Rare Footage Found of Raoul Wallenberg, Who Saved Thousands of Jews From Nazis

The fate of the Swedish diplomat has been shrouded in mystery since he was captured in 1945

File photo: This undated photo shows World War II hero, Sweden's envoy to Nazi-occupied Hungary, Raoul Wallenberg.
AP

Rare film footage of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with helping thousands of Jews in WWII, was discovered last month in the archives of Swedish television SVT.

A 25-second clip aired Wednesday evening on SVT's cultural affairs news program.

"It is so touching ... it's magical," Wallenberg's sister Nina Lagergren, 96, said after viewing the clip.

The last time she saw her brother was in July 1944 before he left for Budapest, Hungary, to work at the Swedish legation.

"There is no doubt, you can see his movements, how he places his hand on his knee, that was typical," she said.

The clip was from a home-guard exercise in the summer or autumn of 1940 showing the 29-year-old Wallenberg instructing volunteers at a shooting practice.

Gellert Kovacs, a Hungarian-Swedish researcher on Wallenberg, recognized the diplomat after the clip was shown in connection with another news item in April.

In Budapest, Wallenberg offered bribes and issued special passports to rescue Hungarian Jews who risked deportation. He was captured in January 1945 by Soviet troops and taken to the then Soviet Union, where he was officially reported dead in July 1947. However, alleged later sightings kept up hopes he might have survived longer.

Wallenberg, born in 1912, was formally declared dead in October 2016, allowing his estate to be wound up some 70 years after his disappearance.

Swedish tax authorities listed his death date as July 31, 1952.

In 1989, Wallenberg's family was given his passport and some other items by the Soviet authorities.