THE RAOUL WALLENBERG
OF THE UNITED STATES
15 West 16th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011
THE RAOUL WALLENBERG CASE
Compiled by Diane
January 17, 1945: Wallenberg
and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder , left Budapest for
a meeting with the Russian Commander, Marshal Malinovsky,
in Debrecen, Hungary. On the way, he and his driver were
taken into "protective custody" by the Soviet
NKVD, the secret police later known as the KGB. The Soviet
deputy foreign minister, Vladimir Dekanosov, notified
the Swedish Ambassador in Moscow that Wallenberg was in
Russian hands; "The Russian military authorities
have taken measures to protect Raoul Wallenberg and his
belongings," said the note.
January 21, 1945: (Wallenberg
and his driver were placed in separate cells in Lubianka
Prison in Moscow.) Wallenberg was placed in cell 123.
His cell mate was Gustav Richter, a police attache at
the German embassy in Rumania until the Russian takeover.
Richter was moved on March 1, 1945, thus ending his contact
February 1945: Wallenberg
and his driver were placed in separate cells in Lubianka
Prison in Moscow. Maj von Dardel, Wallenberg's mother,
was informed by the Russian ambassador to Sweden, Alexandra
Kollontai , that her son was safe in Russia and would
be back soon. The family was asked not to make a major
issue of Raoul's absence. His safe return was assured.
(Note: Ambassador Kollontai was recalled and never allowed
to leave the U.S.S.R. again).
March 8, 1945: Soviet controlled
radio in Hungary falsely reported that Wallenberg had
been murdered in route to Debrecen, probably by Hungarian
Arrow Cross or still at large agents of the Gestapo.
June 1945: A German, Erhard
Hiele, meets Wallenberg in prison. He confirmed this fact
to Swedish authorities in 1955 upon his release.
January/February 1947: Bernard
Rensinghoff communicates with Raoul Wallenberg in Lefortovo
Prison in Moscow. Rensinghoff was in cell 161 while Wallenberg
and his cell mate Willi Roedel were in Cell 203. They
communicated by knocking on the wall. Wallenberg told
Rensinghoff of his work in Budapest and his capture. He
gave his address as Stockholm. A great deal of time was
spent by Rensinghoff helping Wallenberg write a memorandum
in French to Stalin. Wallenberg, pointing to his diplomatic
status, requested that he be given the opportunity to
contact the Swedish Legation in Moscow. Some time later,
Wallenberg received a message acknowledging that his petition
had been received. At Wallenberg's interrogation (the
first in two years since his arrest), the KGB commissar
told him that his case was quite clear. He was a "political"
case. If he considered himself innocent, the onus was
on him to prove it. Their proof that Wallenberg was guilty
was based on the fact that the Swedish government and
the legation in Moscow had done nothing on Wallenberg's
behalf. Wallenberg requested that he be able to contact
the Legation or the Red Cross - at least to write to them.
This request was denied on the basis that they had long
since forgotten him and didn't care about him. Wallenberg
was also told that, for political reasons, he would never
be convicted. After tapping a message about this interrogation,
Wallenberg's final message was, "We are being taken
February 24, 1947: The chief
of the 4th section of the third main department of the
MGB , Colonel Kartashov, wrote in his order on this date:
"I am asking to transfer the war prisoners Roedel,
Willi and Wallenberg, Raoul who are kept in cell number
203 of Lefortovo Prison to Inner Prison (Lubianka Prison)
of MGB and to put them together in cell number 7 and to
receive food rations on the nutritional level of an Officer
War Prisoner" (the highest food level in the hierarchy
of prisoners in Lefortovo)
July 17, 1947: Russian date
of Raoul Wallenberg's death of a heart attack at age 34.
July 22, 1947: All prisoners
who had shared a cell with Wallenberg were questioned
by the NKVD, asked with whom they had talked about Wallenberg,
and then placed in solitary confinement for a year or
more. All were warned never to speak of Wallenberg again.
August 18, 1947: Soviet
Foreign Minister, Andrei Vishinsky, formally informed
the Swedish government that a "search of prisoner
of war camps and other establishments had turned up no
trace of Wallenberg. In short, "Wallenberg is not
in the Soviet Union and is unknown to us". The note
concluded with the "assumption" that Wallenberg
had either been killed in the battle for Budapest or kidnapped
and murdered by Nazis or Hungarian Fascists.
December 1947: Andrei Skimkevitch,
a Soviet prisoner from 1930 to 1957 and stepson of sculptor
Jacques Lipchitz, tells of being in a cell with Raoul
Wallenberg in December 1947.
April 1945-April 1948: Claudio
de Mohr, released Italian diplomat, told of being in a
cell next to a Swede named Wallenberg with whom he communicated
by tapping code messages on the wall in Lefortovo Prison.
August 1948: Corpus II hospital
block of Vladimir Prison, a Swiss prisoner named Brugger
"talked" by tapping code on his cell wall. "The
Swede in the next cell identified himself as Wallenberg,
First Secretary Swedish Legation, Budapest, 1945."
He asked Brugger to contact any Swedish embassy or consulate
and report this information, if he ever was released.
1948/1949: There are a many
reported sightings of Raoul Wallenberg having been incarcerated
in the labor camps in the area of Vorkuta or in the village
of Khalmer-Yu to the north of Vorkuta. Menachem Meltzer
, an Austrian Jew, in a report filed by the Swedish Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, stated enroute to Israel in the 1970's
that as a prisoner physician in the village of Khalmer-Yu
in 1948, he treated Raoul Wallenberg. Evidentiary statements
have been obtained from former German prisoners of war
incarcerated in labor camps in Vorkuta about seeing Raoul
Wallenberg in Vorkuta in the late 1940's. These individuals
are Helmut Schneider, Aurel von Juchen, Dr. Hugo Bischoff
and Kurt Steinke. Theodor von Dufving, a German prisoner
of war has provided evidentiary statements that en route
to Vorkuta in February of 1949, in the transit camp in
Kirov, he encountered a prisoner with his own special
guard and dressed in civilian clothes who stated that
he was a Swedish diplomat and was there "through
a great error."
1951: Abraham Kalinski,
former Soviet prisoner, was told of Wallenberg by another
prisoner, David Vendrovsky, a Jewish author who had shared
a prison cell with Wallenberg. Vendrovsky reported that
Wallenberg was both very interesting and exceedingly sympathetic.
February 1952: Swedish communique
to Russians demanding an explanation and further information
on Wallenberg. This note was based on the evidence provided
by Claudio de Mohr from 1945 to 1948 in Lefortovo Prison.
1952: Stalin ordered the
arrest of a group of prominent Jewish doctors, his plan
was to stage a show trial of "imperialist, Zionist
agents". Raoul Wallenberg was to be the main defendant,
according to former high-ranking Hungarian communist officials
now living in the West. Until Stalin's death in March
of 1953, hundreds were interrogated by Colonel N. Abrasimov
, the top Soviet "advisor" to the Hungarian
secret police. Abrasimov is quoted as having said: "It
is most important for us and for you to get adequate proof,
supported by testimonies, that Raoul Wallenberg was an
American agent." Many such "testimonies"
were produced. They said that Wallenberg, the man who
saved the lives of some 100,000 Budapest Jews, really
wanted to save only influential Jews who could serve as
agents of the "capitalist West". When Stalin
died, preparations for the trial stopped. Abrasimov was
recalled to Moscow and later executed. A new contingent
of Soviet "advisors" arrived in Budapest, headed
by a secret police General V. Ischenko. He spent months
re-interrogating those who had earlier "confessed"
that there was a capitalist/Zionist conspiracy and that
Wallenberg played a leading role in it. Since Wallenberg
was to be tried in 1953, he cannot have died in prison
in 1947 as the KGB had stated to the Swedish Government.
1952-1953: On July 2, 1964,
Rudolf Hendrich-Winter von Schwab gave a statement to
the Swedish Government about his imprisonment with Wallenberg
in the special political prison in Warchne-Uralsk in the
South Urals. He first met Wallenberg on December 12, 1952.
Wallenberg told him that he was a Swede and to the question
of how long he had been imprisoned, he stated "1945,
end of the war, 25 years "Saotschno" (secret
judgement from Moscow, no appeal)" Von Schwab was
then taken away from Wallenberg. He mete Wallenberg again
in mid September of 1953 in a sick cell. Wallenberg stated
that he had been operated on in "Magnitka" and
had lain there for about eight weeks of convalescence
alone. One of the remarks made by Wallenberg to von Schwab
was: "They had never operated on me before and now,
after Stalin's death, they have operated on me and take
care of me. Since they did not let me die during the operation,
that is a good sign for me."
1953: Abraham Kalinski saw
Wallenberg several times exercising in the prison yard
with other prisoners.
1953: General G. Kuprianov,
a hero of the Soviet Union, (jailed during the Stalinist
purges of 1948 and released by Khrushchev in 1956), met
Raoul Wallenberg for the first time during a prison transfer.
Kuprianov meet Wallenberg again in 1955
while being transferred to Vladimir Prison.
January 1955: Abraham Kalinski
reports having seen Wallenberg during a prisoner transfer
to Vladimir Prison. They were on the same train.
January/February 1955: An
Austrian informs the Swedes of having been in a cell with
Wallenberg for one night in Corpus II of Vladimir Prison.
Wallenberg told him that he had spent years in solitary
confinement. He asked the Austrian to contact any Swedish
diplomatic mission should he be released and say that
they had met. "If you forget my name, just a Swede
from Budapest and they'll know who you mean". Prison
officials removed the Austrian the next morning and warned
him not to talk to other prisoners about seeing Wallenberg
on pain of life imprisonment.
1955: Rigid investigative
procedures pertaining to the Wallenberg case were established
1. Hearsay evidence is excluded.
2. Only information from direct contact with Wallenberg
or Langfelder is acceptable.
3. Each witness is kept in ignorance as to the testimony
of all other witnesses.
4. All statements have to be given under oath and are
scrutinized by a veteran criminal investigator.
1956: Kuprianov meets Wallenberg
again, but couldn't speak to one another at the prison
1956: Kalinski became a
cell mate at Vladimir Prison of Simon Gogoberidse, a Georgian
Social Democrat, who had been kidnapped from Paris by
the KGB where he was a political refugee. Gogoberidse
told Kalinski of sharing a cell with Wallenberg. (Wallenberg
was always made to share cells with Soviet citizens serving
long sentences, never with foreigners. This reduced the
risk of evidence about him getting out.
March 10, 1956: A Swedish
note was sent to the Kremlin stating that "complete
evidence" existed, and that it was clear Wallenberg
had been held as a suspected spy by the USSR. This was
accompanied by a statement signed by two Swedish Supreme
Court justices saying that "all conditions seemed
fulfilled to enable the Russians to trace Wallenberg and
send him home".
March 19, 1956: Russian
reply to the Swedish inquiry was that a thorough investigation
had confirmed that Wallenberg was not, and never had been,
in the Soviet Union. The Kremlin added, "that it
was impossible to accept the testimony of war criminals
whose information was in disagreement with the results
of their own thorough investigation."
Easter 1956: Swedish Prime
Minister Tage Erlander met with Nikita Khrushchev. In
spite of Soviet opposition, he raised the Wallenberg question
and handed over copies of the testimony gathered by the
Swedish Government over the years. He received the stock
answer that Wallenberg was not and never had been in the
April 1956: A German Prisoner
named Mulle, sent to Vladimir prison in 1956, shared a
cell with Gogoberidse, who told him that Wallenberg had
been in solitary for several years as of 1956. He also
said that after Prime Minister Erlander's visit to Russia,
a prison political officer said, "They'll have to
look for a long time to find Wallenberg".
April 1956: Rehemkampf,
another German prisoner later released, reports that the
same story about Wallenberg was given to him that month
by Gogoberise. This information was given separately from
April 5, 1956: A Russian
communique to the Swedish Government stated that the USSR
agreed to study the Swedish documentation and added that
if Wallenberg was in the USSR, he would "naturally"
be allowed to return home.
July 14, 1956: Soviet Ambassador
Rodinov informed the Swedish Foreign Office that results
could soon be expected.
