Dear Mrs. Lagergren and Mrs. von Dardel:
Thank you very much for your letter of September 3 to President Obama. The White House has asked that I respond on the President’s behalf.
The fundamental issue that you raise in your letter, archival access, is an important one for the United States. We have long pressed for greater access by scholars, researchers, educators, and family members such as yourselves to Holocaust-era archives throughout Europe.
On June 30, 2009, the Russian Federation joined consensus on a document called Terezin Declaration. This declaration was issued at the conclusion of an international conference on Holocaust-era Assets in Prague in which 47 countries and a number of non-governmental organizations participated. Among other things, the Terezin Declaration stated this:
We encourage governments and other bodies that maintain or oversee relevant archives to make them available to the fullest extent possible to the public and researchers in accordance with the guidelines of the International Council on Archives, with due regard to national legislation, including provisions on privacy and data protection, while also taking into account the special circumstances created by the Holocaust era end the needs of the survives and their families, especially in cases concerning documents that have their origins in Nazi rules and laws.
This statement reflects the policy of the United States. At the same conference in Prague the head of the U.S. delegation, Stuart Eizenstat, stated:
Full and immediate access to all official and private archives is absolutely essential… in order to give life to the Terezin Declaration.
Together with our partners at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which Sweden founded, we shall continue to urge those countries, including the Russian Federation, that agreed to the Terezin Declaration to provide full and immediate access to their Nazi-era archival holdings to those interested in studying the Holocaust, or those who continue to hope for information concerning the fate of missing loved ones. in addition, we strongly support the Government of Sweden’s efforts to obtain a full accounting of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance.
Knowing that the long wait and the lack of news have surely caused you and your family tremendous hardship, I can only commend and admire your dedication in continuing to search for the truth about Raoul Wallenberg’s fate.
Yours very truly,
Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues