• Sweden's news in English

Soviets lied over Wallenberg death: researchers

AFP/The Local · 3 Apr 2010, 10:39

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.


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

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:

15:49 April 5, 2010 by Cornelius Hamelberg

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 :

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.
Today's headlines
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
jobs available