January 17 of this year marked the 70th anniversary of the arrest and disappearance of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest, Hungary. The full circumstances of his fate have never been determined. Even though Wallenberg has now been formally declared dead in his native country of Sweden, the search for answers continues.
In September, a group of nearly 80 international Wallenberg experts, with the support of leading international human rights organizations and research institutions specializing in the study of the Holocaust and the Cold War – such as the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (Florence, Italy), the Holocaust Memorial Center (Budapest) and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Cold War History Project (Washington, DC) – launched a new international research project, the Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI-70).
The group includes relatives of Holocaust victims rescued by Wallenberg as well as individuals incarcerated together with him in Soviet prisons. Former Swedish and Russian officials who over the years were involved in the investigation of the Wallenberg case have also joined in, as have numerous private individuals, among them the British author John le Carré.
The primary goal of RWI-70 is to pool international expertise to create an effective, coordinated work plan, a blueprint for solving the Wallenberg case.
As part of the initiative, researchers will conduct a Raoul Wallenberg International Roundtable, scheduled for March 2016. The symposium will bring together international scholars to discuss how to obtain access to essential documentation in Russian and other international archives.