth century. Ideally, the perpetrators should be brought to justice. At the very least what they did should be exposed, while they are still alive, before the grim reaper removes any possibility of justice.-

Putting aside solving the mystery of the murder of Raoul Wallenberg, if he was killed, is killing him twice over. Saying that his murder does not matter is a way of saying that he does not matter. Ignoring the murder of Raoul Wallenberg means murdering his memory. In that murder we would all be complicit. If we are truly to honour and remember Raoul Wallenberg, we must not only remember his life. We must remember his death. However, we cannot remember what we do not know. Only by unlocking the mystery of his death can we truly honour his life.-

It would be far too late now to compensate Raoul Wallenberg’s family for what has been done to him. But we owe it to ourselves, to the glimpse he gave us of what we all could be, to do what we can even now to find out what happened to him.-

Wallenberg has been much honoured for his heroic efforts during those last six months of 1944. There are statues of him, memorials, buildings and parks named after him. He is the great hero of the twentieth century, a person who showed us what one individual could do in the face of evil. He is an honourary citizen of Israel, the United States and Canada. –

Wallenberg was much honoured, but little helped. It is an irony and a tragedy that he who helped so many was so little helped himself; that he who rescued so many was not himself rescued.-

B. A legal duty-
The United Nations Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [General Assembly Resolution 47/133 of 18 December 1992] applies to the case of Raoul Wallenberg and it has been violated. The Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1992 and Raoul Wallenberg disappeared long before that. Nonetheless, he remains a disappeared person to this day, and the Declaration applies to his case today.-

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances began its work in 1980, before the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. When it began its work it took within its mandate persons who had disappeared prior to the creation of the Working Group and indeed, persons who had disappeared and been found dead prior to the creation of the Working Group. The Working Group did not feel constrained to deal with only those cases of persons who had disappeared after the Working Group had been created [Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council, 26 January 1981, United Nations document E/CN/4/1435].-

If one examines the Declaration, virtually every provision, except for those about children and asylum applies to the case of Raoul Wallenberg. Furthermore, Russia is in violation of every one of those duties under the Declaration to which the Raoul Wallenberg case is relevant.-

To say that Russia is in violation of the Declaration does not necessarily mean that Russian officials are now actively hiding Raoul Wallenberg in their prison or hospital system. Inadequate investigation, a failure to release relevant documents, denying to the Wallenberg case the priority and attention it deserves can all amount to violations of the Declaration.-

The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance imposes duties on all states to investigate the fate of a disappeared person, not just on the state in whose territory the disappearance occurred. The Declaration imposes duties on Sweden and Canada as well as on Russia to account for the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. It provides that an investigation into the fate of a disappeared person should be able to be conducted for as long as the fate of the victim of the enforced disappearance remains unclarified [Article 13(6)]. Cutting off investigation into the fate of Raoul Wallenberg prematurely would violate this provision.-

Raoul Wallenberg had a Swedish diplomatic passport and had the rank of Legation Secretary to the Swedish Legation in Budapest. As such, he had internationally protected status. –

International law requires all states to protect persons with diplomatic and consular status. Their safety or security is not to be violated. Violation of the safety or security of a diplomatic or consul amounts to a crime at international law. It falls on every state to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes. The Canadian Criminal Code provides for the prosecution of those who commit an act outside Canada against the person of an internationally protected person if the perpetrator is present in Canada [Section 7(3)(c)]. –

C. A Canadian duty-
Raoul Wallenberg and Nelson Mandela are Canada’s only honourary citizens. Roland de Corneille, then a Liberal Member of Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence, and Guy Ricard, then a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Laval, in 1985 presented a private member’s bill proclaiming Raoul Wallenberg to be an honourary citizen of Canada. The bill passed unanimously the House of Commons on December 9, 1985 and the Senate on December 10, 1985.-

Nelson Mandela became an honourary citizen of Canada on November 19, 2001. Raoul Wallenberg was Canada’s first and for almost sixteen years its only honourary citizen.-

William Bauer, Head of the Canadian Delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, in September 1988 made a statement to the Conference calling for the case of Raoul Wallenberg to be resolved. He urged the Soviet Union to provide full information on his situation, and charged that this has never been done. He said: –
« few people will be satisfied until the evasions, the ambiguities and obfuscations surrounding his case are removed, once and for all. »-

A telex from the Canadian embassy in Stockholm to External Affairs in Ottawa dated October 25, 1989 stated: –
« on the basis of the compelling case built by the Raoul Wallenberg Association over the years, one can say with some certainty that Raoul Wallenberg did not die in Lubianka in 1947 as the Soviets claim. Hence the case is unresolved. The Soviets know that Raoul Wallenberg is an honourary Canadian citizen. They also know that Canada frequently champions humanitarian causes relating to the USSR. Thus to ignore the Raoul Wallenberg case now that it has been reopened could give inappropriate signals to the Soviets. » (We have converted the text from telex to discursive style.) –