February 2, 1957: In a note
to the Swedish Government signed by Deputy Foreign Minister
Andrei Gromyko, the Soviets claimed that Wallenberg had
died on July 17, 1947. The note contained a handwritten
report by a Colonel Smoltsov, head of Lubianka Prison's
health service, to Viktor Abakumov, minister of state
security. Supposedly written on July 17, 1947, the note
February 19, 1957: Sweden's
Ambassador to Moscow, Rolf Sohlman, delivered a very strongly
worded response to the Soviets, holding them responsible
for Wallenberg's fate and urged a continued investigation.
February 1957: Evidence
by the unnamed Austrian and his report of having shared
a cell with Wallenberg in 1955 was acquired.
March 1959: Abraham Kalinski
wrote a postcard in Yiddish to his sister in Haifa, Israel.
He mentioned a Swede.
August 1959: Kalinski again
wrote his sister, this time in Polish, "that the
only foreigners now left in the prison, apart from myself,
are one Italian and one Swede who saved many Jews in Rumania
during the War".
1959: Swedish/Russian communiques:
The Swedish Government, responding to the testimony of
the German returnees Mulle and Rehemkampf (April 1956),
sent several strongly worded notes to the Russians merely
to reiterate the story of Wallenberg's death in 1947.
They also accuse elements of trying to poison Swedish/Soviet
1960: Another Swedish communique
to the Soviets. Signed by two Supreme Court justices,
the message states that evidence clearly points to Wallenberg's
survival, at least up to early 1950.
1961: In early 1979, the
Soviet dissident Uri Belov passed through Vienna on his
way out of Russia. He went with Simon Wiesenthal to the
Swedish Embassy. Belov said that Wallenberg had staged
a hunger strike in Moscow's Butyrka Prison in
1961. As a result, he was
transferred to a psychiatric clinic.
1961: American student from
the University of Pennsylvania arrested for espionage
while touring the Soviet Union in the summer of 1961,
Marvin Makinen, is imprisoned at Vladimir Prison for twenty
months. While at Vladimir, Makinen's cell mate is a Latvian
prisoner, Kruminsh, who had also been a cell mate of Gary
Powers. Upon arriving at a labor camp in
August 1963, Makinen was
questioned about his former cell mates by an older political
prisoner. When Makinen mentioned Kruminsh's name, the
older prisoner was disgusted. "Kruminsh, that son
of a bitch. He got to sit with all the foreign prisoners",
the man grumbled. "He got to sit with Powers, he
got to sit with you, Marvin, and he got to sit with the
Swedish prisoner Vandenberg". It wasn't the first
time Makinen had heard about a Swedish prisoner. Both
an earlier cell mate and even Kruminsh had mentioned that
a Swedish prisoner had been held in Vladimir Prison. A
year after his release in October of 1963, Makinen was
invited to the Swedish embassy in Washington to recount
how he learned about the Swedish prisoner. This time,
he was informed that Vandenberg had been a Swedish diplomat
in Budapest who had helped Jews escape the Nazis, and
that the man had not been heard from since Soviet troops
moved into Budapest in 1945 That man was Raoul Wallenberg.
January 27, 1961: Professor
Nanna Svartz of Sweden has a routine meeting in Moscow
with Professor Aleksander Miashnikov. Professor Svartz,
a physician from Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital (where
Wallenberg's stepfather served as administrator) was a
close friend of the von Dardel family. Wallenberg's mother,
Maj von Dardel, was her patient. Professor Svartz and
Professor Miashnikov often discussed medical matters of
a highly technical nature together after the conferences.
Their language of choice was always German. Dr. Svartz
asked on January 27, 1961 to discuss "a matter close
to my heart and the hearts of other Swedes." She
gave an account of Raoul Wallenberg and asked the Russian
doctor if he knew of him and his whereabouts. Dr. Miashnikov
replied in a low voice, "that the person inquired
about was in a mental hospital." Dr. Miashnikov also
told her that he had personally examined Wallenberg. A
Russian colleague was called in for consultation, and
it was decided that Dr Svartz should proceed through diplomatic
channels. Dr. Svartz returned to Sweden and informed Prime
Minister Tage Erlander, an old friend, of her conversation
February 9, 1961: A
personal letter from Erlander to Khrushchev is delivered
by the Swedish Ambassador: "I now wish to inform
you that I have been informed by Swedish physician, Professor
Nanna Svartz, who visited Moscow at the end of January
1961, that Wallenberg was alive at that time and that
he was a patient at a mental hospital in Moscow. His health
was not good. Dr. Svartz got this information from an
internationally known prominent representative of Soviet
March 1961: Dr. Svartz returned
to Moscow. She saw Miashnikov and asked to see Wallenberg
in the hospital. He said that this would have to be "decided
in higher quarters, unless he is dead". Dr. Svartz
then answered that this must have happened quite recently
if it had occurred. Dr. Svartz sensed that all was not
well. Miashnikov, who was so important that he was chairman
to Khrushchev's personal physician, said that Dr. Svartz
should not have told the Swedish Government of their conversation.
He told Dr. Svartz that he had been summoned before Khrushchev,
who had been furious, pounding on his desk and finally
ordering him out of his office. Miashnikov now claimed
to know nothing of Wallenberg, and declared that his poor
German (which they had used together for years) had caused
the misunderstanding. May 1962: Dr. Svartz again met Professor
Miashnikov at a medical congress. When Wallenberg was
again mentioned, he said that no further private talks
on the subject could be held.
August 17, 1962: Second
Erlander letter about Wallenberg to Khrushchev. No reply.
1962: Efim Moshinsky, a
Soviet emigre living in Israel, stated that he had seen
Raoul Wallenberg as a prisoner with other secretly kept
prisoners on Wrangel's Island in 1962. Similar information
was also given through files released by the CIA in December
1963: Ex-British spy, Greville
Wynne, told BBC audiences of an incident in Moscow's Lubianka
Prison in early 1963. "One day when taken in the
tiny cagelike lift to the roof for solitary exercise,
Wynne heard another cage coming into the next pen. As
the gate opened, he heard a voice call out 'Taxi'. Given
the filthy condition of the lifts, this piece of defiant
humor was greatly appreciated. Five days later when it
happened again, Wynne called out, 'Are you an American?'
The voice answered, 'No, I'm Swedish.'" Nothing further
could be learned. Guards restrained both prisoners. 1962-1964:
Dr. Svartz is unable to renew any contact with Dr. Miashnikov.
