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August 17, 2012

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- PAGE 18A ! Mystery From page 1A penitentiaries. What they said suggests to Makinen that Wallenberg had lived 10ng past the 1947 official date of death that the Russians have listed for him. After his release through an exchange deal in 1963, Makinen completed his stud- ies to become a physician and later professor of bio- chemistry at.the University of Chicago. In parallel he began researching the Wal- lenberg case. Wallenberg, a diplomat from neutral Sweden, is- sued diplomatic protective passports to Jews. He arrived in Budapest in July 1944 as a delegate of the War Refugee Board, a relief body set up by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. Wallenberg's last con- firmed sighting was in Jan- uary 1945, before Soviet authorities arrested him on espionage charges. In 2001, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council of Russia, said the Russian state "profoundly regretted" that Wallenberg died in Rdssia after being r- rested"for political reasons.". The Russians maintain that Wallenberg died on Jan. 17, 1947 but have yet to produce documents in support. Makinen, meanwhile, says thatduring his incarceration- in Russia, three unrelated individuals told him that a Swede was imprisoned in V.ladimir Prison. One Polish prisoner told Makinen that the Swede's name was "Van den Berg." Both Sweden and Russia have declined Makinen's requests for lists of Swedes known to have been in Soviet custody. He says he needs that information to see if the Swede from Vladimir Prison could have been someone other than Wallenberg. The time that Makinen spent in the Soviet prison affected his attitude on the Wallenberg research on two levels, he told JTA. "My own experience at Vladimir Prison helped me understand the reality there," Makinen said. "Also, I feel an obligation to Wal- lenberg because I was there." Makinen's inquiries led to a hypothesis that challenges the official Russian version on Wallenberg's death. Maki- nen set out to see if Wallen- berg had been secretly kept at Vladimir Prison. In 1991, he became a con- sultant to the newly formed Swedish-Russian Working Group for Determining the Fate of Raoul Wallenberg. It had been one of the first times following the collapse of the Soviet Union that a Western team of researchers gained permission to access Soviet archives. Many regarded it as potentially the most im- portant development in the attempt to understand what happened to Wllenberg. Along with Ari Kaplan, a computer expert and fellow Working Group consultant, Makinen set out to explore his theory that Wallenberg had been kept Vladimir Prison. The two researchers designed a complex database analysis of the cell occupancy at the prison from 1947 to t972 based on partial Russian prison records. In the analysis, Kaplan and Makinen show that some rooms in the overpopulated prison had remained emp- ty-on paper, at least--for more than nine consecutive months at a time. To Maki- nen, this suggested a prisoner or prisoners had been kept there but were not listed on the registry. Moscow denied his request for more prison records, Makinen said. The final sighting of Wal- lenberg at Vladimir P'rison " is from 1970 by a cleaning woman who worked there. She picked out Wallenberg's photo when asked to identify the fore4gn prisoner who had been kept there, Makinen says. A former warden cor- roborated the sighting. The last sighting of Wallen- berg was in 1981: Albert Ho- losy, a Hungarian national, said a nurse at a psychiatric institute outside Moscow had pointed out a man in a wheelchair as Wallenberg. Makinen says it "makes a lot of sense," but the Swedish Foreign Ministry discounted the sighting. "The way in which the Swedes discounted that sighting is typical," said Susan Mesinai, a New York- based independent research- er in the Working Group, which was disbanded in 2001. "But that time it hurt." A report by the Swedish Embassy in Moscow said the sighting was dismissed because at the address given, there was "only a small house which couldn't accommodate any psychiatric facility." Mesinai, however, says she went to the locale and found a. large building that matched the description of the Hungarian witness. The Swedish government also has refused requests that it ask Interpol to open an in- vestigation into Wallenberg's fate, says Max Grtlnberg, a Dutch-Born human rights campaigner. "There's a lot of commemo- rative events going on now, but very little attempt to see what actually happened to Wallenberg. It's frustrating," Makinen says. Sweden held its national commemoration event Aug. 4, Wallenberg's 100th birth- day. In October, it will hold a joint event in the Netherlands with the Israeli, Hungarian- and American embassies. Russia also will see a large commemoration event for Wailenberg that month. HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 17, 2012 The Swedish Foreign Min- istry did not'reply to JTA's request fora comment in time for the publication of this article. According to Swedish official records, Stockholm has sent to the Soviets dozens of requests for information on Wallenberg. Perceived foot-dragging on Sweden's part may be con- nected to an unconfirmed report that Sweden and Russia may have discussed a prisoner swap involving Wallenberg in 1964, Makinen said. There are no indications that talks progressed. Mesinai describes the Russian and Swedish gov- ernments as "locked into a policy of denial." She adds that "They expect that if they hold out long enough, the world will forget. This is where Raoul's heroism plays a decisive factor." Mesinai believes the Work- ing Group came "very, very close" to finding promising leads before itwas disbanded. Vadim Birstein, a Moscow- born Wallenberg expert who lives in the U.S., is more skep- tical. He said the research- ers of theSwedish-Russian Working Group lacked knowl- edge of the Russian language, experience in historical research and background ifi secret services to produce a top-quality report. In 1991, Birstein and an- other researcher were allowed access briefly to post-Soviet archives as representatives of the Memorial, a historical and civil rights society. Two weeks into their work they found a document proving that Wallenberg had stayed in two prisons in Moscow, Lubyanka and Lefortovo. This contradicted the Russian official version, which included only Lubyan- ka. Birstein and his colleague were deniedaccess to state archives soon thereafter. Susanne Berger was an- other former researcher in the Swedish-Russian Work- ing Group on Wallenberg's fate. "The Russians are no longer willing to cooperate on the Wallenberg investiga- tion," Berger said. Both Swe- den and Russia have relegated the case to discussion as a historic issue, not a missing person matter. The Wallenberg case is seen as an attempt to undermine Russian heritage and "attack Russia's image," Berger said, and that Wallenberg experts will be "treading water" un- til Sweden and others press Russia to release more data. Even vithout funding or official frameworks, Berger, Mesinai, Kaplan, Makinen and Birstein continue their research as volunteers or authors. "One can't help butbe moved by the fate of this man," Berger said. "For me and for the other researchers, his case symbolizes that one person does matter." Gaza From page 2A be evacuated as well. Despite having little con- tact with West Bank settlers and being spread across the country, former Gush Katif residents hold the same core beliefs as settlers, according to Hamutal Cohen of the Committee for Gush Katif, an advocacy group for the evacuees. "They love the nation of Israel and the Torah of Israel and the land of Israel," Cohen said. "We are all connected to a different regional council, but we have the same spiriff' Some material assistance still flows from the West Bank to the Gaza evacuees through the nonprofit Chris- tian Friends of Israeli Com- munities, a group dedicated to helping settlers. Since the disengagement, Sondra Oster Baras, the group's president, says it has funneled approxi- mately $1 million to the Gush Katif communities. "The question was, when they were thrown out of their homes, do we abandon them or continue to help them?" she said. ".We're not going to abandon them." Most of Nitzan B's fund ing, though, comes from the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council; which in the past four years has spearheaded the development of Be'er Ganim, and dedicates $2.26 million annually to the evacuees. This budget pays for such services as social workers and youth actiyities, and funds the salaries of community leaders who represent the evacuated towns. "The first two or three years we didn't feel like part of the regional council," said Kokon, who now works for the council and credits its head, Yair Forjoon, with embracing the evacuees after he began his term in 2007. "He understood that we were people here," she said. "The most important thing is to know you have someone to talk to. Yairwas available with his phone, his email." Other Gush Katif evacu- ees traded one settlement for another following the disengagement. Rather than make their home near Gaza, as the Nitzan B communities did, these evacuees from Neve Dekalim moved to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, where they now live in a neigh- borhood of temporary houses. The evacuees sought a diverse city with large populations of religious, secular, native-born and immigrant'Israelis, and found it in Ariel. The city's location "added a lot of points to the decision," said Itzik Wazana, one of that city's neighborhood leaders; but was not the deciding factor, "There was an idea to do the opposite of disengagement, to engage, to bring education and culture here," he said. "Our idea is