Sunday, November 26, 2006

Swedish Service to the Reich

Here is an article from today’s Aftenposten, kindly translated from the Norwegian by reader Mr. C:

Swedish Elite Kneels for Hitler

King Gustav V of Sweden decorated Hitler’s henchman Hermann Göring with an order when the persecution of Jews was in full effect. He started a letter to Hitler in 1941 with the words “Mein lieber Reichskanzler!” [my dear Chancellor]

Hitler with the Swedes in 1939“Sweden was not a neutral country under WWII, never!”

In the book Mein lieber Reichskanzler! — titled after the king’s own words — former Expressen editor-in-chief Staffan Thorsell joins the growing number of people who question Swedish policy during the war.

Chose to keep silent

“Depending on your point of view and mood, Sweden’s policy in the first years of war can be described as cowardly, careful, realistic or egoistic, but it was never neutral. ‘Intelligent adaptation’ was the tune of the times in the early 1940s, among diplomats, generals and politicians, but also among Swedish journalists. The truth is, you ducked in fear of the aggressive and racist superpower Germany, because that was considered wise and expedient,” Thorsell says.

Close ties

In the book he describes close ties between the rulers and upper classes of the two countries. He starts off with a wedding in Koburg in October 1932, the first town to become nazified: Then Swedish presumptive heir Gustav Adolf marries princess Sibylla, daughter of grand duke Carl Eduard of Sachsen-Koburg. She would later become mother of present day king Carl XVI Gustaf.

“Carl XVI Gustaf’s maternal grandfather was one of nazism’s earliest supporters, Thorsell says,” but makes a point of not burdening today’s king with this.
- - - - - - - - - -
The night of November 10th 1938 Anders Forshell, Swedish marine attaché in Berlin, had his sleep interrupted by window breaking and noise: It was the Kristallnacht, the night that became the start of ever grosser harassment of Jews.


In February the year after the Swedish king’s railway carriage and Gustav V rolled into a Berlin railway station. His majesty’s errand was to decorate Hitler’s general field marshal Hermann Göring with the Grand Cross of the Swedish Order of Swords, established by King Frederik I in 1748, awarded for “outstanding merit in time of war and for beneficial and long-lasting activity”.

Göring had a weakness for glitter and finery, but also for morphine way beyond medical use. When the German journalist in exile Kurt Singer wrote about this in the book Göring — Germany’s Most Dangerous Man, the Swedish government banned the book.

Has something in particular gripped you during your work?

“That Sweden didn’t do more for the Jews in the 1930s, while there was still time,” Thorsell says.

In the book he writes that Sweden in that period was one of the least hospitable countries to Jewish refugees, and that the immigration law of 1937 stated that they were not to be considered political refugees.

He points to the fact that Sweden and Switzerland, three weeks before Kristallnacht, persuaded Germany to stamp a 3 centimeter tall “J” in the passports of German Jews.

Swedish anxiety

Thorell describes the enormous Swedish anxiety after April 9th 1940 (invasion of Norway), that the Germans might waltz over Sweden as well.

“That anxiety would mark Sweden for the rest of the war,” he says.

On April 17th 1940, a week after the invasion of Norway, Germany demanded to be allowed to send “a few railway carriages” with medical equipment, some food and nurses through Sweden to Narvik. The Swedes allowed it, but saw through their fingers the fact that “a few carriages” turned out to be 34 freight cars, mostly loaded with provisions for the army, and a passenger car with 40 young Germans from Bayern.

“They were weapons experts and radio specialists. Sweden helped Hitler conquer Narvik. This betrayal is almost unknown in Sweden,” Thorsell says.

Later the Germans would issue more of these demands, and the Swedes solved the “problem” by letting single German railway cars attach to Swedish trains. After a while alcohol and cigars would be included in the cargo to cheer up the German fighters in the cold north.

“Sweden exported ball-bearings — parts necessary to keep the war machine going — to Germany until the autumn of 1944,” Thorsell says.

On the 17th of May (Norwegian Constitution Day). Norwegians in Stockholm were ordered not to celebrate the day in public; it was feared that Swedes would join the celebrations and that it could turn into a demonstration against the German attackers.

Another story concerns Sweden’s foreign minister Christian Günther, who banned the Norwegian president of parliament from broadcasting a radio speech from Stockholm after April 9th. The plan for the speech was detected by Berlin; Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Göbbels was furious, and pushed all he could. Which was enough.

The speech was instead recorded in Stockholm, and transmitted from London.

Part of the story is also that Norway probably had more to gain from the fact that Sweden was not in war than any other country, as it became a destination for thousands of Norwegian refugees.

“Towards the end of the war, Sweden went from ‘neutral’ to the allied,” Thorsell says.

