Washington (Nov. 1)
The Swedish government is being urged not to release a Soviet submarine which stranded off the Swedish coast last week until the Soviet government releases Raoul Wallenberg. According to Rep. Tom Lantos (D. Calif.), “The government and people of Sweden now have a golden opportunity to right the horrible wrong done to Raoul Wallenberg over the decades.”
Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat credited with saving the lives of 100,000 Hungarian Jews who faced deportation by the Nazis during World War II, was arrested by Soviet authorities when the Red Army entered Budapest in January 1945 and has not been heard from since. Moscow claims he died in prison in 1947. But eye-witnesses and other sources have provided strong evidence over the years that he may still be alive.
Lantos, who is author of the law signed by President Reagan October 5 making Wallenberg an honorary U.S. citizen, made his representations in a telegram to the Swedish Foreign Minister Ola Ullstein. He observed that Sweden had every right to hold the submarine and its crew because the fact that the undersea craft stranded in Swedish territorial waters only 12 miles from a naval base indicated it was on a spy mission.
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At the same time, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles called on the Swedish government to incorporate the question of Wallenberg’s fate into any current or future negotiations with the Russians over the submarine. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, said in a telegram to Swedish Prime Minister Thorb Jorn Falldin, “We applaud the efforts of your administration to learn the truth of Mr. Wallenberg’s fate and hope that you will more swiftly and boldly to extract truth and action from the Soviets.”
The Wiesenthal Center also urged the Reagan Administration to encourage the Swedish government to act promptly “on behalf of America’s newest citizen.” (In Jerusalem, the Israel Committee for Raoul Wallenberg cabled the Swedish government Friday to refuse to release the submarine unless and until Wallenberg is released. Moshe Barnea, chairman of the committee, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the grounding of the submarine in Swedish territorial waters was an opportunity to bring international pressure on the Kremlin to provide accurate information on Wallenberg.)
Rep. Lantos and his wife, Annette, were among the 100,000 Hungarian Jews rescued by Wallenberg whose diplomatic mission was undertaken at the time at the behest of U. S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull. He said he was “extremely encouraged” by the Swedish government’s refusal so far to allow the Soviets to salvage the submarine. “By detaining the crew of the spy submarine, Sweden at long last is in a position to exert leverage on the Soviet authorities in the Wallenberg case,” he said.