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Raoul Wallenberg and his killers

    Google translation from russia. Rearranged by Maribeth Barber.

    Raoul Wallenberg. Was prisoner number 7?

    Radio Liberty published a letter from independent researchers Vadim Birstein and Suzanne Berger, a qualitatively new turn in the case of Raoul Wallenberg. Additional details of the case – in a conversation with one of the authors of the letter Vadim Birstein.

    Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in 1944 by issuing  protective passports to so-called “Swedish subjects” awaiting repatriation to their homeland. After the capture of Budapest by Soviet troops, he was arrested and taken to Moscow, where he was kept in the MGB inner prison in the Lubyanka. For many years, Stockholm unsuccessfully tried to discover the prisoner’s fate. In February 1957, Moscow officially made it known to the Swedish government that Wallenberg had died of a myocardial infarction on July 17, 1947, in Lubyanka Prison.  In support of this version the Soviets presented a document–a report from the chief of the medical unit inside the prison, Smoltsov, addressed to Interior Minister Viktor Abakumov. This version did not satisfy the Wallenberg family, which holds high social status in Sweden.

    In 1990, Vadim Birstein and current chairman of the Memorial Society, Arseny Roginsky, gained access to some of the archival collections of the MGB-KGB. In April 1991, I, as editor of the international department of the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, published an article by Vadim Birstein « The Mystery of the Prisoner number seven« , which presented the preliminary results of the study and questioned the official Soviet account of Wallenberg’s death. Subsequently, Moscow and Stockholm agreed to continue the work of the bilateral commission. However, in 2001, the Commission concluded that the search ended in a stalemate, and ceased to exist.

    Nevertheless, Vadim Birstein, who since moved to New York, continued his studies.

    “I was not a member of the Swedish commission. I was a member of the first commission to study the fate of Wallenberg that worked in 1990-1991. It all ended when I found a document on Wallenberg’s transfer. The published article—my work and Roginsky’s—was completed at the request of the KGB, and I was not invited to the second commission. But I remained an independent researcher, because I’m working on a book about SMERSH.”

    The authenticity of the report written by commander of the prison infirmary, Smoltsov, was doubtful. In the Lubyanka archive, not a single autograph was found that could compare with the handwriting on the report.

    “This report is always considered a genuine document,” indicates Vadim Birstein. “I have always believed in the Smoltsov report itself, but the inscription on Smoltsov’s report that reported to the minster and ordered the body cremated without an autopsy seemed suspicious. But after that there were examinations. First, the official Swedish experts concluded that the document is genuine. This was followed by an examination by the Memorial Society. Roginsky and several other members of the Society have shown the original document, and it turned out that there is an additional inscription in pencil, so the two inscriptions look different.”

    As events developed, the bilateral commission was disbanded.

    “Suzanne Berger suggested that I write, with her, a letter about my doubts concerning the documents that were submitted to the commission. The Swedish Embassy agreed to send a letter to the FSB archive. I wrote that it seemed unfinished, and asking questions that the commission did not ask. For instance, the commission has never required the originals—it is not even satisfied with copies, and copies of fragments of documents, a piece of a phrase or a piece of string. I demanded for copies of pages, because when they say that there is a record of Wallenberg, but it is dipped in black ink, it means that the presented copy erased this fragment and then restored it with the help of infrared rays, or in any other way. I demanded that this line was presented at least in the pages, so that you can judge its position on the page, so you can see the numbers of records and so on. Step by step, all available documentation was submitted, and I continue to request documents.”

    Wallenberg’s driver, Vilmos Langfelder, was also kept in the Lubyanka prison.

    “On the night of 22 to 23 July, all of Wallenberg and Langfelder’s cellmates were summoned to a kind of interview or interrogation. In the testimony they gave in 1956—those who survived—they claimed that they talked about Wallenberg, and then were ordered not to mention his name. When in 1990 Roginsky and I started our study, we were particularly trying to find information about this interrogation. And in several cases, the interrogation was confirmed. Since then, there was the question of what actually happened. It was found that an unknown prisoner was summoned for the interrogation or interview.”

    “Not all the investigation files in the SMERSH-MGB system for this period were available,” says Birstein. “So I asked many questions about the investigation affairs. And the FSB, having studied the cases, responded to our questions. They checked who else was questioned that night, and found that some other person was questioned, which I did not know…It turns out that, apart from Langfelder, his alleged cellmate Katona, and other inmates, a mysterious Prisoner Number 7 was interrogated at the same time. What really happened in those interrogations or interviews is unknown, because they were not recorded. If Prisoner Number 7 was Wallenberg, then it means that Wallenberg was still alive, at least during the next few days. As for me, I believe that after this interrogation he was killed, as there are formal data. But again, they need to be clarified, because the FSB has very vague information about this documentary.”

    “Then investigators ordered other prisoners to be silent while Wallenberg was still alive?”


    “And no, this is not a myocardial infarction, not an accidental death—they were preparing to kill him?”

    “Yes. There is a record of registration, a letter that Abakumov sent Molotov on July 17. The letter itself was never presented—not by the KGB, or FSB, the Foreign Ministry, not by anyone. This entry was previously seen as confirmation that Abakumov told Molotov that Wallenberg was not dead. Now, however, it turns out—if we consider the letter in the new system’s time coordinates—that Abakumov reported to Molotov the plans for Wallenberg’s fate. Here is a parallel with the case of Isaiah Oggins. I just remember Abakumov’s letter which included a plan of political assassination. Apparently, this method was widely used because Sudoplatov mentions four such killings. He participated, in particular, in the murder of Oggins. But it is obvious that they had planned much more.”

    * * *

    It should be clear: Lieutenant-General Pavel Sudoplatov was the head of a special department of the MGB. After the war, he eliminated enemies of Soviet power with the approval of the country’s senior management. Isaiah Oggins, a U.S. citizen, was recruited by the OGPU and later arrested. Due to Washington’s persistent attempts to clarify Oggins’ fate, Abakumov sent, in May 1947, a top secret note to Stalin and Molotov in which he proposed:

    “MGB finds it necessary to eliminate Isaiah Oggins, telling Americans that Oggins, after a meeting with representatives of the American Embassy in June 1943, served a sentence in Norilsk and there, in 1946, died in a hospital as a result of acute spinal tuberculosis.”

    Based on material from the program “Time and the world”, Irina Laguninoy.

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