The family of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg seeks answers to lingering questions about his fate with a new inquiry in Sweden


The family of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg seeks answers to lingering questions about his fate with a new inquiry in Sweden

By Susanne Berger (Washington) and Dr. Vadim Birstein (ed. Buxus Stiftung)

In 1981, the Israeli government asked the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to keep specific records pertaining to the Raoul Wallenberg investigation secret, for fear they could reveal information about Israel’s extensive intelligence network behind the Iron Curtain. Did other countries, including the U.S. and Russia, make similar arrangements with Sweden?  And did Swedish officials ever approach Russia and other foreign entities to keep specific information concerning the Wallenberg case classified in their archives? Members of Raoul Wallenberg’s family are seeking answers to these and other questions from Swedish authorities with a new inquiry.


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Raoul Wallenberg and Mellaneuropeiska — Swedish economic “agents” in World War II

02-12-2016, by Vadim Birstein, Susanne Berger,

Raoul Wallenberg and his company fulfilled an important role in the Swedish official “Economic Defense Readiness” program (Rikskommissionen för Ekonomisk Försvarsberedskap). The fact that the Swedish military and its respective intelligence services oversaw this program may explain the claims that Wallenberg functioned as an agent of Swedish intelligence during World War II.

Many details of Raoul Wallenberg’s life, especially regarding his personal and professional background, remain unknown. Over the years, the information has been blended out by journalists, historians and researchers, as they distilled the essence of the Wallenberg story into its current, rather generalized form. Some of the lost facets of the story may not only help to explain the official handling of the case by Swedish and Russian authorities over the years, but may also provide helpful clues for the future investigation of Wallenberg’s fate.afds

See more on Vadim Birstein’s website

Gaps and questions about the Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate at the Moscow Times

30-09-2016, by Daria Litvinova,

Soviet Prisoner No. 7: The Mysterious Case of Raoul Wallenberg

Relatives are still trying to piece together the story of what happened to a Swedish diplomat abducted during World War II.

This year researchers might be closer than ever to obtaining answers. On Sept. 21, Wallenberg’s nieces Marie Dupuy and Louise von Dardel traveled to Moscow with a group of researchers and lawyers to meet with Russian officials and submit the list of questions, important documents and testimonies required to fill in the gaps of what is now known as the Wallenberg case. They met with the Foreign Ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB, successor of the KGB) officials and were promised full cooperation and all the archival data needed to solve the mystery.

Read more at Moscow Times

Raoul Wallenberg and Ivan Serov’s Memoir “Notes from a Suitcase”

13-09-2016, by Vadim Birstein, ed.

An excellent article about Serov’s Memoir on the historian and scientist’s Vadim Birstein’s website:

I have … some doubts in the authenticity of this document [Ivan Serov’s memoir]. It could have been created later, and could have had no relationship to Serov. It is hard to say.
Boris Sokolov, Russian historian, interview on July 14, 2016[1]

The word “killed” has never appeared in any official documents [about Raoul Wallenberg] released from the Soviet side, according to Nikita Petrov, a historian with the Memorial organization in Moscow who specializes in the Stalinist era and Serov himself.[2]

The book [Serov’s memoir] is full of distortions and omissions of important facts.
— Gurdrun Persson, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages, Stockholm University, from En bra rysk story – om vi bara kunde lita på den

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En bra rysk story – om vi bara kunde lita på den

09-09-2016, by Gudrun Persson, ed.

I somras kom en bok ut i Ryssland med sensationella uppgifter om Raoul Wallenbergs död. Det sades vara resultatet av att den tidigare KGB-chefen Ivan Servos dagböcker skulle ha hittats. Men bland ryska forskare är de föregivna memoarernas äkthet omtvistade. Och när Gudrun Persson, Rysslandsexpert och docent vid Slaviska institutionen på Stockholms universitet, får boken i sin hand växer hennes skepsis.


Läs mer:–om-vi-bara-kunde-lita-pa-den/

Russia and Raoul Wallenberg: Unfinished business

14-08-2016, by Inna Rogatchi,

The Presidential Archive and Its Closed Envelopes

In 1990, Russian president Boris Yeltsyn did quite unusual for the Soviet and post-Soviet ruler deed: he admitted the guilt of the Soviet regime. The matter was the massacre of the Polish officers in Katyn by the Soviets in 1941. Yeltsyn was courageous enough to hand to the Polish side highly classified documents from the Presidential Archive, specifically designated body to keep the most sensitive documents throughout the Soviet history safely locked there.

If there is something that Russian authorities are still keeping on Raoul Wallenberg case, the file, most likely, is to be at this very place.

