Menu JTA Search

Friend of Wallenberg Says World Opinion Being Mobilized to Force USSR to Reveal Diplomat’s Fate

A close friend of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved Jews in Hungary during World War II and is believed to be held in a Soviet prison since 1945, declared last night that world public opinion is being mobilized to force the Soviet Union to provide information on Wallenberg.

Speaking to 300 persons at a dinner sponsored by the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Montreal branch of Histadrut and other Jewish organizations, Per Anger, former Swedish Ambassador to Canada, noted that at a recent international conference for Wallenberg in Stockholm, a resolution was adopted asking Moscow to allow a commission to go to the Soviet Union to investigate the case.

“Worldwide public opinion is getting bigger and stronger, “with the governments of Canada, the United States and Britain “Intervening officially in Moscow so that complete light should be made in the Wallenberg case,” Anger said.

Last night’s $100-a-plate dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel helped raise funds to build a hospital in Maalot, Israel, in honor of Wallenberg.

BELIEVES WALLENBERG IS STILL ALIVE

Describing the means used by Wallenberg to save the lives of Hungarian Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis, Anger said he believed the Swedish diplomat was still alive in a Soviet jail. “The Swiss government exchanged after the war five Soviet citizens for five Swiss diplomats and the Swedish government should have followed the example by exchanging a Soviet spy it had in its hands for Wallenberg,” Anger told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

He said that when Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlanger went to Moscow in the 1950s it was too late for an exchange because he was told Wallenberg had died of a heart attack and his body had been cremated. “To this day the Swedish government rejects Soviet allegations, concerning Wallenberg’s death and continues its strong protest in Moscow,” he said.

Irwin Cotler, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, praised the efforts to mobilize world public opinion for Wallenberg while he criticized “the slow-going process of pursuing and punishing Nazi war criminals who took refuge in Canada.” He said the Canadian government will be urged to “prosecute war criminals in Canada with the utmost speed in the memory of the innocents who fell under the Nazi regime.”

Cotler said that according to Simon Wiesenthal, the Vienna-based Nazi-hunter, there are 1000 war criminals hiding in Canada. He said that Solicitor General Robert Kaplan will seek incorporation in

Canada’s new Bill of Rights a provision to accelerate the process of identifying and prosecuting war criminals.

NEXT STORY