While Raoul Wallenberg’s detention by the Soviet organs and his final fate in Russian hands still remain matters for speculation , there has, by contrast, been a steady and useful accumulation of material disgorged from non-Russian archives casting new light on the broader context of his mission to Budapest . This has been valuable because the mission itself- and not just its aftermath – is worthy of careful historical study. The present essay is to be seen essentially as a contribution to an ongoing process of contextualization – that is to say, placing the mission in context . In particular , it aims at improving understanding of some of the preliminary work paving the way for the Swede’s eventual dispatch to Hungary in mid-1944. In a year devoted to celebrating Raoul Wallenberg’s individual contribution to rescue efforts, it is easy to lose sight of a familiar truth: most of what is worthwhile in life is not the product of a moment and the work of a single person. Rather it is something which is embedded in a historical process and depends on the efforts – not always successful – of many different people with different skills.