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Family of 'Sweden's Schindler' Wants Answers

Nearly 75 years after he disappeared, Raoul Wallenberg's family is still in the dark
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2019 11:27 AM CDT
Updated Sep 28, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
This undated handout photo from Pressens Bild shows Swedish diplomat and World War II hero Raoul Wallenberg.   (Pressens Bild via AP, File)

(Newser) – Raoul Wallenberg is called "Sweden's Schindler," and is thought to have saved as many as 30,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II—and his family has no idea when or how he died. This week, some of his descendants are traveling to Stockholm to demand the Swedish government's assistance getting, as Wallenberg's niece Marie von Dardel-Dupuy puts it to the Guardian, "specific answers to specific questions." Wallenberg was 31 in July 1944 when he volunteered to take part in a program to protect the 200,000 Jews living in Budapest. He was given the status of Swedish diplomat and traveled to Hungary, where he recruited hundreds of volunteers, created dozens of safe houses plus hospitals, nurseries, and a soup kitchen, and saved the aforementioned thousands of Jews via bribes and faked "letters of protection." In January 1945, he disappeared, the Times of Israel reports.

He was invited to the Soviet military headquarters in eastern Hungary, then arrested and taken to Moscow. His family does not know what happened to him after that. The Soviet Union and later Russia have variously claimed he died of a heart attack or was executed in 1947 in a Soviet prison, but his death has never been confirmed. His mother and stepfather spent the rest of their lives trying to figure out what really happened, and ultimately committed suicide two days apart in 1979. Other members of his family have traveled to Moscow to pore over records—but though they have put together a 50,000-page dossier, they say there are classified documents that likely contain answers. They want Sweden to do more to get that material from Russia, and will be meeting with foreign ministry officials and MPs to formally ask the government to do just that. (Read more Raoul Wallenberg stories.)

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