For most people, the name “Raoul Wallenberg” is unknown.
But for anyone who is familiar with the history of the Holocaust, his name evokes admiration and gratitude…and heartache for his mysterious disappearance.
Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps.
He was last seen in 1945, and his disappearance has remained a mystery.
The newly-published memoirs of the first chief of the KGB may shed light on the fate of a Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust only to disappear in the final weeks of the Second World War.
Raoul Wallenberg is honoured around the world for rescuing tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis by issuing them with fake Swedish passports or housing them in diplomatic buildings.
But in January 1945 he vanished from the streets of Soviet-occupied Budapest and was never seen again.
His family has long suspected that he was kidnapped by the Soviet Union but have never received definitive proof of what happened to him.
Moscow’s story has changed over the decades. At first Russia claimed that Soviet intelligence had nothing to do with Wallenberg’s case, they later said he died of a heart attack in a prison camp.
Now, the memoirs of KGB chief Ivan Serov offer another explanation – he was executed at Stalin’s orders.
“I have no doubts that Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947,” Serov wrote in his memoirs, according to the New York Times….
Moscow may have believed that Wallenberg was a US spy in Hungary and there are some indications that their suspicions were correct.
Declassified CIA documents indicate that the diplomat may have collected intelligence for the spy agency’s wartime predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services.
Wallenberg’s family have campaigned for more than 50 years to learn the truth of what happened him to him. His niece, Marie Dupuy, said she had written to the KGB’s successor, the FSB, to ask for the documents mentioned by Serov.
However, Ms Dupuy warned it was premature to draw “firm conclusions” from the diaries and noted that they contained a number of factual errors that undermined their credibility.
Serov’s recollections were recently published in Russia under the title “Notes from a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First KGB Chairman, Found Over 25 Years after His Death”….
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: Raoul Wallenberg and the Rescue of Jews in Budapest
Auschwitz.dk: Raoul Wallenberg, Angel of Mercy