The telex suggested that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who was about to visit the Soviet Union, and the senior officials travelling with him raise the Raoul Wallenberg case with their counterparts in the Soviet Union. This suggestion was taken up. A later telex from the Canadian embassy in Stockholm dated March 1, 1991 said –
« When Prime Minister Mulroney passed through Stockholm in November 1989 and met Prime Minister Carlsson, Mr. Mulroney raised the Wallenberg issue, underlining his honourary Canadian citizenship and said he would do what he could to help the related investigation in the USSR. The matter was raised with the then Foreign Minister Shevardnatze by the Secretary of State for External Affairs in Moscow the following week. » –

A House of Commons Briefing note dated May 30, 1990 from A.P. McLaine, Director-General, USSR and Eastern Europe Bureau, Department of External Affairs and International Trade states: –
« The Government of Canada has in the past made repeated representations to the Soviet authorities, citing dissatisfaction with the unsupported Soviet assertions concerning Wallenberg’s fate. »-

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada on September 5, 1996 announced that the Government would assist in defraying the cost of the research activities of David Matas to be conducted to determine the fate and whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg. The Minister said:-
« Canadians attach real importance to the extraordinary heroism of Mr. Wallenberg and the inspiration that it offers to champions of human rights who might despair over the huge obstacles they face. » –

David Matas released his report in September 1998. Its ultimate conclusion is that the fate of Raoul Wallenberg is knowable, but not yet known. The primary difficulty in determining the fate of Raoul Wallenberg is the inability of independent researchers to access Russian confidential archives, especially the KGB/FSB archives. As a follow up to the report, David Matas wrote to Minister Axworthy and then his successor the Honourable Bill Graham suggesting that Canadian government researchers who already have access to Russian secret archives for the purpose of war crimes research have their mandate expanded to encompass research on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.-

Minister Graham acted on the suggestion of David Matas and raised the matter with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov. In a letter to David Matas reporting on that contact Minister Graham referred to « Sweden’s natural right to take the leadership in this case ». As a result, David Matas wrote to Swedish Foreign Ministry. The ultimate conclusion of an exchange of correspondence was that Sweden declined the leadership Minister Graham had offered to Sweden and instead, deferred to and expressed appreciation for « whatever is being done in other countries, including Canada, to throw light on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. » –

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Sheila Copps announced in Parliament in June 2001 that Canada would have a national recognition of Raoul Wallenberg day on January 17 of every year. January 17, 1945 is the day Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets and disappeared into the gulag. At a reception following the Parliamentary announcement the Minister said that Canada must never forget the noble, exceptional efforts of this great man.-

There are other countries that have as legitimate an interest in the fate of Raoul Wallenberg as Canada does. This general interest in the fate of Raoul Wallenberg is not a justification for Canadian inaction. It is a justification for cooperating with other countries who would wish to join with Canada in the search for Raoul Wallenberg, and for informing these other countries of the results of Canadian efforts.-

IV. What Canada should do-
Given the fact that Foreign Minister Ivanov, in response to the contact from Minister Graham, offered no more than access to Russian Foreign Affairs archives, it would seem that further pursuit of this initiative will require higher level contacts. We suggest that Prime Minister Paul Martin contact Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to authorize the access of Canadian government designated researchers to Russian witnesses and closed archives to research the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.-

Canadian designated researchers should conduct research in Russian archives and locate and interview Russian witnesses on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg patterned on the research and interviewing currently undertaken by Canadian researchers in Russian archives for the purpose of war crimes prosecution. Canada has negotiated with Russia a Memorandum of Understanding to permit, for Canadian war crimes prosecution, direct Canadian access to archives, firsthand Canadian efforts to locate Russian witnesses, and in person Canadian interviewing of Russian witnesses. The Memorandum is attached to this letter. There should be a similar memorandum or an amendment to or interpretation of the existing one so that Canadians can pursue directly in Russia Raoul Wallenberg research. Canada can employ researchers and investigators who have gained experience through the war crimes effort with Russian archives and locating and interviewing of witnesses to conduct research in Russia on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.-