April 1964: Soviet Foreign
Minister Andrei Gromyko visits Stockholm. Erlander again
presses for an answer and suggests a meeting between Dr.
Svartz and Miashnikov.
April 29, 1964: Letter from
Miashnikov to Dr. Svartz denying any knowledge of Raoul
May 28, 1964: Dr. Svartz
writes a letter to Dr. Miashnikov reminding him of all
their untroubled conversations in the 1950's as well as
untroubled discussions after their January 27, 1961 meeting.
She also recalls in detail that conversation once again.
1964: Swedish Prime Minister,
Tage Erlander, turns down an offer from the Soviet Union
to trade Raoul Wallenberg for Soviet spy Stig Wennerstrom
then in prison in Sweden. The offer was made by the Soviet
KGB and was first made to Swedish authorities in the autumn
of 1965. This offer was confirmed in 1991 by the participants
in this offer, Otto Danielsson and Carl Persson of the
Swedish Government and the go-between with the Soviets,
Carl Gustav Svingel, who now lives in Berlin. The seriousness
of this proposed spy swap was also confirmed by the late
Swedish Prime Minister, Tage Erlander. When Svingel asked
his Soviet counterpart if Wallenberg lived, he was informed
that "We usually don't negotiate about dead people."
Col. Stig Wennerstrom was sentenced to life in prison
on June 12, 1964 and was an important spy for the Soviet
Union. According to Danielsson, the Swedish Government
felt that if they gave up Wennerstrom to the Soviets,
who then gave him a good pension, then he would be a heavy
argument at the recruitment of new spies. As Wallenberg
was not a spy, the Swedish Government was not going to
barter for him. While the Cabinet of Sweden decided against
the swap on the grounds that they would not deal with
the KGB, the fact that it was proposed by Soviet agents
clearly establishes THAT WALLENBERG WAS ALIVE AFTER THE
SOVIET SUPPOSED DATE OF DEATH IN 1947. The KGB offer was
also confirmed in May 1992 by Finnish and by German (following
the reunification of Germany) sources. The Swedish press
released the news of this release effort in April 1991.
July 1965: A meeting was
arranged in Moscow between the two doctors. It was held
in the presence of Swedish Ambassador Gunnar Jarring and
two representatives of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, one
of whom acted as interpreter. A three hour discussion
conducted in Swedish and Russian (no German) produced
no new results. Miashnikov again said that Dr. Svartz
must have misunderstood his syntax.
September 1965: A "White
Book" was published by the Swedish Foreign Ministry
making public the recent inter-changes with the Soviet
Union, including the Svartz affair. The Swedish public
and Swedish press were outraged by the disclosures.
November 1965: Dr. Aleksandr
Miashnikov died suddenly. He had appeared to be in good
health and was in his early sixties.
January 1970: A young Hungarian
visiting Stockholm read about Wallenberg for the first
time in a Swedish newspaper. He went to Maj von Dardel
and told her of a lunch with a woman friend whose father
was a senior Hungarian Government official. (The Swedes
confirmed the existence of both the official and his daughter).
At lunch, the father mentioned that a Swedish diplomat
named Raoul Wallenberg, who had been active in Budapest
during the War, was at the time in a Soviet camp in Siberia.
1974: An unnamed informant
said that he had seen Wallenberg in Vadivovo camp near
the Siberian city of Iskutsk from 1966-1967. He was old
looking with then, white hair and had been very ill. He
was called "Roniboni" by the other prisoners.
November 1977: Jan Kaplan
was released from prison after only 18 months of a four
year prison sentence. The former administrator of an operatic
studio in Moscow was 66 years old in 1977. He had been
jailed for "economic crimes"; namely, currency
offenses and the illegal purchase of diamonds in preparation
for emigration from the Soviet Union. A telephone call
from Jan Kaplan in Moscow to his daughter, Anna Kaplan
Bilder, a dentist is Jaffa, Israel. When questioned about
prison conditions by his daughter, he assured her that
conditions were not too difficult. "Why when I was
in Butyrka Prison Hospital in 1975, I met a Swede who
told me he had been in Soviet prisons for thirty years,
and he seemed reasonably healthy to me".
1978: Conid Lubarsky, a
Soviet dissident living in Munich, reported the following
information from a reliable source in Moscow: "In
1978, in Blagovischnsk special psychiatric hospital, one
old Swede was held. His physical state was very bad. He
had been in confinement for a long time, maybe since World
War II. His name was unknown to my informants, but they
speculated that this man could be Wallenberg."
May 1, 1978: A young Soviet
Jewish immigrant to Israel, who wished to remain anonymous
because of his family in the Soviet Union, tells of a
party at the Moscow home of a senior KGB officer on May
Day 1978: "Much vodka was drunk and the younger men
at the party began to speak of dissidents and the rough
time they must have in prison. The KGB officer burst out
and said, "Don't you believe it; things aren't so
tough nowadays as they used to be. Why I have a Swede
under my charge in Lubianka who's been inside for over
30 years!" The young Russian heard of Wallenberg
in Israel for the first time and then went to the Swedish
Embassy in Israel where he filed a report.
October 1978: Abraham Kalinski,
the Polish emigre who had reported seeing Wallenberg from
1955 to 1959, heard about Anna Bilder's conversation with
her father via the Russian emigre grapevine. He met her
and she gave him a detailed account of the conversation.
December 1978: From
the United States, Kalinski telephoned the Kaplan home
in Moscow. Kaplan's wife, Eugenia, took the call and said
her husband was not available. She did confirm his report
of meeting a Swede in Butyrka Prison in 1975.
December 20, 1978: Abraham
Kalinski met with two Swedish Foreign Office representatives
at the Swedish Consulate in New York. He told his own
story and then repeated Jan Kaplan's story.
December 1978: The Swedish
Foreign Office in Tel Aviv contacted Anna Bilder and invited
her in for an interview.
1979: General Kuprianov,
now free in Leningrad, learned that Wallenberg had not
yet been released. The General was surprised, as he knew
that Wallenberg had been sentenced to 25 years in prison
in either 1945 or 1946 and should thus have been released
no later than 1971.
January 1979: Sweden formally
re-opened the Wallenberg case based on this newest evidence.
January 3, 1979: Swedish
note to Russians requesting an investigation of new information.
January 24, 1979:
Russian reply: "There is not, and cannot be, anything
new regarding the fate of Raoul Wallenbeg. As already
stated on innumerable occasions, he died July 1947, and
the assertions that he was in the Soviet Union as late
as 1975 are not in accordance with facts."
February 1979: An article
about Kuprianov's meeting with Wallenberg appeared in
a Russian emigre newspaper in the United States. Kuprianov
was interrogated by the KGB and warned to have no further
contact with Western journalists.
February 3, 1979: Jan Kaplan's
home was searched and Jan Kaplan is arrested again.
February 1979: Anna Bilder
learns that her sick father is again in prison. She receives
three anonymous phone calls (two in Russian) warning her
not to speak of Wallenberg for her father's sake.
May 1979: A Swedish newspaper
picked up the Kuprianov story about Wallenberg.
May 1979: General Kuprianov is
interrogated a second time. The KGB accuses him of collaborating
with Western journalists. A KGB colonel demands that Kuprianov
help refute these "American/Israeli provocations."
Kuprianov refused to deny his statements. The KGB told
him that "no doubt he would be ready to give in at
the next questioning".
May 1979: Kuprianov said
to I.L. (a friend who later informed Simon Wiesenthal),
"I do not know if I will be able to manage that questioning".
The KGB recalled the general a few days after his conversation
Mrs. Kuprianov was sent for by the KGB and told that the
general had died of a heart attack. While she was at the
interrogation center, her apartment was searched and all
the general's papers and documents were removed.
May 1979: At Lubianka Prison
on a visit to her husband, Eugenia Kaplan was told by
the KGB colonel in charge that her husband was accused
of anti-Soviet propaganda in Israel. He also said that
Jan Kaplan's health and fate depended on Anna Bilder's
June 14, 1979: Eugenia Kaplan
in Moscow writes to her daughter. Anna Bilder receives
the letter in July of 1979 in Israel. The letter says
that Jan Kaplan was again in prison because he tried to
smuggle out a letter to his daughter about Wallenberg.
The letter was discovered by the KGB.
July 23, 1979: Anna Bilder
disclosed the contents of her mother's letter to American
author John Bierman. Mrs. Bilder consulted Abraham Kalinski
and together they took the letter to the Swedish embassy
in Tel Aviv. It was photo-copied and the original went
to Sweden by diplomatic pouch. Sweden's experts, after
careful study, were fully convinced of its authenticity.
August 22, 1979: Swedish
Prime Minister, Ola Ullsten, intervened personally and
sent a letter to Soviet Prime Minister Alexi Kosygin,
requesting that the Wallenberg case be reopened and that
a Swedish embassy official be allowed to interview Kaplan,
if necessary in the presence of Soviet officials.
August 28, 1979:
Again, the Russians stuck by their 1947 story. Prime Minister
Ullsten issued a statement calling the Soviet attitude
deplorable. He also said that the whole truth of Wallenberg's
disappearance was still not at hand and that Sweden would
continue its pursuit of the truth. 1981: A report was
filed by Kronid Lyubarsky, living at that time in Munich,
that an elderly Swede was imprisoned in the hospital of
the Blagoveshchensk Prison and Psychiatric Facility. This
report was later confirmed by Swedish businessman, Kenne
Fant, who met an eyewitness in the 1980's who described
an elderly Swede imprisoned in Blagoveshchensk who had
to be treated for frostbite.
1981: Yaakov Menaker, a
former Soviet army officer who later emigrated to Israel,
claimed that Leonid Brezhnev, (then leader of the Soviet
Union), was responsible for the arrest and imprisonment
of Wallenberg in 1945. In 1984, Ukrainian religious and
national rights campaigner, Josyp Terelya, wrote to the
Wallenberg Committee in Stockholm and also placed the
responsibility for Wallenberg's fate on Leonid Brezhnev.
October 5, 1981: President
Ronald Reagan signs into law a bill making Raoul Wallenberg
an honorary citizen of the United States.
February 8, 1985: Josyp
Terelya is arrested and sentenced on August 20th to seven
years in labor camps and five years exile. He had already
spent over 18 years in prisons, labor camps and mental
hospitals. In a letter to his wife, Olena, he wrote about
being questioned by KGB agent Korsun. At the end of the
interrogation, agent Korsun said, "Terelya, we can
do anything. Look at Raoul Wallenberg for example. Even
in the Swedish Government, there are people who are tired
of the clamor around his name. And who are you? There
isn't even any sense in giving you a long sentence. A
year's enough, but where is the guarantee that one of
the criminals won't cut your throat? And if it's necessary,
we'll throw you into a cell with Raoul Wallenberg. There
you could help each other."
August, 1987: Wallenberg
reported being seen in a prison camp 150 miles from Moscow.
He had the flu in the summer of 1987 and was well again
by October 1987. This information came from sources in
Eastern Europe and was given to the Raoul Wallenberg Committee
of the United States in New York in February 1988.
October 1989: Raoul Wallenberg's
sister, Nina Lagergren, his brother, Guy von Dardel, Ambassador
Per Anger and Sonya Sonnenfeld from the Swedish Raoul
Wallenberg Committee visited Moscow at the invitation
of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was their
first visit to the USSR to discuss the fate of Raoul Wallenberg
with officials since he disappeared. During the meeting,
they were given the following items connected with Raoul
Wallenberg's case: A report on his purported death on
July 17, 1947 and his cremation written by Dr. A. Smoltsov
(then head of medical services at the KGB Lubianka Prison),
a diplomatic passport, two identification documents, two
food ration cards, notebooks, a sum of money in American
, Swiss, Swedish and Hungarian currency, and a number
of personal items. The KGB claimed to have discovered
these articles "by accident... During this meeting,
Nina Lagergren was given a piece of paper to sign. She
was told by the KGB that it was a receipt for Raoul's
belongings. Mrs. Lagergren does not speak or read Russian,
but Sonya Sonnenfeld does. Sonya looked at the paper and
was shocked. It was not a receipt at all. Instead it was
a statement saying that Raoul Wallenberg's family agrees
that the Soviet Union has done all they can on the Wallenberg
case and that the family agrees that the case is closed.
(This was told by Sonya Sonnenfeld at the annual meeting
of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the U.S.) Needless
to say, Mrs. Lagergren did not sign the paper.
