|Jangfeldt, Bengt; Watson, Harry
The story of Raoul Wallenberg - the Swedish businessman who, at immense personal risk, rescued many of Budapest's Jews from the Holocaust and subsequently disappeared into the Soviet prison system - is one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II. Yet the complete story of his life and fate can only be told now - and for the first time in this book - following access to the Russian and Swedish archival sources, previously not used. Born into a wealthy Swedish family, Wallenberg was a moderately successful businessman when he was recruited by the War Refugee Board to manage the rescue mission of thousands of Hungarian Jews. Once in Budapest, he created and distributed so called 'protective passports' (or Schutz-Pass) among the Jewish population, thus managing to save up to 8,000 people. Through the 'safe houses' and clandestine networks that he established around the city, many thousands more were saved from the concentration camps. Yet, when Budapest was liberated by the Red Army in January 1945, Wallenberg was arrested and taken to Moscow.
One of the reasons for his arrest was that the Soviets could not understand the nature of his mission: formally he was a Swedish diplomat but he worked for an American agency. On the basis of previously unseen Soviet sources, Jangfeldt has been able to reconstruct the events surrounding Wallenberg's arrest almost hour by hour and, for the first time, he presents a highly plausible theory about the reasons why Wallenberg was arrested and what happened to him after he disappeared. With access to previously unpublished material, Bengt Jangfeldt provides the first complete account of Wallenberg's life - from his childhood in Sweden to his disappearance in a Russian jail - and sheds important new light on one of the greatest heroes of World War II. This is a thrilling tale of intrigue, espionage and heroism which will captivate all readers of modern European history.