The Wallenberg Curse

28-02-2009 , by Joshua Prager , ed. Wall Street Journal

STOCKHOLM — In neat script, blue ink on white letterhead, Fredrik von Dardel began writing to the stepson he had long been told to leave for dead: « Dear beloved Raoul. »

It was March 24, 1956. He always wrote at his living-room table, his wife, Maria, looking on from a corner of the couch by the phone. On a chest, a spray of flowers she kept fresh stood beside a picture of her son, Raoul Wallenberg.

Mr. Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who safeguarded 20,000 Jews in Budapest in the waning months of World War II, vanished into the Soviet penal system in 1945. But the couple, then 71 and 65 years old, believed their son was alive and readied a letter for Sweden’s prime minister to take to Moscow.

« We have been sustained by the hope of one day seeing you among us and again being able to kiss you and hold your hands and hear your beloved voice, » his stepfather wrote in an old and elevated Swedish. « There’s a room here waiting for you. » … more
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