When you piece these stories together — is there a danger that you, in sum, paint a picture which is too dark?

“That might be. But I want to change the mendacious view of a morally elevated neutrality which for too long has had power over Swedish foreign policy,” Thorsell says.

Update: LN — thanks for the correction. “Carl” was evidently a typo in Mr. C’s translation, and I was guessing as to what he meant. I’ve changed it.


X said...

Much as it pains me to say it, Sweden needs to hear this immediately, if not sooner. The truth is, as the article points out, this history is virtually unknown in Sweden, and when it is known it's used as a staff to beat the swedes toward more multicultural madness. They aren't allowed to face up to their mistakes and repent, because to do so would break the hold the left has over them.

The problem now, of course, is that people will question Sweden's behaviour during the war only to find their reasoning turned in to an excuse to side with Islam. After all, in the eyes of the far left, they're an oppressed minority. Why, they're just like the jews...

History doesn't repeat, but it does follow the same patterns.

flyingrodent said...

Those evil Swedes, typical Europeans with their love of fascism.

No American would ever have served the interests of the Nazis.

What does this mean in a modern context?

Precisely bugger all. Much like this post.

Mikael said...

Mein lieber... does not translate into My Beloved, but rather into "My dear..." It's a common German/Scandinavian expression of courtesy.

The Swedish article does not translate the expression at all.

Baron Bodissey said...


I saw that there was no translation of it in the original, and I wanted to help our English monoglots. But my German is rudimentary, and evidently not up to the task...

I will change it.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Not mentioned is that Sweden sold vital iron ore to Germany (IIRC more than half of all German steel was from Swedish ore) , and weapons to the allies(the bofors 40mm AA gun). When Germany was on the downslope, Sweden changed sides and suddenly started assisting the allies. Such a display of amoral national prostitution could be considered extremely cunning, but it grates when Swedes occasional claim the moral high ground for being "NEUTRAL".

To be fair, Wallenberg and Sweden did rescue enormous numbers of Jews in 1943 by allowing transit from Denmark.

Oh, and weren't the Social Democrats were in power the whole time?

flyingrodent said...

No, really, just ignore my wet whimperings about the complete irrelevance of this issue to the modern world in which we live.

Pile on to those evil, fascist Swedes. After all, a blog based upon the premise that seventeenth century wars are a lens for examining current affairs shouldn't worry about comparing apples and oranges.

X said...

It isn't irrelevant. In fact it has a direct bearing on the current behaviour of Sweden's ruling class, who have been raised in an environment of deep guilt with little knowledge of the events that actually created that guilt.

That's why I had my initial reaction. Further examination of the event, as always, shines light on a certain amount of axe-grinding by the article's writer (the Norwegians have never forgiven Sweden for their behaviour during the war, for instance), and the mis-interpretation of some details will create a more biased picture than is really there. After all, our own king Edward was a nazi sympathiser, wishing to ally the UK with germany, and who visited Hitler personally at one point. If not for the timely intervention of one Wallis Simpson we might well have ended up on the wrong side of this war, or at least "neutral" in the same way as Sweden was.

The difference is, we aren't hiding from this fact, whereas the Swedes don't know anything more than the general thrust of their dalliances with Nazi Germany. They don't know why it happened, only that it did, and that they must feel guuilt for it, without really knowing what it is they're feeling guilty for. The previous government found that undirected guiilt very useful for their multiculturalism, and it's because of that guilt that the current situation regarding the Islamic invasion has arisen in Sweden.

For the other half of things, the way Islam wages war hasn't changed in its entire history, so examining how they fought in the past in order to counteract them now is, I would think, something of a necessity if we are to prevail.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Quite right that Swedish misdeeds of the 40's should be irrelevant. But they are not for the reasons Archonix mentions. Misdirected collective guilt is a key tool of the whole left multi-cultural/Gramsican cultural_marxist/political correctness machine.

Whether its USA and slavery, Germany and nazism, France and empire, UK and empire, Italy and fascism, Spain and colonization, or white folks and all of the above.

Added bonus points for bastardry, as in this case with the Social Democrats, if the government exploiting the guilt today is the same party and direct lineal descendent of the government that did the dirty deeds. And also claims the moral high ground for neutrality.

Zerosumgame said...

So Sweden kowtowed to the originally Nazis 70 years ago, and they kowtow to their Islamo-nazi offspring today.

Just like the rest of Europe, they have learned absolutely nothing from recent history, and don't even want to learn.

They deserve whatever fate awaits them.

chuck said...

Those evil Swedes, typical Europeans with their love of fascism.

