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Friday, January 17, 2020

Commie horror ~ the man who disappeared 75 years ago !!

This man born in Apr 1908, after schooling,  enrolled in a technical school, from which he was expelled in 1924 for forging his report card. He later graduated, but did not take the Abitur exams that would have enabled him to go to college or university. Instead, he took courses in Brno in several trades, including chauffeuring and machinery, and worked for his father for three years. A fan of motorcycles since his youth, he bought a 250-cc Moto Guzzi racing motorcycle and competed recreationally in mountain races for the next few years. He was to join Czech army, where he rose to the rank of lance corporal, returned to Moravian Electrotechnic, which went bankrupt shortly afterwards. His father's farm machinery business closed around the same time, leaving him  unemployed ~ the story of a failed man one may think – yet the man, Oskar Schindler – is a hero, whose life was imbibed as an inspirational movie, by a person no less than Steven Spielberg.  Schindler's List,  a 1993 American epic historical drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian was  based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman, who saved more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II.

This is no post on Oskar Schindler, but on a person who disappeared on this day 75 years ago ! ~ a man who saved the lives of many jews.   The disappearance of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, presaging the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most brutal extermination camp of the 20th century.  Decades later,  the international drumbeat of evil and indifference can still feel overwhelming, with the international community too often a bystander to atrocity and injustice.

                            Raoul Wallenberg was born in Aug 1912. In 1944, he saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis, only to be arrested and shot by the Soviets.  The son of a renowned Swedish family of entrepreneurs and diplomats, he was supposed to become a banker, but found he had neither the inclination nor the talent for the work. Instead he went to the US to study architecture, dropped out, and returned to Sweden during World War II to set up a business importing food - owing his success partly to his experienced Hungarian business partner Kalman Lauer.  As an attaché to the Swedish embassy, Wallenberg enjoyed diplomatic immunity, and he knew how to use it. He bought up buildings in which those he saved could find refuge under the Swedish flag. He bribed officials, offered huge financial deals and threatened political consequences should they fail to help him. Then, the young Swede came up with the idea of issuing "protective passports" that identified the bearers as Swedish citizens and therefore citizens of a neutral state. He managed to save several thousand Jews from the SS and Gestapo.

The Nuremberg Laws  were antisemitic and racist laws in Nazi Germany, enacted by the Reichstag in  1935, at a special meeting convened during the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households, and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens. The remainder were classed as state subjects without any citizenship rights.

SMERSH was an umbrella organization for three independent counter-intelligence agencies in the Red Army formed officially announced in Apr  1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin. The main reason for its creation was to subvert the attempts by German forces to infiltrate the Red Army on the Eastern Front.

During World War II, the Kingdom of Hungary was a member of the Axis powers. In the 1930s, the Kingdom of Hungary relied on increased trade with Italy and  Germany to pull itself out of the Great Depression. Hungarian politics and foreign policy had become more stridently nationalistic by 1938, and Hungary adopted an irredentist policy similar to Germany's, attempting to incorporate ethnic Hungarian areas in neighboring countries into Hungary. Hungarian forces participated in the invasion of Yugoslavia and the invasion of the Soviet Union. Their participation was noted by German observers for its particular cruelty, with occupied peoples subjected to arbitrary violence, referred as  "murder tourism." Beginning in 1938, the Kingdom of Hungary, under the regency of Miklós Horthy, passed a series of anti-Jewish measures modeled on the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws. In April and May 1944 the Nazi regime and its accomplices began the mass deportation of Hungary's Jews to extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg (1912 – 1945) was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat, and humanitarian. He is remembered for saving tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory.

On 17 January 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by SMERSH on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared. He was later reported to have died on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned by the KGB secret police in the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters and affiliated prison in Moscow. The motives behind Wallenberg's arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.  Later he was conferred many honours – in   1981, US Congressman Tom Lantos, one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States, the second person ever to receive this honour. Wallenberg is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, Australia, and Israel.

A couple of years ago, a Russian court began hearing a lawsuit from descendants of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg against the FSB security service to try to get more details on his death in a Soviet jail.  Wallenberg was jailed in the notorious headquarters of the secret police in Moscow, where he died. Wallenberg's niece Marie Dupuy in July launched a legal case against the FSB - the successor of the Soviet-era KGB - to force it to drop its refusal to release the full archive on the diplomat. The USSR in 1957 made public a document saying Wallenberg died of heart failure in the Lubyanka prison in July 1947. In 2000, the head of a Russian investigative commission said Wallenberg had been shot and killed by the secret police, but gave no specific details. Sweden officially declared Wallenberg dead in 2016. An FSB representative asked the court to reject the latest demands in part because it said the archives include details about the "personal life" of other Lubyanka inmates.

The documents from 1947 can only be made available in 2022 after an official 75-year waiting period to declassify the documents has passed, the FSB said. "You can wait for these deadlines," he told the family. Whether truth and complete information would get revealed by 2022 too is a mystery.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Jan 2020.

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