The Fate of Holocaust Hero is Finally Uncovered

Raoul Wallenberg in 1944 and as a student at his graduation day in Stockholm. Source: Wikipedia/ Public Domain
Raoul Wallenberg in 1944 and as a student at his graduation day in Stockholm. Source: Wikipedia/ Public Domain

“I have no doubts Wallenberg was liquidated in 1947.” This was an excerpt from a diary of Ivan A. Serov, the former leader of the Russian secret police from 1954 to 1958. The diaries were found inside the wall of one of his homes in northwestern Moscow which is being renovated by his granddaughter. The diaries were found four years ago and are being published this summer.

What the diary is referring to is Raoul Wallenberg; he was a Swedish diplomat in Nazi-occupied Hungary who led an extensive and successful mission to save the lives of nearly 100,000 Hungarian Jews. To make this feat even more impressive when Wallenberg arrived in Budapest in 1944 there were only 230,000 Jewish people left, down from around 750,000 originally.

The diaries also contain several documents that were previously unknown, one including the cremation of his body. The diaries went for sale in June under the title “Notes from a Suitcase: Secret Diaries of the First KGB Chairman, Found over 25 Years after His Death”. Serov died from a heart attack in 1990 at the age of 84; he is thought to have hidden the diaries around 1971.

The Russians and Swedish pulled together in a joint task force in 1991 in hopes of finding out what had happened to Wallenberg. The investigation included archival research and interviews with retired state security employees. The investigation ended in 2000 and brought forth no evidence of what had happened to Wallenberg, most documents that were discovered were either destroyed or altered to hide all traces of him.

Wallenberg disappeared in 1945. He was stationed in Hungary during WWII where he issued protective passports to Jews in the final months of the Holocaust. The Soviets claimed that Wallenberg later died of a heart attack in prison.

In 1979 both of Wallenberg’s parents committed suicide after the years of heartbreak from not knowing what had happened to their beloved son. In November of last year, Wallenberg’s family asked Swedish authorities to declare him dead. Now that these diaries have been published his fate is no longer unknown, hopefully, his family will have some closure after so long.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE