Some 70 years after Raoul Wallenberg mysteriously disappeared, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust will likely be formally declared dead, authorities announced Tuesday.
The application to Sweden’s Tax Authority was filed by his trustees, and is expected to be completed in the autumn, Reuters reported.
For decades, Wallenberg’s family members have been struggling to find out what happened to him after he mysteriously disappeared in Soviet custody in January 1945.
Wallenberg, a young architect and businessman, volunteered to travel to Hungary in 1944 as a diplomat to help a US effort to rescue Jews who were being exterminated by Nazi Germany.
He used his role to save tens of thousands of Jews by issuing them protective passports in the final months of the Holocaust.
Wallenberg’s family has never received an explanation for why he was arrested by Soviet forces shortly after they liberated Hungary from the Nazis, nor what happened to him after his arrest. Last year, his relatives asked Swedish authorities to declare him dead.
In 1957, the Soviet Union released a document saying Wallenberg had been jailed in the Lubyanka prison, the notorious building where the KGB security services were headquartered, and that he died of heart failure on July 17, 1947.
But skeptics have questioned that version, with some saying he was executed.
In 2000 the head of a Russian commission of investigation conceded Wallenberg had been shot and killed by KGB agents in Lubyanka in 1947 for political reasons, but declined to be more specific or to cite hard evidence.
Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912 and would be 103 years old if he was still alive today.
AFP contributed to this report.