Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust and then disappeared under mysterious circumstances, has officially been declared dead by Sweden.
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews to escape the Nazi extermination machine during the Holocaust, was formally pronounced dead by Sweden’s Tax Agency last Wednesday, 71 years after he disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
He was arrested by the Soviets for espionage suspicions in Hungary in 1945, and has since disappeared.
There have been various accounts regarding his fate, and he is thought to have died in a Soviet prison, but his exact fate remains a mystery.
The New York Times in August ran a full report documenting the accounts and Wallenberg’s supposed whereabouts, and concluded that he was shot by the Soviets in 1947.
Thousands of Jews escaped deportation to Auschwitz after Wallenberg gave them Swedish protective passes.
His story became legendary after 1945.
His family has spent decades trying to establish what actually happened to him. Last November they called on the Swedish Tax Agency to officially declare him dead. The request was made via Sweden’s SEB Bank, acting as a trustee.
“He shall be deemed to have died 31 July, 1952,” the Tax Agency stated.
A tax agency official explained that date was chosen because it fell “five years after he went missing, which was believed to be the end of July, 1947”.
This procedure complies with a Swedish law applied in cases where the circumstances of death are not clear.
His family requested that he be declared dead officially, in order to “let Raoul rest in peace”, Sweden’s Aftonbladet daily reported.
An Angel of Hope
Wallenberg, recognized by Israel in 1963 as a Righteous Among the Nations – a title bestowed upon gentiles who saved Jews in the Holocaust, saved Jews by issuing Swedish passports and protective letters to Jews who were otherwise doomed to deportation to the gas chambers in Auschwitz.
“During the dark days of horror and death, Wallenberg manifested himself as an angel of hope, issuing in three months thousands of protective letters to persecuted Jews. When Adolf Eichmann organized the death marches of thousands of Jews from Budapest to the Austrian border, Wallenberg pursued the convoys in his car and managed to release hundreds of Jews to whom protective letters were granted,” Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, writes.
By: World Israel News Staff