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Guy von Dardel’s introduction to the report of the Independent consultants

    This month the Swedish Foreign Office (UD), will present  the final report
    of the Swedish – Russian Working Group on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg (RW)”
    about its ten year long investigation. In addition, the four independent
    experts to the Commission, will issue separate reports on their findings
    based on thorough examination of Russian archives, in particular those of
    the Vladimir prison. These investigations cover a period of about 10 years
    since the beginning of the Working Group.

    There is however a prehistory, stretching back to 1945 when RW was arrested
    by Soviet troops in Hungary, and started a long and obscure transit through
    Soviet prisons and camps.

    While in the beginning the Swedish Foreign Office  carried the main burden
    for the efforts to clarify RW:s fate, it soon became apparent that their
    efforts had to be supplemented by independent investigations and pressure on
    the Soviet Union. In the first place, I should mention Raoul ‘s and my
    mother, Maj von Dardel, as well as my father, Frederik von Dardel, his
    stepfather, who until their deaths in 1979 carried the heavy burden of
    ensuring that everything was done to solve RW:s fate. They were helped by
    many ardent collaborators, such as the Czech author Rudolph Philipp who
    wrote the first Swedish book about RW:s achievements and was the first to
    claim that RW:s later fate was far from certain; and Birgitta Bellander who
    organised a joint committee of the major Swedish RW movements. This
    initiative, outside of the UD, later evolved into the Swedish RW-Committee,
    which for a long time was headed by Sonja Sonnenfeldt.

    My own role was at first limited by my professional duties as an
    experimental nuclear scientist, although these also gave me the opportunity
    to visit the Soviet Union and to seek the advice and support of my Soviet
    colleagues. I should particularly mention Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner,
    who went as far as to follow up some of the possible traces of RW, and who
    kept up their interest for my brother far into the Gorbachev era,  until
    Andrei Sakharov’s early death in 1991.

    My sister Nina Lagergren and I collaborated in a number of succesfull
    attempts to get international pressure for the release of RW and a full
    acounting for his fate.  As an example, on a visit to Israel in the early 1980’s
    Menachem Begin made an attempt to have RW:s case taken up at the Vienna summit meeting.

    Since the early 80’s I have collaborated with Marvin Makinen, professor
    of Biochemistry at the University of Chicago, who was himself  imprisoned
    in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He sat for a year in the prison of
    Vladimir, where he shared a cell with a Latvian prisoner, Zigurd Kruminch,
    who was probably an informant and who had previously been imprisoned with
    the American U2 pilot Gary Powers. Another prisoner told Makinen that
    Kruminch had for a time shared a cell with RW.

    In an attempt to put more pressure on the Soviets to release RW or to
    account convincingly for his fate, a group of US legal firms on RW:s behalf
    sued Russia for substantial damages for keeping RW in jail without cause.
    While we won the case in the first instance, the US government or higher
    court  later reversed the  verdict.

    At the UN Human Rights Conference in 1989 in Geneva I met with the head of
    the Soviet Delegation, and later with  the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister
    for Human Rights, Anatoly Adamishen. We agreed to study the possibilities
    to create a  joint  international investigation into RW:s fate. Our idea was
    to establish an International Forum composed of mainly unofficial members
    from various countries. A contact person at the Soviet Delegation at the UN
    Offices in Geneva was appointed to handle further discussion between the two
    of us.

    These contacts may have been instrumetal when six months later I and my
    sister Nina Lagergren received an invitation to Moscow by the Soviet Foreign
    Office for a meeting in late 1989.  To our surprise the Russian authorities
    at the meeting handed over a number of RW:s belongings, his diplomatic
    passport, substantial amounts of foreign currency, the prison card
    confirming his arrival at Lubianka prison on February 6, 1945,  his
    addressbook and his calendar. The Russian claim was that these items had
    been found just a short time before during a cleanup in the cellar of
    Lubianka prison, the KGB headquarters.

    At this meeting we were also presented with the original of the so called
    Smoltsov note, supposedly signed  by the Lubianka prison doctor, A. L.
    Smoltsov, in which he claims that RW died of a heartattack in his cell in
    Lubianka prison on July 17, 1947. This document had already served as the
    basis of the so-called Gromyko memorandum from February 6 1957, and which
    ever since had been the basis of the Soviet position on RW.

    Following our visit in Moscow we had  an opportunity to visit Vladimir
    prison, some 250 km east of Moscow. There we were able to examine  a few
    selected prisoner cards, out of  a total of some the
    “kartoteka”.We found those for Makinen, Powers, and for some other prisoners
    known to us, but the archive contained no card  for RW.

    During a week in 1991 a Russian – International research team again went
    through all 100.000 cards in the card registry  (Kartoteka) and carried  out
    a more detailed study of some 2000 judicially chosen cards, which were
    copied and analysed. While the project was entirely inofficial we had very
    valuable help from the Swedish embassy with Ambassador Örjan Berner and the
    interpreter  Magnus Dahnberg.
    Our team was composed on the Russian side mainly of members of the Human
    Rights organization ‘Memorial’, with Arseni Roginski, Nikita Petrov, Kronid
    Lubarski, and Sergei Kovalyov, and by the staff of the Vladimir prison
    archive. The then-Chairman of the KGB, Vadim Bakatin, was a strong supporter
    of the project.

