As president of the Board of Directors of The Independent Investigation into Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate, I am writing you to ask for your support in raising $72,000 towards our efforts to uncover what really happened to Swedish humanitarian and Honorary U.S. citizen, Raoul Wallenberg, who “disappeared” into the Soviet prison system in 1945.
In the Steven Spielberg film, “Bridge of Spies,” Rudolph Abel, a Soviet spy, was swapped for U-2 pilot Gary Powers, shot down over the USSR in 1960. Since the hero of the film is not Powers, but rather an American lawyer who negotiated the exchange, the movie skips over an equally powerful story of Powers’ incarceration in the Vladimir Prison. Nor does it mention an American student, Marvin Makinen, down the hall, who was later returned in exchange for two Soviet spies from the Soviet U.N. delegation. Dr. Makinen has been a key member of our team since the beginning.
Powers and Makinen shared something besides being Americans accused of spying against the Soviet Union. At different times, they had the same cellmate, a probable informant who also sat with a Swede, generally considered Raoul Wallenberg. The period when the informant might have sat with Raoul was a decade after his alleged death date of July 17, 1947. Wallenberg’s presence in Vladimir Prison, if true, raises the very critical question as to why a man so prominent was not exchanged as well.
The Independent Investigation into Raoul Wallenberg’s Fate team has worked steadily since 1997 to locate and define the course of the Swede (or Swedes) who might have been the “real Raoul” in the Vladimir Prison. The methodology was based on Dr. Makinen’s experiences in Korpus 2, where most of the special prisoners were kept in isolation. Initially this work was carried out with funding and unprecedented cooperation under the aegis of a government-directed Swedish-Russian Working Group. This resulted in a state-of-the art database that enables us to cross-reference eyewitness reports against the records of the Vladimir Prison and track the Unlisted —prisoners who are not named or numbered and who do not appear in the general card file—as they move from place to place. Since the Working Group disbanded in 2001, our dedicated team of Marvin Makinen, Susan Mesinai, and me has continued our work of substantiating more eyewitness reports, uncovering new witnesses and “Unlisted” prisoners who may be Raoul or have knowledge of him.
With your contribution, we will be able to extend the database to include more prisoners, and reconstruct enough of Raoul’s paper trail to raise reasonable doubt as to his death in 1947. In addition, we will be preparing both for book and film an alternative view that is documented and based on credible information in contrast to the Soviet claim.
We are a not-for-profit educational organization. Please help us resolve the fate of this great humanitarian, Raoul Wallenberg, who sacrificed his life to keep freedom and justice alive. Contributions of any size are appreciated. With many thanks, Ari D. Kaplan, President