Is Raoul Wallenberg Alive?

An attorney for the family of Raoul Wallenberg, who helped tens of thousands of Jews escape Nazi death camps, believes the Swedish diplomat is still alive.

Russia acknowledged last week that Wallenberg was wrongfully imprisoned in Soviet prisons on espionage charges for more than 2½ years until his death. Details remain unclear.

But family attorney Morris Wolff said in a letter to President Clinton that he had received reports that Wallenberg, who would be 88, is in a mental institution near Moscow.

In a letter dated Dec. 27, Wolff asked Clinton to “enlist (Russian) President Vladimir Putin to release Wallenberg, or to allow an international committee ... to examine the evidence.”

“There is a genuine possibility that Wallenberg is still alive,” Wolff told Clinton.

Wolff said today that a former prisoner of war named Andre Tamas, who was released earlier this year after 50 years in a Russian hospital, had indicated he had seen Wallenberg there.

Wallenberg, who vanished in 1945 at age 32, was a member of one of Sweden’s wealthiest and most prominent industrialist families.

During World War II, he distributed Swedish passports to Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary, won diplomatic protection for whole neighborhoods in Budapest and organized food and medical supplies. His efforts are credited with saving at least 20,000 lives.

Many former Soviet prisoners continue to claim Wallenberg was alive as late as the 1970s and 1980s.

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