Three days later, officials gave
them a prison registration file (dated February 6, 1945)
which they claimed had been discovered only since the
family arrived in the USSR.This card identifies Raoul
Wallenberg as a Swedish citizen and diplomat and indicates
his official arrest to have been made on January 19, 1945
by SMERSH. This was the first acknowledgement that Raoul
Wallenberg had indeed been arrested by Soviet authorities.
During their meetings, Soviet officials are aid to have
expressed their condolences about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg
and to have repeated the claim made in 1957 by then Foreign
Minister Andrei Gromyko, that Raoul Wallenberg died in
1947. They also claimed that all other supporting evidence
had been destroyed and that all the individuals responsible
for his incarceration have since been executed or have
died. Many have expressed doubt about these claims. Andrei
Sakharov, for instance, expressed the view that documentation
on a foreign diplomat would almost certainly have been
kept from destruction. Others have questioned how the
Smoltsov report alone could have been kept intact. The
Soviet bureaucracy kept meticulous files. The files were
kept in three tiers: Personal (placement, transport, food
rations, medical, personal letters of appeal), Interrogative
(interrogations and sentences, with or without tribunal
or court proceedings) and Operative files (files comprised
of information provided to the authorities by cell informants).
July 1990: Guy von Dardel
is informed through the Soviet Embassy in Geneva that
his request was approved by the Central Committee of the
Communist Party to organize an investigatory commission
of independent experts to examine the archives of Vladimir
Prison for evidence of Raoul Wallenberg's imprisonment
there. The commission is called the Soviet/International
Commission on the Fate and Whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg.
The work of the Commission was unprecedented. A number
of major discoveries were made which for the first time
were documented by records and had been previously only
assumed or rumored. Although direct evidence of Raoul
Wallenberg's fate beyond 1947 was not found, several important
discoveries directly relevant to his case were made:
1. The KGB employed a system of
assigning numbers rather than names for special prisoners
and prison authorities, including the prison physician,
did not know the true identity of the prisoner who was
addressed simply as "prisoner number ..".
2. During interrogations, prisoners
were often registered under false names.
3. Two prisoners, Gustav Richter
(the German police attache in Bucharest) who was one of
Raoul Wallenbeg's first cellmates in Lubianka Prison in
February 1945, and Heinrich Grossheim-Krysko, (alias Henry
Thompsen), who worked as an agent in the Swedish legation
in Budapest and was arrested in Budapest in 1945 by SMERSH,
were sentenced to strict isolation in Vladimir Prison
because they had been "associated with a very important
4. The cell which Raoul Wallenberg
was first brought into at Lubianka Prison in February
1945, in addition to Gustav Richter, had a third prisoner
who was a cell spy for the prison authorities. This person
was an Austrian by the name of W.A. Schlutter who was
given the false name of W.A. Scheuer.
5. Prisoners such as Gustav Richter,
who like Raoul Wallenberg, had diplomatic standing, were
incarcerated for lengthy periods of time without an official
court trial or sentence. Gustav Richter was arrested in
1944 and held in Moscow prisons until 1951 when he was
finally sentenced by the Special Tribunal to 25 years
and transferred to Vladimir Prison.
6. The passport and valuables of
the prisoner at the time of detention were always kept
as an integral part of the prisoner's personal file. Nevertheless,
Soviet authorities have maintained that they have found
no records of the personal or interrogation files on Raoul
Wallenberg and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder.
7. Hans (Jan) Loyda, a German-Czech
prisoner and a partisan fighting Nazi soldiers, had been
a cellmate of Vilmos Langfelder, Raoul Wallenberg and
Willi Rodel, a German diplomat arrested in Bucharest.
Hans Loyda had written a complaint to the Director of
Vladimir Prison about the harsh prison conditions under
which he was kept and stated that he believed that he
received this treatment because he had been kept with
these two diplomats. He had signed an agreement not to
speak to anyone about his imprisonment with the two diplomats.
Up to this time, the only known cellmate of Raoul Wallenberg
released from the Soviet Union was Gustav Richter who
had informed Swedish authorities about his imprisonment
with Raoul Wallenberg upon his repatriation to Germany
8. On February 7, 1947, an order
had been written to transfer the prisoners Raoul Wallenberg
and Willi Rodel from Cell 203 of the Lefortovo Prison
to Lubianka Prison and to place them in Cell 7. Up to
this time, the Soviets had never volunteered any information
about the imprisonment of Raoul Wallenberg except for
the Smoltsov report. The copy of this order was found
in the personal file of Horst Kitschman, who as a German
prisoner of war, was transferred according to the same
order from Cell 7 of the Lubianka Prison together with
Otto Hatz, a Hungarian army officer, to Cell 203 of the
Lefortovo Prison. Kitschman was Gustav Richter's cellmate
in the Vladimir Prison.
9. A number of German prisoners-of-war
provided evidentiary statements about Raoul Wallenberg
to Swedish authorities upon their repatriation to Germany
in 1955-1956 as a result of the Adenauer-Khrushchev Treaty.
These statements provided information about the conditions,
i.e., the cell locations, dates, and other prisoner cellmates,
under which they had learned about Raoul Wallenberg, had
"knocking contact" through cell walls with him,
or had heard about a Swedish diplomat held as a prisoner.
By analysis of the prisoner registration cards in Vladimir,
each of which provided a chronological listing of cell
assignments for each prisoner, the Soviet-International
Commission verified that. at least for 85 to 90% of the
accounts, the information on the cards directly corroborated
the statements made earlier by these prisoners.
January, 1991: Approval
for the continued work of the Commission is rescinded.
The Commission was rudely informed by the Soviets, "We
will research the case of Katyn ourselves". This
coincided with a period of tightening of control within
the Soviet government. Vadim Bakatin was replaced by Nikolai
Pugo. The changes in the Soviet government brought the
work of the Commission to a standstill. Further archival
research on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg continued only
after the "Putsch" of August 1991. With the
changes in the Soviet government after August 1991, Vadim
Bakatin was appointed head of the KGB. It was then proposed
that a Swedish/Soviet Commission of government representatives
be appointed to continue archival research on Raoul Wallenberg.
