Unique discovery of footage of Raoul Wallenberg


A unique film sequence, featuring Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, has been discovered by chance in the archives of the Swedish public service television – SVT.

Scholars in the field of the life and work of Raoul Wallenberg describe the discovery of the footage as ”sensational”

The unique sequence was filmed at a location in central Stockholm in the early 1940’s, where Wallenberg can be seen instructing young recruits during a firing exercise. This is the first time footage of the world famous Swede has been found.

”There is no doubt”

This is also the first time Wallenberg’s sister, Nina Lagergren, sees her brother since he disappeared in 1944.

– There is no doubt – the way he moves, and the way he keeps his hand on his knee was typical of him, says Lagergren, visibly moved, to the Swedish cultural news programme Kulturnyheterna – broadcast on SVT.

Unique footage

The 25 second long sequence, which for many years has been hidden in the archives of SVT, is unique. The footage was filmed in the summer or autumn of 1940.

At that time Raoul Wallenberg was 29 years old, and nobody expected him to one day become one of the greatest heroes of World War II – only to disappear without a trace in 1945.

For scholars, pursuing research in the field of the life and work of Raoul Wallenberg – and in the subsequent disappearance of the Swedish diplomat – the discovery of the film sequence is no less than sensational.

Discovered by chance

The unique footage was discovered by chance by Wallenberg scholar Gellert Kovacs during the broadcast of Kulturnyheterna on SVT last month.

– I was watching the programme at home, when all of a sudden I saw the room where a firing exercise took place. I thought I recognized it from a photograph of Raoul Wallenberg. Then I noticed his profile, says Kovacs to Kulturnyheterna.

After seeing the footage Kovacs went online to pause the clip and subseqently became conviced that the sequence was indeed of the Swedish dipolomat.

– I am now 100 percent sure – it’s Raoul Wallenberg, says Gellert Kovacs to Kulturnyheterna.

Saved tens of thousands of Hungarian jews

Kovacs then contacted acclaimed Wallenberg scholar Susanna Berger, who agreed that the footage – which is the first of its kind ever discovered of Raoul Wallenberg – was indeed of the vanished Swedish dipolmat.

Raoul Wallenberg issued protective passports for tens of thousands of jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II and is credited for subesquently saving their lives.

He was arrested by Soviet officials in 1945 and disappeared without a trace – leaving family and future generations in agony.

”It's magical”

Wallenberg’s sister Nina Lagergren is 96 years old today and hasn’t seen her brother for 73 years.

When seeing the footage of her brother, instructing the young recruits in a basement in the centre of Stockholm in the 1940’s, she is visibly moved.

– It’s a very emotional experience. It’s magical, says Lagergren to Kulturnyheterna.

Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish architect and diplomat, who saved the lives of tens of thousands of jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary by providing them with protective passports and sheltering them in buildings designed as Swedish territory.

Today Wallenberg is considered a heroe due to his extensive humanitarian work. A Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 – and annually gives the Raoul Wallenberg Award to recognize those who ”perpetuate the humanitarian ideals and the nonviolent courage of Raoul Wallenberg”.

Wallenberg disappeared in 1945 during the siege of Budapest by the Red Army. He was later reported to have died in 1947 while imprisoned by the KGB, but the circumstances of his death remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.

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