The Institute of World History
Russian Academy of Sciences
Leninsky Prospekt 32a
Geneva, 11.05. 2012
Dear Mr Chubaryan,
We wish to thank you for the invitation we received to attend the special conference on May 28, 2012, entitled “Raoul Wallenberg – 20th Century Hero”, which is being organized by your Institute, under the broader auspices of the Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) and in co-sponsorship with the Swedish Embassy, Moscow.
We received our invitations very late and only after inquiring with Swedish Embassy officials about the process of how such an invitation could be obtained.
We commend your efforts and appreciate the hard work you have expended to make this conference meaningful and successful.
However, we feel very strongly that sixty-seven years after Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance in Russia we should expect more than an academic discussion.
Twenty years have passed since the end of the Soviet Union. From 1991-2001 extensive official bilateral efforts were conducted to discover the full circumstances of Raoul Wallenberg’s fate in Soviet captivity.
The work undertaken during this period – first by The International Commission on the Fate of Raoul Wallenberg, led by my husband/our father Guy von Dardel, and later, The Swedish-Russian Working Group – was truly pioneering and successful in many ways.
It included a first ever review of prisoner card registries in Vladimir prison, the former Soviet Union’s most important isolator facility. Independent experts of the Working Group also carried out ground breaking studies of prisoner files and related archive documentation, as well as a complex database analysis of the prisoner occupancy of Vladimir Prison. These efforts would not have been possible without the extensive assistance and cooperation provided by Russian authorities and we wish to express once again our deepest gratitude for this cooperation.
This work provided vital new insights and offered many important leads about how the question of what happened to Raoul Wallenberg might be pursued further. At the same time it must also be said that again and again, at crucial junctures, answers to essential questions were not forthcoming.
The Swedish-Russian Working Group ended its work in 2001 and there was hope that clarity about outstanding questions could be gained by researchers continuing their studies in Russian archives.
However, ten years later, we must unfortunately conclude that only very limited progress has been made, in spite of truly significant new information coming to light during this period.
Two and a half years have passed since archivists of the Russian State Security Service (FSB) revealed that a “Prisoner No. 7” who is believed to have been Raoul Wallenberg was interrogated on July 23, 1947. This interrogation occurred six days after what Russian authorities have consistently claimed as Wallenberg’s official date of death, July 17, 1947. Repeated requests to provide access to a set of related documentation has remained unfulfilled for all these months.
The matter is obviously of central importance to solving the Wallenberg case, as are numerous other requests for access to still classified documentation. This includes important questions related to the numbering of prisoners in the Soviet system that were raised by researchers as far back as 1991, and again in 1999; as well as access to key foreign intelligence files that could provide valuable insights into the reasons for Raoul Wallenberg’s arrest and with that, important clues about the handling of his case in the Soviet bureaucratic system.
We are fully aware that solving complex and sensitive cases like that of Raoul Wallenberg demands time and patience. But we hope you understand that our patience has been sorely tested. As a main example we cite the fact that Russian authorities for ten years have refused to identify an unknown Swedish prisoner held in Vladimir Prison during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. The answer to this simple question could move the case dramatically forward, yet we have waited in vain for a resolution.
We have always pursued a cooperative approach and continue to believe that it is the only way forward . Given the current situation, however, we have decided not to attend the conference on May 28. We ask instead that before we travel to Moscow, Russian authorities provide answers to some of the key questions we have just outlined and which have been pending since 2001.
We also propose an alternate official symposium, away from the official conference, of Russian and international Wallenberg experts with the specific task to formulate a plan of action, a ‘blue print’ that can be followed to finally resolve the Wallenberg case. This ‘blue print’ should define core questions that remain in the search for Wallenberg’s fate and methods for resolving them. Once such a core plan has been established, a small group of qualified experts should be provided with special authority to review the essential archival collections, including still classified material.
We would be very happy to attend such a meeting, one that is devoted to creating a systematic, comprehensive approach to finally resolve what happened to Raoul Wallenberg.
|Matilda von Dardel|
|Louise von Dardel|
Attn. Ambassador Tomas Bertelman
Embassy of Sweden 60 Mosfilmovskaya St. 119 590 Moscow Russia