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Group Urges New Effort to Solve Mystery of Diplomat

January 12, 2000
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A leading Jewish organization is urging the U.S. government to immediately pressure Russia to help resolve the longtime mystery of Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance.

Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat employed by the U.S. War Refugee Board, saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis during World War II and was last seen being taken into custody by the Soviet Union on Jan. 17, 1945.

It is possible that Wallenberg, who was 32 at the time of his disappearance, remains alive, although it is widely believed that he is dead.

At a luncheon here Tuesday, and in an advertisement in The New York Times the previous day, the New York-based American Jewish Committee announced publication of a new monograph on Wallenberg and said the United States should “seek the cooperation of acting Russian President Putin to fully open the Soviet-era archives and reveal the truth.”

William Korey, the author of the AJCommittee-published, “The Wallenberg Mystery: Fifty-five Years Later,” said that because Wallenberg was an employee of the United States at the time of his vanishing, America has a “responsibility” to find out his fate.

“Nobody to my knowledge has raised this in a vigorous way at the highest levels of government,” said Korey. “It’s time and it’s necessary.”

With the Cold War over now for almost a decade, David Harris, the executive director of the AJCommittee, said it is finally time to obtain answers on Wallenberg’s case.

“In this era of accountability we deserve answers.”

Asked why the matter had not yet been resolved, Harris suggested that diplomats had faced more pressing priorities. “This is not about nuclear weapons. It’s about the fate of one man, but not just any man.”

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