Special to the JTA Sweden to Host Two Events of Significance to World Jewry
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Special to the JTA Sweden to Host Two Events of Significance to World Jewry

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Sweden will host two events of particular significance to world Jewry — the international tribunal in the case of Rool Wallenberg, to be held here May 1-4; and the bicentennial celebration of the Jewish community of Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city, to be held May 9-12.

Elie Wiesel, chairman of President Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust, will lead a large delegation of Americans who will fly to the Swedish capital for the hearings to sift new evidence regarding Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued 30,000 Hungarian Jews from Hitler and who has reportedly been held in Soviet prisons for the past 35 years following his arrest by the Red Army in 1945.

An international panel of jurists and Holocaust experts will meet in Stockholm’s People’s Half for the tribunal. The participants include, in addition to Wiesel, Elizabeth Moynihan, head of the American Committee to Free Rool Wallenberg; Gideon Housner, prosecutor of Adolf Eichmann and chairman of the Israel Free Wallenberg Committee; Dr. Andre Lvoff, Nobel Laureate in medicine and head of the French Wallenberg Committee; and Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi-hunter from Vienna.

U.S. delegates to the hearing include the co-chairpersons of the American Wallenberg Committee, Lena Biorck Kaplan and Swedish-born Rabbi Frederick Werbell. Annette Lantos of San Francisco, a Hungarian-born Jew who was rescued by Wallenberg, will also attend, on behalf of the Hungarian Jewish community in the U.S.

Other panelists who will hear witnesses who have seen Wallenberg alive in Soviet prisons in recent years, include: Greville Janner, British Member of Parliament and head of that country’s Wallenberg Committee; Pierre Gregoire, president of the Luxembourg Parliament; and Dr. Yuri Novikov, a Soviet Jewish psychiatrist now living in West Germany. Names of the witnesses have not been released as yet, to protect them from possible persecution.

The four days of hearings will be opened by Ingrid Garde Widemar, Sweden’s first woman Supreme Court justice and the head of that country’s Wallenberg Committee. At the conclusion of the hearings, there will be a nationwide television broadcast of a new BBC documentary about Wallenberg.


The following week there will be a four-day celebration by Goteborg’s small Jewish community, marking 200 years of its existence, with Sweden’s King Carl Gustav and Queen Sylvia personally attending a reception and dinner at the Messiah Synagogue. Naima Thankus, president of the community, has announced the city of Goteborg will open a special exhibit on Jewish history in Sweden at the municipal library.

Other events include special services at the synagogue, with the participation of guests from the Jewish communities of the U.S., Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, as well as those representing the government of Sweden and the rabbinate of the Scandinavian countries.

A special guest will be Cantor Joseph Malovany of New York City’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue, who will sing both at the Sabbath services and at a special recital in Goteborg’s Concert Hall.

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