Archival research by the Swedish/Soviet Commission proceeded
on the basis that Swedish representatives prepare a list
of questions or requests for information, and their Russian
colleagues respond by providing reports describing efforts
of locating documents, providing copies of documents,
or written summaries of interviews, etc., with former
SMERSH, KGB, NKVD, or Foreign Ministry workers. Approximately
one half of the questions and requests for information
communicated to the Russians still remain unanswered or
only partially answered. Among the main findings that
have come forth from the work of the Swedish/Soviet Commission
are the following:
1. There is no accounting in the
registry journal of the head guard of Lubianka Prison
of the death of the prisoner Walenberg (sic) or Wallenberg
the night of July 16, 1947.
2. There are no registration records
of Raoul Wallenberg or Vilmos Langfelder for cremation
in 1947 at the Donskii Crematorium, the only functioning
crematorium in the Moscow area at the time.
3. A former interrogator of the
Ministry of State Security has been uncovered who interrogated
Raoul Wallenberg. This person has been interviewed on
several occasions by members of the Working Group, privately
by Vadim Bakatin, who had requested him to reveal all
information and who assured him of immunity when he was
Chief of the KGB, and separately by Professors von Dardel
and Makinen on five different occasions. For fear of reprisals
and being held responsible for the Wallenberg matter,
he has steadfastly refused to acknowledge any direct contact
with Wallenberg or knowledge of his fate.
4. An order was transmitted over
the signature of Nikolai Bulganin, then Deputy Soviet
Minister of Defense, to the Soviet army command (Second
Ukrainian Front) in Budapest on January 17, 1945 which
directed the military to arrest Raoul Wallenberg, transport
him to Moscow and use whatever means necessary for fulfillment
of this order, and report time of arrival and name of
accompanying person. This document was discovered in the
archives of the Ministry of Defense. It was stated that
no other documents have yet been found that explain the
reason for issuing the order for arrest.
5. A document was found in the
archives of the Foreign Ministry asserting that Vilmos
Langfelder had died in March of 1948. The Foreign Ministry
worker who researched files in the 1950's to prepare this
document has been found. He has also provided the name
of another assistant who worked with him on this matter,
but that person has refused to speak about the matter.
6. After two years of archival
research and insistent requests for information by Marvin
Makinen , documents were finally located concerning Willi
Rodel (Wallenberg's last known cellmate in the Lefortovo
and Lubianka Prisons in 1947). These consist only of his
passport and other personal identification papers; a copy
of a physician's examination of him in the Lubianka Prison
in September 1947, finding him in a very weakened and
sick condition; a typed summary of an oral report that
he had died in transit on October 15, 1947, on the way
to Krasnogorsk Camp for Special Prisoners outside of Moscow;
and a copy of the autopsy report stating that he had died
of "paralysis of the heart".
Members of a United States humanitarian aid mission brought
two train-car wagons of food and medication to Vorkuta,
an isolated town in the far north of the Russian Federation,
famous for its coal mines and POW camps. In Khalmer Yu,
70 kilometers north of Vorkuta at the extreme northern
terminus of the Russian Northern Railway, team members
were told by the Mayor of the community that among other
foreign prisoners, primarily POWs, Raoul Wallenberg had
also been in Khalmer Yu in the 1950's. This information
was provided at a meeting in the American Embassy in Moscow
of Professors Makinen and von Dardel with Colonel Michael
Simenec, Jr., a member of he U.S. -Russian Joint Committee
on POW/MIA's on April 21, 1994.
January, 1993: During a
trip to Stockholm, Simone Lucki, a Belgian attorney, gave
a copy of a photograph to Diane Blake of The Raoul Wallenberg
Committee of the United States. The photograph, dating
from 1955, was given to Ms. Lucki by Natalia Scinkarenko,
a Ukranian who was imprisoned in a Communist prison. She
identifies one man in the photo as Wallenberg. Around
the beginning of 1955 she and others heard from a German
prisoner that he had encountered Raoul Wallenberg in another
prison. Later that year, the prisoners were treated to
a concert in which other men prisoners in Baltic folk
costumes played and sang. One was identified to her as
"Valenbergis". When she was released in 1961,
she received a photograph of the group from a priest who
was also in it and she has kept it all these years. She
heard about Wallenberg again in 1989 when the Soviets
permitted information about him on the radio. Not until
she moved to Brussels did she reveal the photo. The photograph
was sent by the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United
States to Mr. Horace Heafner, an age progression specialist,
from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
in Arlington, Virginia to provide a comparison between
the face of Raoul Wallenberg (31 years old) and the face
of the person in the picture. While Mr. Heafner felt that
there were many similarities between the prison photograph
and the picture of Raoul Wallenberg at 31 years of age,
the quality of the prison photograph made it impossible
for the identification to be conclusive.
April 1997: A ten year campaign
by The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States
to have a stamp issued in Wallenberg's honor comes to
fruition. Thousands of members of the organization eagerly
responded to a request from Rachel Bernheim, President
of the Committee, that they sign postcards and petitions
to the United States Postal Service asking for the stamp.
The campaign had one major diplomatic hurdle to overcome:
The U.S. Government has a rule that no living person may
be pictured on a U.S. postage stamp. Because many believe
that Wallenberg might still be alive, the Postal Service
could not be asked to issue a "commemorative"
stamp because that would imply that Wallenberg is dead.
Rather, the postal service was asked to honor Wallenberg's
wartime heroism. An exception was made and the stamp was
1997: Two more post 1947
sightings surfaced. Varvara Larina, now 72, was a cleaning
woman in Vladimir Prison. She was shown photographs of
five men the same age as Wallenberg at the time of his
imprisonment, and when asked to point out anyone she recalled,
she placed her finger firmly on the face of Wallenberg.
She remembers him not by name but by cell number - 49
- where he was held in isolation. He is locked in her
memory as a chronic complainer. "He was tall, had
dark hair, was growing bald," she said in an interview
with U.S. News. "He was always scolding. Always unhappy".
Larina recalls leaving his soup on the cell door ledge.
The prisoner with the brooding eyes would declare the
soup too cold and demand to see the guard or a high prison
official. Another post 1947 sighting was in the Siberian
camp of Bratsk. After his repatriation to Poland, one
inmate, Boguslaw Baj, read a newspaper report about Russian
declarations of Wallenberg's death in 1947 and recognized
the name and face. Baj recalls befriending a Swede who
said his name was Wallenberg and that he had been arrested
in Budapest. "We talked pretty often," Baj says.
