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Soviets lied over Wallenberg death: researchers

Published: 03 Apr 2010 10:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Apr 2010 10:39 GMT+02:00

Censored documents came to light this week casting doubt on Soviet claims about the wartime fate of the Swedish Holocaust hero, who went missing in January 1945.

A recently surfaced document indicates that Wallenberg may have been alive a week after Soviet officials said he had died of a heart attack, the researchers said.

Vadim Birstein, a researcher with the Swedish-Russian working group on Raoul Wallenberg, called the document "very, very important."

"It shows that what the Soviets said for 60 years was basically lies," the Russian-born US researcher told AFP in a telephone interview.

Wallenberg, who was working as a diplomat in Nazi-occupied Budapest when he managed to rescue tens of thousands of Jews destined for death camps, went missing after his arrest by Soviet forces in Hungary on January 17, 1945.

Since 1957, Soviet and later Russian officials have claimed the Swede died in Soviet custody on July 17, 1947.

His body was never recovered, and for decades, his family and loved ones, as well as experts around the world, have rejected the official Soviet version of his death.

Now Birstein and his German colleague Susanne Berger believe they could be close to proving the official account was a lie.

The pair had for years been receiving copies of heavily censored documents in response to requests for information from the Russian FSB security service archives.

Then suddenly last November, they received a document clearly stating that Wallenberg was "with great likelihood" the same person as a "Prisoner number Seven" interrogated at the Lubyanka prison in Moscow on July 23, 1947.

"The circumstantial evidence seems to be rather strong" that Wallenberg was indeed prisoner number seven," Berger told AFP.

He pointed out that the man in charge of Wallenberg's case had carried out the 16-hour interrogation of number seven, along with Wallenberg's presumed cellmate and his driver.

Although a few possible extra days added to Wallenberg's life may not seem like a big deal, Birstein and Berger said the information was momentous, since it makes a range of alternative fates possible.

"If it is confirmed that prisoner number seven was Wallenberg, all options are again on the table," Berger said.

The Swede could, for example, have died during the July 23 interrogation; been sentenced and transferred to another prison or work camp; or executed.

The Swedish-Russian working group said in a 2001 report that Wallenberg may have been kept alive in Soviet prisons as a possible bargaining chip with the West, even though there was no hard evidence to support that suggestion.

Reported sightings in Soviet prisons over the years fuelled rumours that he could still be alive.

If still alive, Wallenberg would today be 97 years old.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:04 April 4, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Well, there's Hugh Trevor-Roper and there's Trowbridge H. Ford who's talking.

http://philosemitism.blogspot.com/2009/08/behind-humanitarian-mask-sweden-norway.html

http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/?en/wallenberg/fate/raoul-wallenberg-prisoner-nr-7.6427.htm
14:21 April 4, 2010 by Rahelli
He was a great swedish man i bilive he is in haven with GOD.
00:07 April 5, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Sir,

I will attend to the rest of what you say, a little later - in fact would much prefer to meet you, if you are in Stockholm and can squeeze in the time to do so - not everything can be confined to the written or printed word - as you well know...

In the meanwhile please do not be offended by this:

http://www.thelocal.se/blogs/corneliushamelberg/2010/04/05/attn-trowbridge-h-ford-re-soviets-lied-over-wallenberg-death-researchers/
15:49 April 5, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Sir,

You say that "such experience has proven totally counterproductive"

I am different. In humble Cornelius you will only find very basic ignorance in search of enlightenment. But I can also make some suggestions that have probably not crossed your mind before perhaps because you have had no rational basis for entertaining such thoughts, and Sir, the Local Forum is not the best place to do it.

A plot to get our best cousins the Iranians, to assassinate you? Then you must be a friend and now you have made yourself even more mysterious than before. May I add, whyever would our good cousins want to do that to you? You have whetted everyone's curiosity. Please answer the question, now or at some other time, if you will. Mind you, I do not advise you to sell the idea to John le Carré.

You are no doubt aware of how various so called "Western intelligence agencies" worked in this world, throughout the war - and after the war. The relationship between the White House and the Soviets during the war etc. As you know some of this information has been de-classified and researchers are still going over it - and in so far as their results may not have all been made public or published, we're still talking about secret histories about covert activities. In that light (my own understanding about some of this) I only wanted to ask you a few questions - the sort that I cannot hang out in the street, to dry. No one , not even the man of dust wants to compromise his sources - about anything.

By "Western intelligence agencies" you mean Western Governments. I should think that Sweden - and the rest of the world behind the Iron curtain had many bargaining chips and many informal contacts with our Russian neighbours across the ocean

Zoia for instance painted an iconic a portrait of Brezhnev - by iconic I mean like the Russian Orthodox Church icons with much gold in the background, surrounding him like a halo - and this was some time after the Vodka episode ( the Yom Kippur war period ) that that Millionmile man was talking about.

You must never underestimate the Iranians.

I anticipate the sheer pleasure in meeting you perhaps even just for a cup of tea. In any case, a Happy Easter Monday to you - and just in case you don't believe in such things as the bodily ascent through space, perhaps this will cheer you up :

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/covers.php?showme=1259&
19:11 April 5, 2010 by Alasdair MacCorquodale
A great man.

Could not the information smuggled to the West by the former KBG archivist Vasily Mitrokhin have included some information on Wallenberg?
20:46 August 3, 2011 by Jessie44
I'm more surprised when russians don't lie vs. when they lie. Sad, but a true story.
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