At the time of establishing The Presidential Archive in 1991, in incredible haste and complete chaos amidst collapsing Soviet Union, the main thinking about it was to grab and remove the most important cases – as Katyn massacre and presumably Wallenberg case – from all existing in late Soviet Union archives, including those of the KGB and military intelligence, into the one place, to seal all the most sensitive secrets, and subordinate those explosive materials placed in large sealed envelopes to the only person who would be the arbiter on whenever to unseal the envelopes in question, when, and under which circumstances. That person would be a president of the Russian Federation.

I was a witness of the process, as I was working on many of hastily de-classified for a short period of time documents from all periods of the Soviet Union in a strong team of international researches and diplomats. We regularly saw the documents of extra-ordinary importance piled in disorder all over deserted compound of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Moscow.

We have learned that the Presidential Archive has been established in a hot panic that overwhelmed the Soviet leaders at the abrupt end of the regime. We were explained by readily co-operative and palpably nervous men that the idea of the Presidential Archive is to make it small, compact and easily movable; so only the cases of the extra-ordinary importance had been selected there.

We have learned on the documents with four degrees of secrecy, with stamps on the pages of the originals: Secret ( secretno in Russian), Completely Secret ( sovershenno secretno ), Special Importance ( osobaja vazhnost ) , Special File ( osobaja papka ). The documents bearing all four stamps on its front page were at sole disposal of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, the nerve centre of the Soviet regime.

Yet atop of that, there is also documentation of a superior secrecy. Such documents are stored in a form of sealed packages and this highest form of secrecy in Russia is known as ‘sealed package’. Those packages are numbered. The Katyn package had number 1 written on it by hand. The package that contains the original materials on the Soviet-German pact preceding the Second World War is known as package 34 – which Mr Gorbachev

wanted to destroy, according to his closest aides who did not dare to do such a thing.

The envelope with what’s left in the Wallenberg dossier should be among those numbered sealed packages. In 2000, after the decade of hardly fruitful co-operation of the Russian-Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Working Commission, the Russian officials provided their Swedish counter-parts with the document that meant to be the proof that they did everything possible in order to trace the existing documentation on the case. The document was a protocol of the supposed to be a nation-wide search for the documents related to the Wallenberg case in all Russian archives. All of them, except the Presidential Archive.

There are repeated claims by the Russian officials insisting that the Wallenberg File was destroyed. In the realities of the Soviet security apparatus, however, it was hardly possible to destroy an entire file, a cache of documents. In all probability, such exceptional documents as the original of the letter that poor Raoul had written to Stalin from his cell at the Lubjanka prison, would not have been destroyed under any circumstances.

The idea of establishing in 1991 the archive of inaccessible documents in rapidly collapsing Soviet Union had been quite useful for the country’s leadership, seemingly. In the case of Raoul Wallenberg, it did work for twenty five years by now. Being added to forty six previous years, from the Russian perspective, it worked for them for 71 year and 8 months.

In August 2016, international media has reprinted basically one story about published in Russia in May 2016 diaries of Ivan Serov, notorious head of the KGB and GRU in 1950s and early 1960s, claiming  it as ‘the discovery that would end the mystery of Raoul Wallenberg in Russia’.  It is hasty and naive reaction, playing on the Russian authorities’ hand perfectly.

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General Ivan Serov’s memoirs

15-06-2016, by Marie Dupuy,

The recently published memoirs of the former KGB Chairman, General Ivan Serov, based on his personal notes and entitled “Notes from a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First KGB Chairman, Found Over 25 Years after His Death,” with comments by Aleksandr Khinshtein (Moscow, 2016), contain a number of claims and statements about the alleged fate of Raoul Wallenberg and about the possible reasons for his arrest and detention.


Of particular interest is Gen. Serov’s assertion that in the Wallenberg case file he supposedly saw a so-called Certificate (“Akt”) of Cremation for Raoul Wallenberg’s remains, signed by two officials of Lubyanka Prison, — Chief Warden Aleksandr Mironov and Lubyanka’s Commandant (Chief Executioner) Vasilii Blokhin, — in 1947. However, while interrogated, Blokhin supposedly stated that he and his staff had no connection to “Wallenberg’s liquidation” – at least, he did not remember anything about that.


Also of interest is Serov’s statement that the  former State Security Minister Viktor Abakumov, who was arrested in July 1951  and who had been in charge of the Wallenberg case, was allegedly interrogated in 1953 or 1954 by Col. Aleksandr Kozyrev, then acting head of the MVD Department on Investigation of Especially Important Cases. In this interrogation Abakumov presumably confirmed that Raoul Wallenberg, in fact, was “liquidated” on direct orders of Stalin and Molotov.


I am therefore filing a request with the FSB Central Archives to present this documentation, which has not been made available to us during previous investigations of the Wallenberg case.


However, numerous questions remain about the source material, which must be thoroughly evaluated before any firm conclusions can be drawn. The original  notes in Serov’s diary regarding Raoul Wallenberg were not reproduced. It appears that some parts of Gen. Serov’s recollections about the Wallenberg case were prompted by telephone calls to his home in 1987 (at the age of 82). It is currently unclear if in his final account of the Wallenberg case he relied on any original documents or earlier notes from his diary. It is also unclear if some of the details appeared during the editorial work on the notes before publication.


