Friday, 15 June, 2007

American NGO sees similarities between Bose-Wallenberg cases

International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation (IRWF) has spotted "similarities between the cases of Netaji and Raoul Wallenberg". In a communication to Mission Netaji, New York-based IRWF has highlighted the poignant story of Wallenberg, a famed Swedish diplomat who saved one lakh Jews in 1944 before his sudden disappearance from Budapest.

"He was never seen again in the free world after January 1945, when the Soviet, who had just entered Budapest, abducted and imprisoned Wallenberg," IRWF stated.

As per the findings of Mukherjee Commission, in August 1945 Bose disappeared while making good his escape to the Soviet Russia.

Just was the case with Bose, rumours of whose incarceration in the USSR gathered pace in subsequent years, Wallenberg was reported to be in Soviet confinement for decades.

And just as Bose's kin and admirers strove to get to the truth, Wallenberg's family, supporters worldwide and the Swedish Government made unrelenting, proactive efforts to ascertain what had become of him. The moment also got a major fillip in the US, where one of the person saved by Wallenberg, Tom Lantos, took the battle to the US Congress. Lantos became instrumental in making Wallenberg the second person in history to have been made an honoury US citizen.

"In a way Congressman Lantos, who has made headlines in India recently due to his tough posturing on Indo-Iran relations, is like late Prof Samar Guha, who waged a battle in Parliament with the help of the likes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee," says Chandrachur Ghose of Mission Netaji.

The IRWF communication comes at a time when Mission Netaji's Anuj Dhar is expecting the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to release their correspondence with the Russians over Netaji's fate following an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC). Dhar had sought the correspondence under the RTI Act. After being denied the same by the ministry, he complained to the CIC. In March this year, the CIC ordered that the Ministry would have to release the papers "latest by 30 June 2007" and "would like the issue to be settled only after a reference has been made to the Government of Russia" should the Government fear that the relations between the two nations "would be affected through the disclosure of this information".

Dhar says that the similarities between Bose-Wallenberg cases end when one compares "the mala fide intentions of the Indian Government with the bona fides of the Swedes".

The moment the Swedish Government got the information that Raoul Wallenberg could have been captured in the USSR, they took up the matter with the latter at a high level. In 1947 Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky wrote to the Swedish government that "Wallenberg is not in the Soviet Union and is unknown to us". He also suggested that he "had either been killed in the battle for Budapest or kidnapped and murdered by Nazis or Hungarian Fascists".

Sweden, however, persisted and in 1957 USSR's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko did a volte-face to reveal that in 1947, Wallenberg, all of 33 then, died suddenly of a heart attack in the notorious Lubyanka prison in KGB's HQ in Moscow. This version was disbelieved.

The Subhas Bose case, as pursued by India, pales in comparison. Despite receiving the intelligence that he could be in the USSR, the Indian Government, which shared excellent rapport with the Soviets unlike the Swedes, never brought the matter on the bilateral agenda.

In 1991, when the Soviet empire was disintegrating, Sweden, backed by the US, made the best of the opportunity to form a joint commission with the Russians to go deeper into the Wallenberg question. The same year, Prime Minister Chandrshekhar's Government, surviving on Congress's support, secretly decided to bury the Netaji case for once and all.

At the end of the joint inquiry in 2001, Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson vowed that "our efforts to obtain an answer on what really happened to Raoul Wallenberg will be continued". "These efforts must be based on the assumption that Raoul Wallenberg may have lived after 1947." He also remarked that "the main responsibility for Raoul Wallenberg's fate rests with the Soviet Government".

In strike contrast, the Indian Government, which has gone only so far as issuing note verbales (informal unsigned notes) to the Russians in recent times, summarily dismissed the report of Mukherjee Commission in just one line. That speaks volumes about their sincerity.

IRWF ( is a leading organization dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg and has offices in New York, Jerusalem and Buenos Aires.


Arani said...

Did MN contact the IRWF? As far as I know, Netaji's name does not inspire many in the west.

Anuj Dhar said...

No, they contacted us. I presume after seeing some report about us. We have been talking of the Wallenberg case for some time now. We have a lot to learn from it. This is how a more civilized and sincere people behave.

Arani said...

It would be really nice if we could get help from them in the form of ideas and advice. Maybe the opinion of experts too.

Mr.Ambivalent said...

Anuj i think is is very important that u give the exact reference(link,newspaper cutting television interview)where the mention about the similarity.

Anuj Dhar said...

Ambivalent, more details will follow as things unfold. Most people dont have appetite and time for too many details. They want the crux of the matter with some proof. That has been given here.

Arani said...

Do you mean that you have something much more interesting to show than only this about IRWF's communication?

By the way, what about the MEA's reply? It is already 25th July, and I think MN has to get something by 30th July. I believe MN will get absolutely no reply from the MEA.

Arani said...

Another thing I wanted to know is: What do you mean by "as things unfold"? Are you expecting something more interesting in the next few days?