The history of war crimes research in the Russia which preceded the current Memorandum of Understanding reads much like the history of research into the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. Peter Kremer, a former head of the War Crimes Unit in the Department of Justice, reports:-
« From the start of the (war crimes ) project until July 30, 1990, 42 requests for assistance were sent to East Bloc countries and the USSR….Of the 42 requests, only 20 responses were received, 2 of which were negative and many of which contained limited information concerning the Canadian suspect. Normally, there was a time lag of at least six months and up to two years from the delivery of a request to the receipt of a response. Unofficial and official enquiries about the status of the requests did little to expedite responses. Access to archives in the USSR by Justice historians was restricted to authenticating documents for court purposes and research on cases before Canadian courts…..Twenty seven of these (42) requests for assistance were sent to the USSR. There were eleven responses…Because there was no way of evaluating the thoroughness of the methodology employed by the Soviet Procurator’s Office in identifying and tracing witnesses or locating relevant historical documentation, it was not possible to make a final assessment on the investigation. » John D. McCamus, Report to the Deputy Minister Concerning certain allegations of anti-Semitism, March 1998, pages 144, 145. –

What Peter Kremer said of war crimes research applies equally to Raoul Wallenberg research. Many requests for information about Raoul Wallenberg from Russian archivists go unanswered. Of those that are answered, the answers contain limited information. The time lag between a request for specific information relevant to the Raoul Wallenberg investigation and a response is at least several months and can be years. Enquiries about the status of the requests do little to expedite responses. Because there is no way of evaluating the thoroughness of the methodology employed by the Russian authorities in identifying and tracing witnesses or locating relevant historical documentation, it is not today possible to make a final assessment on the investigation on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.-

This is how Peter Kremer and the War Crimes Unit dealt with their problem. Peter Kremer reports:-
« Following a review of the status of investigations in the fall of 1990, a new strategy was developed for obtaining the necessary information on which to base investigative decisions…The responsible authorities in the USSR were approached regarding the possibility of Justice historians conducting primary research at Soviet Archives. At the same time, it was decided to explore changing procedures in witness location and interviewing. This included obtaining greater access to KGB investigative files to identify and trace witnesses, mass media advertising for witnesses in the USSR, and interviewing and taking statements from Soviet witnesses according to Canadian police procedures. In November 1990, Justice war crimes officials travelled to Moscow and met with senior representatives of the Procurator General of the USSR, the Main Archival Administration and the Department of State Security (KGB) to discuss these issues. Agreement was reached permitting historians working for the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Section to conduct primary research in the Soviet Union and to have more flexibility in locating and interviewing Soviet witnesses. A more direct and less formal method of communicating with the appropriate Soviet officials was also arranged. » (pages 145-146)-

We suggest that for Raoul Wallenberg research also, a new strategy is needed. The responsible authorities in Russian should be approached regarding the possibility of Canadian historians’ conducting primary research in Russian Archives, about obtaining access to KGB files to identify and trace witnesses, about advertising in the mass media for witnesses in Russia, and about interviewing and taking statements from Russian witnesses. Canadian officials should meet with senior representatives of the Procurator General of Russia, the Main Archival Administration and the Department of State Security (KGB) to discuss these issues. Agreement should be sought permitting historians working for the Government of Canada to conduct primary research in Russia on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg and to locate and interview Russian witnesses. A direct and informal method of communicating with the appropriate Russian officials should be arranged.-

It is impossible to say in advance what such a change in the strategy of research would yield. We do know, however, that the comparable change in the strategy of war crimes research, at least in the eyes of the Canadian Justice War Crimes Unit, was extraordinarily fruitful. Peter Kremer reports:-
« A major step forward in the investigation of the East Bloc and USSR cases was the ability of Justice historians to conduct primary research in all government archives….The assistance and cooperation from central, district and local officials in the former East Bloc countries and republics of the former USSR has generally been excellent. » (page 147) –

We would not suggest that war crimes researchers and investigators currently working on pending cases be shifted to Raoul Wallenberg research. However, there are by now a number of historians and investigators who are alumni of the War Crimes Unit. These people have the contacts and the experience. They could easily be hired on contract to carry on, for Raoul Wallenberg, work that is similar to the work they have already done on war crimes and crimes against humanity. They could work in tandem with qualified independent Wallenberg researchers on contract with the Government of Canada.-

War crimes investigations in Eastern Europe functioned cooperatively, Canadian investigators’ working in conjunction with Australian and British researchers who were interested in the same files or the same witnesses. That history and spirit of cooperation could easily be transferred to Raoul Wallenberg research. The utility of multilateral cooperation in war crimes research did not necessitate multilateral agreements on that cooperation. Bilateral agreements were sufficient there and they should be sufficient here. –

Canada has lived through the difficulty of research and investigation in Russia for the purpose of war crimes prosecutions, denaturalizations and deportations. We should learn from that history, benefit from that experience for Raoul Wallenberg research. War crimes research has given Canada the tools to conduct Raoul Wallenberg research. We should use those tools now that they are at hand.-

Sincerely yours,

David Matas

Susanne Berger

Max Grunberg

Louise von Dardel

Marie Dupuy

December 04, 2005

References   [ + ]

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