The JEWISH POST remembers...
Raoul Wallenberg: A hero without a grave...
On February 2, 1957, a note was delivered to the Swedish government and signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. The note told of a handwritten report by a Col. Smoltsov, head of Lubianka Prison's health service, to Viktor Abakumov, minister of state security. The report was supposedly written on July 17, 1947: "I report that the prisoner Walenberg (sic) who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack. Pursuant to the instructions given by you that I personally have Walenberg under my care, I request approval to make an autopsy with a view to establishing cause of death." Scrawled across the bottom of the page in the same handwriting was the addendum: "I have personally notified the minister and it has been ordered that the body be cremated without autopsy. 17, July. Smoltsov." Smoltsov and Abakumov were both dead in 1957 when Gromyko delivered the note. It is highly irregular for a Soviet prison doctor to report directly to a minister rather than to the head of the prison.
The Russians never produced Col. Smoltsov's note or even a photocopy of it - an important omission, given the Russian's penchant for careful documentation. Gromyko's communique ended by saying: "The Soviet government presents its sincere regrets for what has occurred and expresses its profound sympathy to the Swedish Government as well as to Raoul's relatives."
On February 9, 1957, the Swedish ambassador to Moscow, Rolf Sohlman, delivered a note to Gromyko from the Swedish government, expressing outrage at the facts as reported in the Russian communique. The note continued that the Swedish government felt the investigation was incomplete. It also found it difficult to believe that everything referring to Wallenberg except the Smoltsov note had been completely obliterated. The Swedish government then pressed the Soviets to continue their investigation. One final comment on the Gromyko letter and its continuing effect on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg is made in an article in the March, 1981 issue of McClean's Magazine. The author is Yuri Luryi, an expert on Soviet law who now lives and teaches in Canada: "The sad thing is that it was Gromyko who signed the letter back in 1957. He was simply a deputy of the foreign minister then, but now he is a member of the Soviet Mount Olympus. He is one of the gods who never makes mistakes. One panelist in Sweden (Wallenberg Hearings, January, 1981) said that until Gromyko is out of power, they do not expect any positive change in the Soviet approach to Wallenberg's fate."
truly recognize the greatness of Raoul Wallenberg - A man who acted while others watched. The survivors of the Holocaust say "NEVER AGAIN". Let us take these words and apply them further: Let us apply them to those who have stood silently as Raoul Wallenberg disappeared into the horrors of the Gulag. Raoul Wallenberg is not only a symbol of injustice, but also a symbol of indifference. Let us act now.
Return to News ArchivesBack to Top