Prisoner 7: What happened to Raoul Wallenberg?

News of the tragic Polish airplane crash while transporting many of Poland's high-ranking officials to visit the site of the Katyn Forest Massacre isn't the only recent news about a Soviet-inflicted WWII tragedy.

Recent news about the fate of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps, has come to light, suggesting he did not die shortly after his arrest, but rather may have been kept prisoner by the Soviets for many years.

After providing passports and shelter to thousands of Jews who were scheduled to be deported to Nazi death camps, Wallenberg was arrested in Budapest, Hungary by Soviet forces shortly after they took the city in 1945, and was later reported to have died in captivity in 1947, allegedly of a heart attack.

There had been speculation that Wallenberg remained alive and in Soviet prisons for years afterwards, but until now, no official information has supported these claims. Recent reports have surfaced from searches of Soviet prison documents which suggest he may have lived beyond 1947, identified as Prisoner 7:


The latest round of discussions, in November 2009, have yielded a resounding surprise. In a formal reply to several questions regarding Russian prison interrogation registers from 1947, FSB archivists stated that "with great likelihood" Raoul Wallenberg became "Prisoner No. 7″ in Moscow's Lubyanka prison some time that year. The archivists added that "Prisoner No. 7″ had been interrogated on July 23, 1947 which – if confirmed – would mean that the Soviet era claims of Wallenberg's death on July 17, 1947 are no longer valid. Never before have Russian officials stated the possibility of Raoul Wallenberg's survival past this date so explicitly.

In Charleston, Wallenberg was remembered by the naming of Wallenberg Boulevard.

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