not to stay in our own context but to share in the challenges of the city." Although Ariel went"above and beyond" in welcoming the evacuees, Wazana said that the evacuees do not now receive or ask for much assistance in trying to build their homes there. "We take care of ourselves," he said. "We don't need special help. We're like one big family. We work together, do things together." No matter where they are making their homes, several evacuees said their ultimate goal, however unrealistic at present, is to return to the settlements they left seven years ago. "It's clear to me that at some point we'll go back," Kakon said. "It's not on the horizon. If not me, then my kids. If not them, then my grandkids. My house will always be in Gush Katif." Oslo From page 4A It also helps the Palestinian cause that the Holy Land is the focus of their claims. Christian churches and the governments ofcountrieswhose populations are mostly Christian can feel attracted to what is claimed to be misery in the place of Christ's birth and crucifixion. In the process they have to overlook the substantial evi- dence of Muslim persecution of Christians and the virtual disappearance of Christians Sudoku solution from page 7 734265.1 5129487 6983714 98"54263 47351962 1268379 869.7542 2.516938 34.718259 from locales they once domi- nated in the Holy Land. It helps to have Jews in the stories Of who is responsible. One of my Palestinian students, an intense na- tionalist and non-religious Muslim, said that his people truly would be miserable and forgotten if they were not alongside of Jews in the 8 9 Promised Land. Can the present continue? Jews with a more recent 6 3 European or Middle Eastern family experiences than most 5 2 Jews of North America are aware of having lived peace- fully for years alongside of 1 7 Christians or Muslims, with sporadic outbursts, That has alsobeen the history of Jews in 0 O Palestine then Israel from the early 20th century to the pres- 4 1 ent. The Jews of Israel have the IDF rather than the option of O' 4 hiding in the cellar or with O / especially good non-Jewish neighbors. The weight of Is- 7 rael and the moderation of its governments have provided it with favorable treatment, _even by governments that vote with Muslim countries on symbolic expressions of Palestinan claims, It will last as long as it lasts. Israel's military, economic, and political capacities have continued to grow despite routine expressions by the Israeli left, overseas Jews and non-Jews claiming to be concerned about our welfare, and saying that only major concessions will save Israel from an inevitable disaster. So far, cot]cessions of._ fered by Israeli officials who thought they were major, along with their endorse- ments by western govern- ments, have never been enough for the Palestinian leadership. Apparently it is easier for the Palestinians to stay with their beggar's cup rather than making the hard decisions of telling their people they cannot have all of their demands, and putting their finances on a setting more suitable to governing than the enrichment of those able to benefit personally from over.seas donations. Currently Arab Spring has becoe chaos in Syria, concerns about stability in Tunis, Egypt, and Libya, a tense quiet in Jordan, who knows what beyond the cov- erage of international media in Yemen and Bahrain, and much less than the ideal in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan. It will be a while before we have to worry aout a united Muslim army marching on Jerusalem, Those of us an urban bus ride from the Prime Minister's Office do not know Israel's intentions about Iran. FQr the time being, however, we are aligned with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates in being concerned about Iran. Along with produc- ers, we may actually get the United States and Europeans to do something in our behalf. Israel may act alone. Norway has acquired a reputation as being anti-Israel. I stumbled across roots of that in the late 1970s, when lectur- ing above the Arctic Circle at the University of Tromso. My hosts guided me through three meter-high canyons of Snow to reach my venue, and said that some of their colleagues were staying away in protestagainst an Israeli lecturer. The weather has been damp and cool, something like Jerusalem on a mild day in mid-winter. Once poor and an exporter of surplus popula- tion to places like Wisconsin, oil has made Norway one of the richest of countries on a per capita basis, but with an emphasis on middle class equality distinguishing it from those other oil exporting places. Georgraphy and archi- tecture, and a good national art museum make it an at- tractive place to visit. Among the striking differences from Jerusalem, an abundance of statuary instead of our con- cern for graven images. Ira Sharkansky is profes- sor emeritus, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, He may be reached at irasharl(@