"We even wanted to take him into our Polish brigade,
where he would have felt better than among the Russians,
who laughed at him because he spoke no Russian".
But the camp commander refused. Baj's friend, Jozef Kowalski
recalls first meeting Wallenberg at a Christmas Eve service,
held clandestinely at the camp. A Polish priest said a
prayer and the assembled sang carols. During a 1950 rail
transfer of prisoners, Kowalski says Wallenberg sat near
him, but was taken off the transport before its final
destination. Kowalski, Baj and a third Home Army vereran,
Jerzy Cichocki, have all separately picked out Wallenberg
from an array of photographs.
January 12, 2001 - The White
Papers: After a ten year investigation, the White Papers
were released. They were released in the form of two reports,
one from the Russian side and the other from the Swedish
side. One reason for this is that, despite their common
approach to gaining clarity on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg,
the two countries have different views on the need for
material that reveals the actual background to the events
and interprets some of these in different ways. Another
reason is that the conclusions are not identical in every
detail. The Swedish report establishes that it is not
possible to draw any definite conclusion about the real
fate of Raoul Wallenberg. It is clear, however, that the
events which took place in 1947 were decisive for Raoul
Wallenberg. The main conclusion of the Russian report
is that Raoul Wallenberg died in 1947 and that to continue
to search for him is pointless. Both sides have taken
into account each other's opinions, but the group has
not suceeded in establishing any common, legally indisputable
conclusion on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. Testimony
about Raoul Wallenberg being alive after 1947 cannot be
dismissed. The burden of proof regarding the death of
Raoul Wallenberg lies with the Russian Government. The
working group has established many previously unknown
facts and has discovered the unfortunate disappearance
of a series of key documents from Russian archives. This
suggests that efforts have been made to cover the tracks
of illegal actions by the Soviet authorities. Thus, there
are still contradictory versions concerning the fate of
Raoul Wallenberg. There are still many unanswered questions.
Prime Minister of Sweden, Goran Persson, stated "We
must continue with our efforts to obtain new facts which
would throw light on Wallenberg's fate. These efforts
must be based on the assumption that Raoul Wallenberg
may have lived long after 1947. As long as there is no
unequivocal evidence of what happened to Wallenberg -
and this is still the case - it cannot be said that Raoul
Wallenberg is dead".
February 28, 2009 - Journalist
Josh Prager reveals that in February of 1979 both Raoul
Wallenberg's mother and stepfather committed suicide in
despair over their inability to achieve the return of
their son. Both Nina Lagergren (Raoul's sister) and Guy
von Dardel (Raoul's brother) promised that they would
keep fighting for their older brother, and presume him
living, until 2000.
August 28, 2009 - Guy von
Dardel passed away without achieving his lifelong dream
to get Raoul back home. An unprecedented kaddish at the
Jerusalem Western Wailing Wall was held for him.
April 1, 2010 - The latest
round of discussions between the Federal Security Services
of the Russian Federation (FSB) and independent researchers
Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein yielded a resounding
surprise. In a formal reply to several questions regarding
Russian prison registers from 1947, FSB archivists stated
that "with great likelihood" Raoul Wallenberg
became Prisoner #7 in Moscow's Lubyanka prison some time
that year. The archivists added that Prisoner #7 had been
interrogated on July 23, 1947 which - if confirmed - would
mean that the Soviet era claims of Wallenberg's death
on July 17, 1947 are no longer valid. Never before have
Russian officials stated the possibility of Raoul Wallenberg's
survival past this date so explicitly. In depth verification
of the new information has to take place before any final
conclusions can be drawn, but if indeed confirmed, the
news is the most interesting to come out of Russian archives
in over fifty years.
July 31, 2011 - Russian
archivists publish new material from a German officer,
Willy Roedel, imprisoned after WWII who shared a cell
with Raoul Wallenberg. From the start, researchers sought
information about Wallenberg's known cellmates but Russian
officials "routinely insisted that no records of
Roedel's interrogations had been preserved. This is the
clearest sign yet that Russian archives still contain
critically important documents in the Wallenberg case
that have not been released.
September 7, 2011 - For
as yet unexplained reasons, Russian officials chose to
mislead for decades, not only the public but, an official
Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated the Wallenberg
case from 1991-2001. Russia did not merely obscure inconsequential
details of the case but instead failed to provide documentation
that contains information which goes to the very heart
of the Wallenberg inquiry. These are, the above mentioned
Willy Roedel material and copies of the Lubyanka prison
register from July 23, 1947. This shows that a "Prisoner
No. 7" was interrogated on that day (six days after
Raoul Wallenberg's alleged death). Russian officials did
not show this page to Swedish investigators during the
Working Group, citing "privacy" concerns. They
have since acknowledged that "Prisoner No. 7"
almost certainly is identical with Wallenberg.
January 2, 2012 - On the
centennial of his birth, the Swedish government has announced
that it will designate 2012 as the official "Raoul
January 16, 2012 - A document
has been found by German researcher, Susanne Berger, that
backs claims that the KGB stopped the Raoul Wallenberg
probe. The September 16, 1991 memorandum from the Swedish
Embassy in Moscow cites the former head of the Soviet
"Special Archive", Anatoly Prokopenko, as telling
Swedish diplomats that the KGB instructed him to stop
a search for documents by researchers working for the
first International Wallenberg Commission. Prokopenko
also said the KGB wanted copies of all documents that
the researchers had already viewed. The authenticity of
the document was confirmed by the Foreign Ministry. Prokopenko
said he complied because he was working to open the archives
to the public, taking advantage of Soviet leader Mikhail
Gorbachev's liberal reforms, and realized that open disobedience
would lead to his immediate ouster. "I had to make
a sacrifice for the sake of uncovering numerous other
secrets of the archive," Prokepenko said. He added
that following a brief period of openness before and after
the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union authorities have
grown increasingly reluctant to allow public access to
January 18, 2012 - Sweden
has announced it will hold a new inquiry into Raoul Wallenberg
case. Hopefully, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt,
the official chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centennial
will insist on full information from Russia's leaders
who lied to an official Working Group in 2001, instead
of meekly asking, once again, for an open archival policy.