NEW YORK — While Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was saving the lives of Jews in Hungary during World War II, some of his relatives were collaborating with the Nazis, according to the World Jewish Congress.
"While Raoul was a saint, he was performing superhero feats to save the Jews in Budapest, the U.S. government knew that the Wallenberg bank, controlled by his uncles, was cooperating wholly with the Nazis," said Elan Steinberg, WJC executive director.
The WJC reported recently that it discovered the activities of the Wallenberg-owned bank while searching declassified U.S. intelligence files for information concerning the whereabouts of assets of Holocaust victims that are believed to be in Swiss bank accounts.
The Wallenberg documents shed light on "Sweden's involvement with and collaboration with the Nazis during the war," Steinberg said.
"Sweden is clearly emerging as one of the places where the Nazis moved assets."
According to the documents, The Enskilda Bank, owned by Jacob and Marcus Wallenberg, Raoul's uncles, dealt in large black-market operations, money laundering and concealing German investments in the United States.
The documents also contain evidence disproving the belief in some circles that Marcus Wallenberg was on the side of the Allies. He traveled to the United States in 1940 on behalf of German interests to buy back a block of German securities being held by America, according to the documents.
The disclosed information about the collaboration between the Nazi regime and Marcus and Jacob Wallenberg suggests a reason for the feeble attempt to find their nephew.
"It's long been out there that the Wallenberg family in Stockholm apparently did very little to locate Raoul after his disappearance into the Soviet gulag in January 1945," Steinberg said.
Stationed in Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg helped to save some 20,000 Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps. He was arrested by Soviet occupation forces in January 1945.
The Soviet authorities maintained that Raoul Wallenberg died in prison in 1947, but others have claimed that he was alive as late as the 1980s.
U.S. News & World Report reported earlier this month that newly unearthed documents showed that Raoul Wallenberg spied for an agency that was a predecessor of the CIA.