Evidence has surfaced that appears to disprove long-maintained claims by the Soviet Union that Swedish humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg died on July 17, 1947.
The website Searching for Raoul Wallenberg reported recently that an ongoing exchange with the officials at the archives of the Federal Security Services of the Russian Federation state that “with great likelihood” Wallenberg became “Prisoner No. 7” in Moscow’s dreaded Lubyanka prison in 1947.
In addition, prison interrogation registers from that year show that “Prisoner No. 7” was interrogated on July 23, 1947, according to the Russian archivists.
Never before have Russian officials stated the possibility of Wallenberg’s survival past July 17, 1947, so explicitly, the website reported.
Wallenberg’s disappearances is one of the great mysteries of World War II. Working as a Swedish diplomat in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II, Wallenberg was able to rescue Jews from the Holocaust.
Between July and December 1944, he issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives.
On Jan. 17, 1945, he was arrested in Budapest by the Soviets after they took control of the city from the Germans, and he was reported to have died in March. However, the exact circumstances of his death have long been in dispute. The Soviets never explained why they detained him.
In 1957, the Soviets claimed that Wallenberg had actually died of a heart attack in 1947 at the age of 35. There had been reports, however, from prisoners in the same facility, that he was seen alive long past 1947. In 1991, Vyacheslav Nikonov was assigned by the Russian government to find out the truth; he concluded that Wallenberg did indeed die in 1947, executed while a prisoner at Lubyanka.
Searching for Raoul Wallenberg detailed other information recently released by Russian archivists that was not previously known:
The new information concerns a previously unknown “Prisoner No. 7” who was questioned on July 23, 1947, for more than 16 hours. The interrogation was conducted by S. Kartashov, head of the 4th Department, MGB’s (State Security Ministry) Third Main Directorate (military counterintelligence). This was the unit which investigated Raoul Wallenberg in 1947. Over those 16 hours, Kartashov also interrogated Wallenberg’s driver, Vilmos Langfelder and Langfelder’s presumed cellmate, Sandor Katona. In the letter, Russian officials refer to a notation in the Lubyanka interrogation registry entered behind the names of all three men which reads “proshel,” “came through” (the prison’s checking post.) The archivists write that regarding Prisoner No. 7, “with high probability the note . . . could apply only to Raoul Wallenberg.” We are waiting to see the full interrogation list from July 23, 1947, which has so far only been available in strongly censored form. It is becoming clearer, however, why that documentation may have been withheld all these years.
What happened to Katona, Langfelder and “Prisoner No. 7” after July 23, 1947, is unclear, but none of the men were ever released, the website reported, adding:
The Russian side has stated that its archives contain no further information about Sandor Katona. Katona, a Hungarian citizen, is known to have been arrested in October 1944 in Bulgaria, where he worked as driver at the Hungarian Legation. The only information available about the further fate of Vilmos Langfelder is a Soviet government communication to Hungary stating that he supposedly died on March 2, 1948. The Soviet or Russian authorities have not presented any documentary evidence for his death. Taking into consideration that at the time, on the Poliburo’s order, the KGB released false dates of death of the executed prisoners or prisoners who died during their imprisonment, the stated date of Langfelder’s death is highly questionable.
(Hat tip: The Blogland of Earl Capps)