The Soviet Union should « come clean » on Raoul Wallenberg

02-10-1989 , by William Korey , ed. The Library of Congress Congressional Record article 3 of 42

(Extension of Remarks – October 02, 1989)-
in the House of Representatives-MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1989

Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, this week we will commemorate the eighth anniversary of the signing in 1981 of historic legislation which made Raoul Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States–the second individual to be so honored after Sir Winston Churchill. Wallenberg was the hero of the Holocaust who saved the lives of 100,000 men, women, and children during the tumultuous final days of World War II in Hungary. The decision of the Congress to grant him honorary citizenship was a belated acknowledgment of the enormous contribution he made to humanity.-x Mr. Speaker, William Korey–the director of international policy research at B’nai B’rith International in New York and currently completing a study on `American Policy and the Helsinki Process’ with a Ford Foundation grant–has written an excellent article which was recently published in the Wall Street Journal. In view of the commemoration of anniversary of Wallenberg’s honorary citizenship this week and the forthcoming visit to the Soviet Union of Wallenberg’s half-sister and half-brother, Nina Lagergren and Guy von Dardel, and a delegation of the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Association, I ask that the article be placed in the Record and urge my colleagues to give it careful attention.
(BY WILLIAM KOREY)Raoul Wallenberg’s fate surfaced for a moment last month in Paris at the Helsinki-sponsored conference on the `human dimension,’ and just as suddenly disappeared down history’s `memory hole.’ The episode, virtually unnoticed by the world-wide press, warrants pubic attention to avoid a continuing Soviet cover-up.
At the Paris meeting, Moscow was on its very best behavior. An extraordinarily large delegation–twice the size of any Western power–was on hand to demonstrate an affability and openness in meeting with non-governmental reprensentatives and any interested Westerners. On the third day of the conference–June 1–the Soviet delegation held a major news conference designed to show off their specialists in a variety of fields.
Included in the delegation was a highranking official of Moscow’s Procurator-General’s office. Vladimir Andreyev, who is known to have investigated Mr. Wallenberg’s case. In this era of glasnost, with some selected `blank spaces’ of history being filled in, it was hoped that the tragic disappearance of the extraordinary and courageous Swedish diplomat and resciter of Jews would somehow be elucidated.It was a new Soviet `voice’ that spoke about Mr. Wallenberg. No longer were the comments either hostile or neutral. Rather, Mr. Wallenberg was warmly embraced as a `noble person.’ The words echoed precisely the language of Ambassador Yuri Kashlev, head of the Soviet delegation to the current and earlier Helsimki talks. Last September, in Vienna, the smooth Soviet diplomat had also characterized Mr. Wallenberg as `no-ble.’ Mr. Andreyev went beyond those laudatory comments. The arrest and disappearance of Mr. Wallenberg constituted `a somber page in our history,’ said the Soviet legal official. He added that `we profoundly regret [his] death.’The tone, rich in sorrowful and symathetic expressions, was aimed at assuring Western representatives that Moscow stood as one with them in the outpouring of humanitarian concern for the Swedish diplomat. To reinforce this sense of common humanitarian interest, Mr. Andreyev commented: `Our attitude towards him is positive, [and] we understand the importance of the cause which he had served.’ But one fact was continually underscored: Mr. Wallenberg was dead. Investigations by Mr. Andreyev’s bureau unquestionably demonstrated that he had died in prison in 1947. Persistent reports that Mr. Wallenberg may still be alive were noting but `rumors.’If the Soviet official was categorical about Mr. Wallenberg’s death, he had noting to offer in regard to the diplomat’s mysterious arrest and subsequent death. `We know nothing new’ about such matters, Mr. Andreyev commented. His associate, Ambassador Kashlev, then took the floor to explain that the officials responsible for `destroying such persons as Wallenberg, also destroyed the documents.’ As if to close the book on the investigation, Mr. Kashlev added that Moscow would make a full public disclosure `if, by magic, we were to obtain new information.’Magic, of course, is not a readily available tool to judicial investigators. Mr. Andreyev sought to downplay the uniqueness of the Wallenberg case; an attemt to thereby make it appear logical and reasonable that all the evidence could disappear. `Unfortunately, he was not alone,’ observed Mr. Andreyev, `Millions of others’ similarly represent a `somber page’ in Soviet history.But the fact remains that the Wallenberg case was unique, and it is mystifying that a careful investigation could have thrown absolutely no light on his situation during the two full years that he was in the hands of his captors 1945 to 1947. In September 1988, statements by the chief of the Soviet delegation to the Vienna review conference of Helsinki signatories–Ambassador Kashlev–seemed to offer considerable hope for a major breakthrough on information in the Wallenberg case. After calling attention to Soviet efforts to remove stains from the historical past and to fill in the `blank spots,’ he promised that were any documentation uncovered with reference to Wallenberg, it would be made public. That commitment followed a heated airing in the Vienna plenary about the issue. U.S. Ambassador Waren Zimmerman called for `a full and open accounting of that part of Soviet history affecting a man who stood for so many of the Helsinki ideals to which we are dedicated.’Ambassador Zimmerman was quickly joined by the British and Canadian delegation in urging a Soviet investigation and disclosure. Of far greater significance was the fact that the leader of the Hungarian delegation, Andre Erdos, also rose to plead the Wallenberg case: `We would welcome with greater emotion any new information which would shed light on his (Wallenberg’s) fate or (that would) complete our knowledge.’ It was the first time that a Hungarian ambassador, in a European public plenum, challenged Moscow.The striking emotional appeals produced Soviet Ambassador Kashlev’s commitment a well as his warm endorsement of Wallenberg’s `noble activities.’ Several months later, optimism soared when the Soviet Ambassador to Belgium, Felix Bogdanov, showed up for a special ceremony honoring Mr. Wallenberg at Brussels’ Eqmont Palace. The sponsoring group was the Belgian Committee for Raoul Wallenberg. Never before had a Soviet official participated in a Wallenberg ceremony.The event, held on January 19, 1989–the day that the Helsinki accord talks came to an end in Vienna–could not and did not go unnoticed. Mr. Wallenberg’s half-brother, Guy von Dardel, told the Brussels gathering that `the presence of the Soviet Ambassador is a significant gesture that . . . gives us hope for a change in the Soviet attitude toward the Wallenberg case.’Hope for change plummeted a half year later at the Paris meeting. The warm embrace of Mr. Wallenberg as `noble’ by Soviet officials could not hide the fact that this `blank spot’ of Soviet history still remained `blank.’ Of even greater concern is the possibility that Moscow is engaged in a cover-up of a series of profoundly embarrassing developments.Could it be that Wallenberg did in fact die in 1947 as the Soviets now insist? Numerous first-hand and indirect accounts purport seeing him in a Soviet gulag years later. How does one explain the arrest and disappearance of a foreign diplomat, and from a neutral country at that-an episode that is virtually unheard of in international diplomatic circles. How can all of the records of his arrest and incarceration and all of the eyewitnesses have vanished?October 5 will mark the 8th anniversary of Mr. Wallenberg being made an honorary citizen of the United States, the only foreigner other than Winston Churchill to be afforded that distinction. Two weeks later, Soviet officials will host leaders of the Swedish Wallenberg committee in Moscow. At that time, the Soviet hosts will be hard pressed to come up with some solid answers to end the embarrassing mystery which engulfs their tales of what happened to Raoul Wallenberg.[Page: E3228]

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