Mystery in History Disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg Part 2

About the mystery in history involoving the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg in World War II including possible solutions.


The Event: The Disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg

But the Wallenberg file kept popping open. In 1961 a Russian physician, Dr. Aleksandr Myashnikov, confided to a Swedish colleague, Dr. Nana Svartz, that Wallenberg was alive and incarcerated in a mental asylum near Moscow. Again pressed by Sweden to investigate the matter, Soviet officials produced Dr. Myashnikov, who in an understandable attempt to protect himself, denied having said any such thing. In 1979 Jan Kaplan, a Soviet Jew recently released from prison, wrote his daughter in Tel Aviv that, while in the Butyrka prison hospital in Moscow recuperating from a heart attack in 1975, he had met a 63-year-old Swede who claimed to have been in prison for 30 years. When this news became public, Kaplan was immediately rearrested.

Wallenberg's family continues to believe that he is still alive, vegetating in some Russian prison. In May, 1980, his half sister, Mrs. Nina Lagergren, and his half brother, Guy von Dardel, joined with human rights advocates from around the world to marshal public opinion against Soviet silence on Wallenberg's fate. The cause celebre has reached such proportions in Sweden in recent years that Stockholm has abandoned its traditional obsequious attitude toward Moscow and has begun to demand full disclosure.

But why? Why would the Soviet Union go to such lengths to hold a Swedish humanitarian who posed no apparent threat to them whatever? One answer may be that the Russian army of occupation in Hungary simply could not believe that a Scandinavian gentile from a capitalist family would risk his life to save a clutch of East European Jews without an ulterior motive. Russian authorities interrogated Wallenberg's associates in Hungary and learned that his rescue operation had been funded entirely by the U.S. Was the Swede, then, an American spy? Would his campaign to restore confiscated property threaten Soviet plans to impose communism on Hungary? And how did Wallenberg survive so long as a highly visible champion of Jews in a Nazi controlled country? Why did the Germans tolerate him? The Russians may have suspected that he collaborated with the Germans against the Russians in exchange for more tolerant treatment of the Jews. But if the Soviets had taken Wallenberg prisoner in 1945, why did they not release him in 1957 when they acknowledged his imprisonment? Since they blamed his wrongful detention on Stalinist excesses, why would it have been necessary to say that he had died if in fact he was still alive? That is the hardest question to answer. As for why Soviet authorities do not release him now in the face of intensifying international criticism, those who believe that he is still alive argue that perhaps after 36 years in the brutal Russian prison system the 68-year-old might be an emotional basket case. To release the hero of Sweden and world Jewry in such a condition after maintaining that he was dead all these years would deliver a devastating propaganda defeat to the Soviets.

In January, 1981, the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Association held an international conference in Stockholm. In attendance were lawyers, politicians, and scientists from eight Western nations. After listening to testimony from former Soviet prisoners, the association issued this statement: "There is every reason to believe that Raoul Wallenberg is still alive. The hearing requests the Soviet authorities to reexamine the case promptly and to return Raoul Wallenberg to his family."

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