Wallenberg probe reopend by Sweden as nations mark centenary of Holocaust hero’s birth


Swedish authorities have reopened an investigation into the disappearance of the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from extermination in the Holocaust but vanished after his arrest by Soviet troops in 1945, according to Reuters.

Sweden this year joined Israel and Hungary in commemorating the 100th year of Wallenberg's birth, marking 2012 as the Year of Raoul Wallenberg.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish foreign ministry said the inquiry was to be conducted by Hans Magnusson, the diplomat who in the 1990s led a joint Russo-Swedish commission of inquiry on Wallenberg's disappearance, Reuters reported.

The new investigation "would look into whether there is any new information available, or that can be found, on what happened to Raoul Wallenberg," Anna Charlotta Johansson, the spokeswoman, was quoted as saying.

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Posted to Hungary, Wallenberg created safe houses for Jews by buying buildings and declaring them sovereign Swedish territory and he issued passports to Jews allowing them to flee and avoid deportation and murder in German death camps.

Without supporting evidence, Russia has claimed Wallenberg was found dead in his cell in Moscow on July 17, 1947. But according to Reuters, researchers say there is evidence he remained alive at least several days after this but that authorities in Moscow have denied access to relevant files.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt lamented that his country had failed to act while Wallenberg was still alive.

"The Swedish government's lack of involvement after Raoul Wallenberg was captured and taken to the infamous Lubyanka prison in Moscow is both embarrassing and painful," he was quoted as saying Tuesday in Budapest in connection with the opening of an exhibition on Wallenberg's deeds.

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According to the Associated Press, researchers said Monday that a newly found Swedish document shows that the KGB intervened in the early 1990s to stop the previous investigation.

Magnusson was not optimistic that Russian authorities would ease restrictions on accessing archives but said Swedish authorities would continue to seek this from Russia's Federal Security Service, which replaced the KGB, according to the AP.

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