(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
On January 17 we commemorated the 71st anniversary of the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg in the Gulag, and the mystery of his tragic fate continues to haunt us to this very day.
On January 17, 1945, Raoul Wallenberg, the young Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest, gave himself up together with his driver of his own free will to the oncoming Soviet forces. The Russians imprisoned him, apparently on the charge of spying for the Americans, and later announced that he had died in prison in 1947.
However, as late as the 1980s there were reports of other prisoners seeing a sick and elderly Swede in prison cells and psychiatric hospitals who told them that he was Wallenberg.
I myself, in the 1980s when I was chairman of the Jerusalem Rescue Wallenberg Committee, interviewed an elderly Russian immigrant who swore to me that he had met an old and sick Swede in a prison hospital in Krasnoyarsk who told him that he was Raoul Wallenberg who had saved thousands of Jews.
At around this time I wrote and recorded a song about Raoul and his fate called “For You Raoul” in which I appealed to the Soviet president to free Raoul and right a grievous wrong. But the Russian leaders and the KGB never showed any readiness to open their archives and reveal the truth about the fate of Wallenberg, and Swedish officialdom never showed any eagerness in solving his case.
On the other hand, Raoul’s step-brother, Guy von Dardel, spent many decades searching for evidence in Soviet archives about his fate and died recently without discovering the truth. To this day, his devoted nieces, Louise and Marie, continue to pursue the search for their uncle.
In the light of the above I appeal to President Putin to finally shed light on the true fate of the great rescuer of the Holocaust to whom so many Hungarian Jews owe their lives.
President Putin, on this the 71st anniversary of the disappearance of Raoul, use your authority and integrity to answer the prayers of thousands of people in Israel and other parts of the world and reveal the truth about the fate of Wallenberg and earn the undying gratitude of countless people for whom Wallenberg is a unique symbol and shining angel of rescue.