LONDON (Jul. 15)
The United States will again be asked this week to tackle the Russians over the baffling and tragic case of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat, whom the Swedish government has been trying to trace for more than 30 years.
Mrs. Nina Lagergren, Walleberg’s half-sister, will meet politicians in Washington and ask them to check reports that her brother, who would be 67 in August, became a forgotten political prisoner in the labor camps or mental hospitals of the “Gulag Archipelago” after saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis in 1944.
Wallenberg was kidnapped by the Russians in Budapest in January 1945, and despite a sketchy Soviet claim that he died in the Lubyanka Prison in 1947, streams of prisoners have testified to seeing or hearing of him years later. Last December a Moscow Jew, Jan Kaplan; was rearrested after claiming he met a long-term Swedish prisoner in the Butyrka Prison four years ago, and who could conceivably be Wallenberg.
“WE MUST NOT GIVE UP”
Although some Swedish students of the case accept the Russian version, neither Wallenberg’s close relatives nor the present Swedish government are prepared to do so. Following the latest Soviet rebuff, Swedish Foreign Minister Hans Blix promised to investigate every new clue to Wallenberg’s fate. He said it was a basic principle of the Swedish government to assume that missing citizens were alive until it thought it had strong evidence that they were dead, adding: “We must not give up.”
Mrs, Lagergren is appealing to the United States not only because it is a world power but because Wallenberg’s war-time mission to rescue Jews in Hungary was undertaken at the request of President Roosevelt.
The main support in the campaign for Wallenberg has come from individuals. In Washington, a former Hungarian Jewish couple, Dr. Thomas Lantos and his wife Annette, have lobbied Congressmen and the press for nearly two years. In London, support has been offered by MP Greville Janner and MP Winston Churchill who have launched a parliamentary committee. In Vienna, Simon Wiesenthal hosted a press conference last month for Wallenberg’s half-brother, Prof Guyvon Dardel, a nuclear physicist. While fully aware that Wallenberg may no longer be alive, his family insists that the onus is on the Soviet Union to reveal the truth about his fate.