Otto Danielsson


OTTO DANIELSSON  (1903-1985)


Born in Bakaryd, Blekinge where he also received his education. He worked on his father's farm until 1922 and that year volunteered for "Göta Livgarde" (an infantry regiment) in Stockholm. In 1924 he joined the regular Police. 1933 he transfered to "Statspolisen", the Swedish State Police, and by 1939 he had moved on to the Swedish Security Police. There he reached the rank of  "Kommissar" by 1946. He received the title "Commander of the Order of Vasa" in 1954 and in 1956 was granted the Royal Victoria Order. 

His first career highlight was participating in the investigation of the so called "Enbom League" in the 1940's, the Soviet spy ring lead by Fritjof Enbom.


Together with Swedish lawyer Hugo Lindberg Danielsson was selected to review vast archival material in preparation of the Nuernberg trials of Nazi war criminals in 1945.

In 1951 Danielsson took on the special task of investigating the disappearance of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg in the Soviet Union. In this he worked closely with the Swedish Foreign Office, but also especially with Wallenberg's parents and other investigators, such as Rudolph Philipp. He traveled widely and interviewed dozens of witnesses. He is rightfully credited as the first to apply official standards of law enforcement to Wallenberg investigation. 


Danielsson is largely responsible for the capture of one of the most important Russian agents in Western Europe during the Cold War, Swedish Airforce Colonel Stig Wennerström. Danielsson tracked Wennerström for eighteen years before his arrest in June 1963. Danielsson also served as official investigator when U.N. Secretrary General Dag Hammarskjöld's plane crashed in Namibia in 1964.


When he planned to retire in 1965, he was considered to be so important for Sweden's national security, that officials created a special position for him in order to ensure that he would continue to be able to share his knowledge and experience with his colleagues. 


From 1967-1974 Danielsson worked behind the scenes on information he had received through confidential channels that the Soviet government might be interested in an exchange of Stig Wennerström, in exchange for full information about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg or, if alive, Wallenberg himself. His contact person in these discussions was a representative of the Swedish Protestant Church in Berlin, Carl Gustaf Svingel, who was in close contact with East German lawyer Wolfgang Vogel. Vogel had brokered the release of a number of prominent prisoners in exchange of captured Soviet agents in the West, including Francis Gary Powers. The negotiations ended when Wennerström was unexpectedly pardoned in 1974.


Danielsson was married and had two daughters.