    In a week of hard work the group went through all 100.000 cards, and
    selected and photographed some 2000 cards which were judged to be of
    particular interest, such as all foreign prisoners, all prisoners already
    known to us  e.g. returned prisoners of war.

    We found no card with the name of RW or of his driver, Vilmos Langfelder.
    What we did find was the existence of “numbered prisoners” who were
    registered not under their name but under a number. It seemed possible that
    RW might be hidden in this nameless category. Later investigations by Marvin
    Makinen and his  collaborator Ari Kaplan  have taken up this hypothesis,
    together with certain other criteria for “important prisoners” and
    information provided by the prison staff, which  strongly indicates that RW
    had indeed been in  the Vladimir prison well beyond the official 1947 death
    date .

    After the return of  the working team, Theodore Nemec in Stockhom, of Czech
    origin but fluent in Russian, deciphered and translated to English some 2000
    cards. The original Russian and the Eglish versions were computerised and
    stored on computer discettes for further analysis.

    While the number of cards were too small for a proper analysis to be carried
    out, these early investigations laid the groundwork for the much more
    sophisticated methods developed by Marvin Makinen and Ari Kaplan with the
    support of the Swedish Russian Working group.

    After the August putch it became evident that a more permanent and official
    structure would be needed to carry the research forward. This  led to the
    creation, at the Foreign Ministry level, of the present Swedish-Russian
    Working Group which now after almost 10 years is ending its work, in my view
    prematurely, since a lot of work is still to be done. The Working Group
    on the Russian side is lead by  the current chairman Vyacheslav Tuchnin.
    Other members on the Russian side include the head of the prison sections of the MVD,
    Konstantin S. Nikishkin, and the archivist of the FSB, Vladimir K. Vinogradov.

    The Swedish side has been headed since the beginning in 1991  by
    ambassador Hans Magnusson, without whose untiring efforts there could have
    been no results. On a higher level we had the support of Cabinet secretary
    Jan Eliasson. We had a particularly close collaboration with the staff of
    the Swedish Embassy, Moscow, especially Mats Foyer, Anders Wallberg, Eva
    Tojzner-Glückman and Stefan Gullgren.  We have also had some contact with the
    Russian Embassy staff in Stockholm, who gave us valuable assistance for our
    contacts in Moscow.

    Other official Swedish members are at present Ambassador Jan Lundvik who,
    with valuable experience from his time in Hungary and Russia, remains
    concerned about RW’s fate. I also want to mention Ambassador Martin
    Hallquist and the retired head of Swedish Security Police, Carl Persson.

    Equally closely associated with  the Working Group are the “Independent
    In addtion to Marvin Makinen who has already been mentioned these include
    Susan Ellen Mesinai and Susanne Berger.
    Susan Mesinai  first came into the picture in 1990 within the ARK Project,
    with the aim of locating prisoners of war in Russia and succesfully
    identified two US prisoners detained in USSR since World War II. Her
    experience and findings have allowed her to do valuable investigations of
    Russian archives and medical facilities, including those of  various
    psychiatric hospitals. In the research for RW she  developed techniques to
    follow the “paper trail” of prisoners through the records in their files,
    the prison ‘kartoteka’,  and transport records of the local or central
    administrations responsible for handling prisoners.

    Susanne Berger has a background in both Economics and Forensic Sciences.
    Together with her wide language experience, this has allowed her to
    conduct reviews of both open and classified materials in Russian, American,
    German and Swedish archives, including those of the Swedish Security
    Police(SÄPO), in search of new facts about RW. She has in particular studied
    the background of the RW case, including possible reasons for his fate and
    the failure to gain his release.

    As the most important result of all of our efforts, it has become clear that
    direct access to documentation is essential for getting credible results .
    Even if some documentation related to the RW case may have been destroyed,
    more than enough archival material remains. The three reports included in
    this volume clearly illustrate that real progress towards determining RW’s
    fate can and will be made if direct access to crucial documentation is obtained.

    The immediate need is to address efficiently the numerous important
    questions arising from the enclosed reports, and to do this as quickly and
    thoroughly as possible.

    In conclusion I am, as Raoul’s halfbrother, truly grateful for the help and
    support extended from the Russian and Swedish official sides and from the
    many who have supported our efforts. I am optimistic that our effective
    cooperation will continue until RW’s true fate has been determined.

    Although I have tried to give full credit to the many important contributors
    to the search for RW, both on the official and inofficial and on the
    Russian, Swedish and International side, I realize that much critical help
    may  not have been properly accounted for in this much too short
    presentation. I give everyone I have not mentioned my  sincere thanks.

    Guy von Dardel                                           Champery,  January 12, 2001
    Professor em.

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