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

USA

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.

Sincerely,

Matilda von Dardel

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