WASHINGTON (Mar. 18)
The White House has been asked to intervene with the Soviet Union to ascertain the whereabouts of Reoul Wallenberg, young Swedish diplomat, who rescued thousands of Jews from the Hungarian fascists and the Gestapo in war-time Budapest, it was learned today. He was last seen in the Hungarian capital in January, 1945.
Wallenberg, who was educated in the United States, want to Budapast from Stock holm in July, 1944, at the instance of Iver Olsen, then War Refugee Board representative in Sweden. He carried Swedish diplomatic credentials, but. actually his role was undercover agent for President Roosevelt in rescuing Jewish refugees from the Nazis and Hungarian Fascists, and his activities were financed by the War Refuges Board. He is officially credited with saving more than 20,000 Jews and with being indirectly responsible for rescuing at least 100,000 more, through his courage and ingenuity. He provided these refugees with Swedish documents of protective citizenship.
The question is whether Wallenberg was murdered by Hungarian fascists of taken into custody by the Russian NKVD, presumably on suspicion of espionage. However, Budapest has been permitted by the Soviet military authorities to hold a memorial service for him, and to name a street in his honor. His family is convinced that he is still living. His half-brother, Guy von Dardel, an engineer of Stockholm, has come to the United States to spearhead American efforts in his behalf.
SOVIET AMBASSADOR SAID WALLENBERG WAS ALIVE AND SAFE
Wallenberg’s mother, Mme. Maj von Dardel, was assured by the Soviet Ambassador to Stockholm, Mms. Alexandra Kollontai, soon after his disappearance, that he was alive and safe. Moscow has never officially admitted holding Wallenberg as a prisoner or asserted that he had engaged in espionage. Von Dardel has cited an official statement by Soviet Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Dekanosov, on Jan. 17, 1945, that “Wallenberg and his property are under Russian protection” as refuting a theory that he might have been killed by Hungarian Fascists during the siege of Budapest. An official of the Swedish legation here said that the Russians “have never published any facts to support reports of Wallenberg’s death.”
The legation spokesman stated that Wallenberg was last seen Jan. 17, 1945, under the motorcycle escort of three Soviet officers. Olsen, who is now connected with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, believes that the Russians may have arrested Wallenberg in error. A State Department official who knew Wallenberg in Stockholm believes the Russians mistake has proved so embarrassing that they do not know how to extricate themselves. This official calls Wallenberg “a man in a million.”
Wallenberg has been reported to have been seen in a Czechoslovakian camp maintained by the Russians, in the Ukraine and in Estonia. The current report from Estonia, which appeared in a Stockholm newspaper, is being investigated by the Swedish Foreign Office. Olsen stresses that the United States shares moral responsibility in trying to find Wallenberg, since the War Refugee Board sent him to Nazi-ridden Budapest in 1944.
“Wallenberg,” Olsan says, “worked 24 hours a day for more than six months. He ran a regular compound of apartment houses filled with thousands of people, when he fed, clothed and protected against mounding bands of Arrow Cross Fascists. Many times he rushed to railroad depots to match men, women and children from department trains on the way to extermination camps in Germany.”