Russian Court Will Hear Case on Raoul Wallenberg
Relatives are seeking documents about the Swedish diplomat, who saved Jews during World War II and died in Soviet captivity under mysterious circumstances.
MOSCOW — A court in Moscow will hear a lawsuit filed against Russia’s top security agency by relatives of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from death in Nazi extermination camps, a lawyer for the family said on Thursday.
Mr. Wallenberg’s relatives began fighting decades ago to learn more about what happened from the time of his disappearance from a Budapest street in 1945 to his mysterious death, supposedly in 1947, in a notorious Soviet prison.
Marie Dupuy, Mr. Wallenberg’s niece, is seeking to force the F.S.B. security agency, a successor to the K.G.B., to make public documents that could shed light on his fate. She believes the documents are in the agency’s archive.
During the final stages of World War II, Mr. Wallenberg served as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest and courageously used his diplomatic privileges to prevent Jews from being deported to concentration camps.
After Mr. Wallenberg died, the Soviets and then the Russians held to a widely disputed assertion that he had died of a heart attack in 1947 at age 34. It was not until last year that the Swedish government formally declared him dead.
Ivan Pavlov, Ms. Dupuy’s lawyer, said that predicting the outcome of the case was a “thankless job,” given the Russian government’s reluctance to re-examine the murky elements of the Soviet past.
However, he added, “We never initiate a case if we’re not confident that it will be successful.” A first hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 17.
In 2000, a Russian part of a joint Russian-Swedish investigative group looking into the fate of Mr. Wallenberg essentially admitted that an official note issued by the Soviet Foreign Ministry in 1957 about his death was false. The report said that the Swedish diplomat “most likely” did not die from natural causes.
The group’s report stopped short of reaching a conclusion and stated that the chances were low of finding documentation that would uncover “conceptually new” details of Mr. Wallenberg’s death.
Relatives of Mr. Wallenberg were not content with the explanations.
His family was told in 1957 that no records of his time in prison were preserved, other than a note by the head of the prison’s medical unit quoted in the Foreign Ministry memo. But in 1989, his passport, personal belongings and a copy of a prisoner record card were turned over to the family.