Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

David Matas

David Matas: Unanswered Questions re The Wallenberg file:

by David Matas, posted March 3, 2014

[ Below is an excerpt of remarks Remarks prepared for delivery to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, 7 October 2013, Toronto, Ontario]


I want to address this evening what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance can do to try to help Raoul Wallenberg and his family, by attempting to find out what happened to him.  The general drift of these remarks is that the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, while not yet known, is knowable.  Documents exist in Russian archives which would disclose his fate but have not been yet made available to researchers.   There is an opening and a need for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to press the matter at the highest level if we are going to come to a resolution on this case.


These remarks are divided into four components. The first sets out unanswered questions about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg and points to the existing but yet undisclosed archives which would answer these questions.  The second refers to Swedish Government efforts.  The third sets out what I and B'nai Brith Canada have done to attempt to further this effort.  The fourth proposes a specific International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance initiative.


I. Unanswered questions

In 2001, after a ten year investigation, the Swedish Russian Working Group on the Fate of Raoul Wallenberg, presented two separate reports, one from the Swedish side, one from the Russian. In addition, four independent consultants to the Swedish Russian Working Group Dr. Marvin Makinen with Ari Kaplan, Susan Mesinai, and Susanne Berger issued reports of their research.


As an appendix to its report, the Swedish side formulated seventeen questions which need to be answered in full before any binding conclusions concerning Raoul Wallenberg's fate could be drawn.  The independent consultants in May 2005 issued a separate list of their own questions.  Some of these questions combined, in my formulation and updated, are:


A. Arrest

1) Raoul Wallenberg was arrested in Hungary on January 17, 1945 by the Soviets and shipped back to Moscow.  Who took the decision to arrest?  When was this decision taken?  What were the reasons for this decision?  Soviet foreign intelligence records from Hungary and Sweden for the period 1943 1945 would shed light on the reasons why the Soviet authorities decided to arrest Wallenberg; the records have not been released.  What do these records show?


2)  The People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) agent in Budapest Mikhail Tolstoy Kutusov reported extensively on Raoul Wallenberg's activities to Moscow. This file could produce valuable clues as to how Wallenberg's case was perceived and handled in the Soviet system.  Russia has refused to permit researchers to review this file.  What does this file show?


B. Fellow prisoners

3)  The Russian side has allowed limited review of files of prisoners closely associated with Raoul Wallenberg in captivity. Russia has not allowed any access or study of the investigative files of some of these prisoners. What do the investigative files of these prisoners reveal about how Soviet leaders handled Wallenberg's case?  


4) In January 21, 1945 Wallenberg was placed in a cell with Gustav Richter, a police attaché at the German embassy in Romania until the Russian takeover. Richter was moved on March 1, 1945. Researchers were not allowed to see the Soviet investigative file for Richter.  What does it contain?


5)  During the work of the Swedish Russian Working Group from 1991 to 2001, the Russian side denied the existence of an investigative file for Willi Roedel, Raoul Wallenberg's cellmate in Lefortovo prison in 1946/47.  Information published in a book about Ivan Serov [former head of the KGB] by Nikita Petrov of the "Memorial" society, contradicts this denial.  The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in 2012 published a book about Willi Roedel under the title "Willy Rödel, Oberführer SA" which contained 150 pages of investigative documentation about Roedel.


The authors of the 2012 book assert that the documents about Roedel they published came from an operational correspondence file concerning prisoners of war which contains materials on foreign diplomats who died in Moscow prisons from 1945 to 1947.  Well, is there anything in this file about Raoul Wallenberg? Could researchers see this file themselves?


6) It was standard Soviet SMERSH/MGB practice to open on arrest, for a person detained by them and brought from Europe to undergo investigation, both a personal and an investigative file.  Why would this practice not have been followed for Roedel or, for that matter, for Wallenberg?


7) Petrov obtained documentation that Roedel was executed in the autumn of 1947.  It apparently came from a file of high level diplomats and foreigners who died of natural causes or were killed in captivity.  An Associated Press reporter was shown this file from the outside only but not allowed to look inside.  Who is listed in this collection?  Is Wallenberg part of the list?


8)  Former Soviet officials have repeatedly alluded to information that they claim originates directly from the interrogations of Vilmos Langfelder, Wallenberg's chauffeur, arrested with him. Where are these interrogation records and why have they not been shared with Swedish officials?  The Soviet government claimed that Vilmos Langfelder had died in March 1948. What were the circumstances of his death?


9)  The references to Raoul Wallenberg and Langfelder have been blotted out in the KGB prison journals.  When did this happen?


10) Sandor Katona, previously a driver at the Hungarian legation in Sofia and arrested in September 1944, was transferred as a prisoner with Langfelder from the Lefortovo Prison to the Lubianka Prison on July 22, 1947.  Why?  What are the dates of Katona's imprisonment?  Where is the documentation related to his case?


C. July 17, 1947

11) For decades, Russia claimed that Raoul Wallenberg died on July 17, 1947, in Moscow's Lubianka prison. Yet in 2009, Russian officials wrote in a response to queries from researchers that prisoner number 7 who was "most likely" Wallenberg, had been interrogated on July 23, 1947, six days after his official death date.  Can we see the interrogation registry for Lubianka prison for that day?


12) Though the Russians have said that this prisoner number 7 was most likely Walle

<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • The Azrieli Foundation
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Canadian Friends of Hebrew University
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Joyce Rykiss
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • TD Canada Trust
  • CHW
  • ClearCare Periodontal & Implant Centre
  • GTP
  • Imperial Soap
  • Daien Denture Clinic
  • Nick's Inn
  • Josef Ryan
  • Roseman Corp.
  • Thorvaldson Care
  • Cavalier Candies
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • HUB
  • CDN Visa
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Maric Homes
  • Myers LLP
  • Artista Homes
  • Pasquale (Charlie) Aiello
  • Southwynn Homes
  • Tradesman Mechanical
  • Taverna Rodos
  • CVA Systems
  • Jim Gauthier
  • Orthodox Union
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Dr. Gary Levine
  • Fetching Style
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Allan Davies
  • West Kildonan Auto Service
  • Kristina's Fine Greek Cuisine
  • Erickson Motors
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Grant Kurian Trucking
  • Nikos
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.