A Note from Michael and Inna Rogatchi, The Rogatchi Foundation – www.rogatchi.org, www.rogatchifilms.org —
We would like to address you now on a very important and timely (as ever) international initiative regarding Raoul Wallenberg. A prominent historian Susanne Berger has enough clarity and vision, and strength, too, to start this new chapter in the ongoing saga of Raoul Wallenberg’s destiny. Set at the time of the 70th anniversary of his arrest in Budapest, the Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative known as RWI-70, aims to make better sense of the knowledge and understanding gained up to now, but also outlines how to move forward on this difficult road. The complete information about the initiative and what it does and aims is presented by Susanne Berger below. It really is worth reading.
As a major part of the RWI-70, the Raoul Wallenberg’s International Roundtable will take place on May 20-21st, 2016 at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest. Although the initiative does enjoy wide support of international institutions and individuals, as you will see from the attached material, it still does need additional help. Michael and I and our Foundation are supporting it with instant readiness, due to the cause, and our life-long position on the matter.
To us, it is simply incomprehensible that seventy years on, we still are unable to return to Raoul Wallenberg and his family even a glimpse of existing truth regarding his destiny. That’s why the effort which aims to fix this major injustice, and is doing it at the level the RWI-70 does, deserves support, in our view. By supporting the initiative, we all would be able to demonstrate our all’ gratitude to the man who did demonstrate the best of a human soul in the time of complete darkness.
A note from Susanne Berger, Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI-70)–
I am a historian and from 1995-2001, I served as an independent consultant to the Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated the fate of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Russia. I am writing to you in the hope that you might be willing to extend your support to a new project in the case that aims to link the present to the past, to highlight that the two are inextricably connected.
17 January 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the arrest of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest, by advancing Soviet Forces. During six harrowing months in 1944, Wallenberg and his colleagues managed to protect thousands of Budapest’s Jews from deportation and death by issuing Swedish protective passports and by organizing a vast rescue apparatus that provided essential housing, food, clothing and medical care.
After his detention, Wallenberg was taken to Moscow where he disappeared. The full circumstances of his fate have never been determined. Soviet authorities claim that he died on July 17,1947 but the information has never been verified. We have recently launched a new international research initiative in the Raoul Wallenberg Case. The central aim is to pool researchers’ knowledge and expertise, in order to create a blueprint for solving the case. (Please see attachments and the online references enclosed below.)
As part of the new Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative (RWI-70) we also intend to conduct a Raoul Wallenberg International Roundtable. This symposium is scheduled to be held on 20-21 May, 2016, at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest. It will bring together international researchers, historians and members of Raoul Wallenberg’s family to discuss how to obtain access to key documentation in Russian and other international archives.
Our efforts are intended to emphasize the urgent need for transparency and verification of basic information, with independent researchers being granted unhindered access to historical records held in currently still classified Russian archival collections.
At the same time, the Wallenberg Case provides an important link between the present day human rights agenda and the past. Our project aims to underscore the rights of political prisoners like Raoul Wallenberg and their families to truthful information about their ordeal, as anchored in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Disappeared and other international legal norms.
We have had a rather enthusiastic response from the researchers I have contacted, so hopefully this initiative will at the very least make a strong symbolic gesture. More than 80 international experts and human rights organizations have signed on so far.
Current co-sponsors of our efforts include the European Commission; B’nai B’rith International; the Moscow Memorial Society; Team 29 (St. Petersburg); the Norwegian Helsinki Committee; the Antal Ullein-Reviczky Foundation (Hungary); Professor Szabolcs Szita and the Holocaust Memorial Cente (Hungary); the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center (U.S.A); the Living History Forum (Sweden) and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (U.S.A).
We have also gained the support of a number of individual sponsors, such as the British author John le Carré; Jan and Peter Anger (the sons of Per Anger, Raoul Wallenberg’s colleague in Budapest); the former Chairman of the Swedish Working Group in the Wallenberg case; Ambassador Hans Magnusson; Paul Martin, the former Prime Minister of Canada; and Irwin Cotler, Canada’s former Minister of Justice.
We are especially grateful that many Holocaust survivors and individuals saved by Raoul Wallenberg and the various rescue initiatives in 1944 have also joined us.
I would like to stress that the term “co-sponsorship” does not imply any kind of financial obligation whatsoever. The term merely denotes support for the planned agenda and the central purpose of the initiative, which is to advance our knowledge of what exactly happened to Raoul Wallenberg.
However, we would be grateful for any financial contribution you would be willing to make. So far, we have raised about a third of the sum ($15,000) needed to conduct a full meeting of all participants of the RWI-70 ($40,000). Meanwhile, the project as such is moving ahead, with the core documentation being readied for approval March 15, 2016.
Your support would be most valuable in these efforts and would help to underscore the important role Raoul Wallenberg played during one of the darkest chapters of recent European history. His mission was true humanistic philosophy in action. Raw courage, both physical and moral, is Raoul Wallenberg’s enduring legacy, one that continues to resonate strongly today. For that, he not only deserves the many honors that he has received, but he also deserves something more: He deserves justice.
We really need your help to make this project a success. Many thanks in advance for your time and consideration,
*All donations are tax deductible. Please Susanne Berger firstname.lastname@example.org. She will provide you with the relevant information.
Please make all contributions payable to
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