Furthermore, it is very surprising that Gen. Serov does not recount his central role in the drafting of the so-called “Gromyko Memorandum” in the years 1955-1957.


Finally, his notes include a number of factual errors which cast some doubt on the reliability of at least part of his recollections.


Marie Dupuy

Raoul Wallenberg’s niece

Statement from RW’s family


“In the darkest of times, 1944, the 31-year old Raoul Wallenberg was asked to take on a rescue mission in Budapest to save the last remnants of European Jewry. He accepted without hesitation and was attached to the Swedish legation there. He developed protective passports, established so called Swedish houses with access to food and medicine and carried out rescue actions in Budapest and its surroundings. Risking his own life he saved the lives of tens of thousands Jews, at the same time restoring their hope and dignity. When the Soviets troops approached Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg left to negotiate his postwar rescue and reconstruction plans with them. Instead he was arrested, in January 1945, seventy years ago.

Since then the family has lived in hope and despair, hope that their efforts would bear fruit and Raoul would return, despair as their hopes were dashed again and again. In his absence Raoul was and will forever be present in our minds. At the same time we send our warm appreciation to all those who assisted and will continue to assist in the family’s quest to know his fate and keep his memory alive.

We have now decided to lay Raoul to rest and are planning a memorial site. The family had a private gathering at Kappsta outside Stockholm, where Raoul was born in 1912, remembering and mourning. Remembering the creative, engaged, action-oriented young man who rose to the highest levels of humanity to save those in need, mourning that his life in freedom was cut too short, that he himself never was saved and that his fate remains unknown. The declaration of death is a way to deal with the trauma we lived through, to bring one phase to closure and move on. But it will not affect his presence in our lives nor the inspiration he is to us and to the world. Raoul shows that it is possible to rise above our limitations and fears and act with courage for what is right. It is a great comfort to know that he lives on in the many he saved, in their children and grand-children and in those he continues to inspire.

This underlines the need and importance to find the truth about his fate. His mother said she prevailed in her struggle not just for her son but for all disappeared persons. It should just not be possible to disappear, nor should it be accepted.

So the search continues to find out the truth about his fate and recently “The Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative” was launched supported by the family. Researchers are planning a roundtable at the beginning of next year. For all those who want to know more about this initiative or support it, please go to”

The search for justice continues

20-11-2015, by Jerusalem Post,

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.


Fundraising for a Raoul Wallenberg International Roundtable


70 years after the end of WWII and 70 years after Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance in the Soviet Union, the full circumstances of his fate remain unknown. To mark this anniversary, an international group of historians and Wallenberg experts have begun a new initiative intended to bring about a resolution of the case, the Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative RWI-70

The purpose of this initiative is to pool researchers’ knowledge and expertise in order to devise new ways of advancing the search for answers and, in particular, to facilitate access to all pertinent documentation in Russian and other international archives.

Please help us reach our goal, so that we finally discover the full truth about the fate of one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century. We urgently require funds to help cover the costs of travel and accommodations. 

As part of the new Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI) we also intend to conduct a Raoul Wallenberg International Roundtable. This symposium is scheduled to be held in the late autumn of 2015 or early 2016, in either Budapest or Stockholm. It will bring together international researchers, historians and members of Raoul Wallenberg’s family to discuss how to obtain access to key documentation in Russian and other international archives.

At the planned Symposium we intend to prepare a Master List of questions pending in the Raoul Wallenberg case, through intensive discussion with international experts.

We then intend to:

• take this Master List to Moscow, with a small delegation of researchers, who will meet with Russian officials and archivists to address the problem of direct access to key documentation.

• prepare separate Master Lists of questions for other international archives We wish to ensure that even in this increasingly difficult political climate, the door on a constructive dialogue with Russian archivists and officials does not close entirely.

We have had an enthusiastic response from researchers – over seventy individuals and organizations have joined so far, so hopefully this initiative will at the very least make a strong symbolic gesture.

Current supporters of our efforts include the European Commission, B’nai B’rith, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Foundation, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Professor Sabolcs Szita and the Holocaust Memorial Center, Budapest, Sweden’s Living History Forum and the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center. We have also gained the support of individual sponsors such as Jan and Peter Anger (the sons of Per Anger), the former Chairman of the Swedish Working Group in the Wallenberg case, Ambassador Hans Magnusson, the authors John le Carré, Alex Kershaw, Canada’s former Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler and Paul Martin, the former Prime Minister of Canada.

We are especially grateful that many Holocaust survivors and individuals saved by Raoul Wallenberg and the various rescue initiatives in 1944 have also joined in. So have the families of some of Raoul Wallenberg’s fellow prisoners in Russia.