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General Ivan Serov’s memoirs

    The recently published memoirs of the former KGB Chairman, General Ivan Serov, based on his personal notes and entitled “Notes from a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First KGB Chairman, Found Over 25 Years after His Death,” with comments by Aleksandr Khinshtein (Moscow, 2016), contain a number of claims and statements about the alleged fate of Raoul Wallenberg and about the possible reasons for his arrest and detention.


    Of particular interest is Gen. Serov’s assertion that in the Wallenberg case file he supposedly saw a so-called Certificate (“Akt”) of Cremation for Raoul Wallenberg’s remains, signed by two officials of Lubyanka Prison, — Chief Warden Aleksandr Mironov and Lubyanka’s Commandant (Chief Executioner) Vasilii Blokhin, — in 1947. However, while interrogated, Blokhin supposedly stated that he and his staff had no connection to “Wallenberg’s liquidation” – at least, he did not remember anything about that.


    Also of interest is Serov’s statement that the  former State Security Minister Viktor Abakumov, who was arrested in July 1951  and who had been in charge of the Wallenberg case, was allegedly interrogated in 1953 or 1954 by Col. Aleksandr Kozyrev, then acting head of the MVD Department on Investigation of Especially Important Cases. In this interrogation Abakumov presumably confirmed that Raoul Wallenberg, in fact, was “liquidated” on direct orders of Stalin and Molotov.


    I am therefore filing a request with the FSB Central Archives to present this documentation, which has not been made available to us during previous investigations of the Wallenberg case.


    However, numerous questions remain about the source material, which must be thoroughly evaluated before any firm conclusions can be drawn. The original  notes in Serov’s diary regarding Raoul Wallenberg were not reproduced. It appears that some parts of Gen. Serov’s recollections about the Wallenberg case were prompted by telephone calls to his home in 1987 (at the age of 82). It is currently unclear if in his final account of the Wallenberg case he relied on any original documents or earlier notes from his diary. It is also unclear if some of the details appeared during the editorial work on the notes before publication.


    Furthermore, it is very surprising that Gen. Serov does not recount his central role in the drafting of the so-called “Gromyko Memorandum” in the years 1955-1957.


    Finally, his notes include a number of factual errors which cast some doubt on the reliability of at least part of his recollections.


    Marie Dupuy

    Raoul Wallenberg’s niece

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