Russia has released documents showing that Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was likely alive in prison after the date on which Soviet authorities had claimed he had died. The Russian security service FSB provided the documents to Swedish researchers Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein.
Wallenberg is primarily known for his rescue efforts during the Holocaust. He saved an estimated 20,000 Jews from deportation in Budapest.
Following the war, he was arrested by Soviet intelligence. His disappearance fueled tension between the Soviet Union and Sweden, as did the Soviet refusal to provide evidence of his supposed death on June 17, 1947. As the years passed, the Soviet story was undermined by testimony from released prisoners, who claimed to have seen Wallenberg long after he was reported dead.
The latest information shows that Wallenberg was probably known as “prisoner number 7.” According to FSB archives, prisoner 7 was questioned on July 23, 1947 – six days after the date on which Soviet officials later said Wallenberg had died.
Susanna Berger described the new information as sensational. The information is the most revealing in the past 50 years, she said.
Wallenberg has been designated one of the Righteous of the Nations by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial project for his efforts to save Jews. He is also an honorary citizen of Israel.