It has just been announced that the family of the great WWII hero Raoul Wallenberg will present Barack Obama a letter on Wednesday in Stockholm. The letter request him to raise the issue of Wallenberg’s 1945 disappearance with Russian authorities. Their letter reads in part, "It is time that the world finally learns what happened to him,". . . "It would be a fitting tribute to all those who risk their lives every day in the defense of civil liberties and to the millions of victims who, in spite of all efforts, could not be saved."
Officially Wallenberg was a Swedish envoy in war torn Budapest, however this was a cover for the Swedish citizen who was working for the U.S. War Refugee board in a last minute effort to save the Jews of Budapest by giving them Swedish travel documents. The Russians have claimed that he died of a heart attack in prison in 1947, however there is good reason to believe that he was still alive long after that, and was still in a Russian prison.
Naïvely, he thought the Russians who “liberated” Budapest in 1945 would be interested in his plans to assist Jews after the war. Of course the reality was that the Russians were not interested in helping the Jews and deeply distrusted Wallenberg, a scion of one of Sweden’s best known and wealthiest family.
Perhaps naivité runs in the Wallenberg family. When was the Russian government ever interested in the defense of civil liberties? Wallenberg, born August 4, 1912, was the oldest child in his family, but it was not possibly to discover Nina Lagergren’s (his half-sister) age, nor that of his half-brother’s widow, Matilda von Dardel. However, both women must be of an advanced age, therefore perhaps we should cut them some slack. Yet, both of these women were born into the educated, cultured elite of Sweden. As I pondered this I realized that they are little different from so many others who also belong to the elite – they fail to address reality.
Wallenberg was an honorary citizen of the United States, one of the Jews he saved was U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, and it was Lantos who sponsored the bill giving him citizenship (four other countries have followed suite). So on Wednesday his family is going to present a letter to a man who is little more than a thug, asking him to help them find out what happened to him.
Wikipedia defines naiveté as the state of being naive—having or showing a lack of experience, understanding or sophistication, often in a context where one neglects pragmatism in favor of moral idealism. Other than the Volvo and being the current rape capital of the world, Sweden is well known for its moral idealism.
It is shocking to non-Americans that the President of the United States is not patriotic. I have had many conversations with non-Americans who simply do not understand this, and think it quite impossible. So the pathetic naiveté on the part of Americans and many others is not surprising, it is only very sad. This my friends is what we are dealing with – not just ignorance, but naiveté caused by moral idealism.