It never bothered me much that the Swedes did what was manifestly convenient, the Swiss did the same. Nor does it bother me that there was some sympathy for the Nazi's at a time when Fascism was the wave of the European future. Then to, the Russian invasion of Finland was still fresh and, IIRC, there was even some movement at the time to aid Finland. No, what has bothered me about Swedes is the holier-than-thou attitude and a revisionist history where convenient real-politic becomes morally informed pacifism. That is the point of the argument.

flyingrodent said...

Archonix - Indeed, but is it only Islam we should study, or middle eastern history generally?

Just in case I'm attacked by Sassanid spearmen, an Egyptian war chariot or a Parthian horse archer.

Zerosum - Thanks mate, I'm glad to know that when the Muslamonazis start sawing into my neck you'll be there cheering them on in spirit.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I don't know much about the Swedish King's personal feelings on the Nazis, but I don't know if it tells us much that the King started a letter to Hitler "My dear Reichschancellor" or pinned a medal on Reichmarshal Goering.

From what I have seen of diplomatic and personal correspondence between heads of state, particularly where a monarch is involved "My dear (fill in the blank" seems pretty standard. I'd be shocked if you couldn't go elsewhere in the royal correspondence and find letters to Roosevelt beginning "My dear President." As for medals -- prior to modern times, European heads of state and government pinned medals on each other and on their underlings as a matter of course. Look up Kaiser Wilhelm's list of foreign decorations sometime.

Like Switzerland, Sweden, as people sometimes point out with indignation -- was neutral in WW II. Had I been giving diplomatic advice to either government in 1940-1943, I would have suggested that they bend over backwards to stay neutral. That's not a comment on the morality of the Axis or the Allies, or which group of powers should win the war, but recognition of the fact that neither Switzerland nor Sweden was in any position, militarily speaking, to defy Germany. Moreover, it follows that both states would act to derive whatever economic advantages from their neutral position they could, so they exported ball-bearings, iron ore and other finished products. States generally act to maximise their own advantage. Besides, as I said, at least early in the war, the consequences of not doing so could have been rather disagreeable.

To be sure, neither state would have benefitted from a German-dominated Europe, but neither country was in any position to prevent it, and had that tragic state of affairs come to pass, they would have had to make the best bargain with the Nazis that they could.

After mid 1943 or so, the neutrals were safer, but why on Earth would it then have been to the advantage of either state (or the people of those states) to get involved ? The allies would win anyway, and Sweden and Switzerland would derive much advantage from that fact without lifting a finger or losing a life to procure the result. Yeah, that's pretty cold -- but that's how governments operate. That's also why Sweeden and Switzerland came through both World Wars without having their traditional political and social arrangements violently rearranged.

chuck said...

Just in case I'm attacked by Sassanid spearmen, an Egyptian war chariot or a Parthian horse archer.

The Parthian and Sassanid empires were Persian. However, your fear of Egyptian war chariots is no doubt well founded and I suggest emplacing speed bumps on all roads leading to your home.

X said...

Ln, speaking only for myself I'm glad you've brought more of the history in to it. However, I'm sticking by what I said regarding the whole guilt complex thing. Every time I visit sweden I see it expressed in some way, either by things that my wife's family say, or how people react to the news of certain events, and how their politicians talk down to them. Swedes are made to feel guilty for crimes that aren't their responsibility and that guilt is then exploited to drive them in directions they wouldn't otherwise go. Generally. If that point didn't come across before, then I must have written it out badly.

I'm heightened to it. We get the same rubbish in the UK these days, recently highlighted by our Prime Minister deciding to apologise for the slave trade that this country helped top abolish. Guilt for crimes we had nothing to do with, lack of historical context, ignorance of what has gone before. Despite everything I've said it makes me quite pessimistic about the future in some ways...

El Jefe Maximo said...

In response to the last commenter, maybe my problem is that I am a bit of a royalist...

Panday said...


If you want to discuss modern vs. historical Sweden, then it's much more interesting to theorize how the fearsome Vikings managed to devolve into nations of effete idealists.

Baron Bodissey said...

LN — thanks for the correction. “Carl” was evidently a typo in Mr. C’s translation, and I was guessing as to what he meant. I’ve changed it.

Yorkshireminer said...

Dear Baron,

I find this post somewhat over done, several thousand Swedes lost there lives fighting with the Finns in the winter war of 1939. The Swedes gave the British one of the first examples of the V2 rocket that had crashed on Swedish soil. They trained a Danish army of I think 10,000 men which surprise surprise suddenly appeared on Danish soil as soon as the war ended. If the Swedes are guilty of anything it is there Idealism now, we should not judge them by there realism then. To impune guilt by association is not very nice either. Herman Goring's brother by the way was arrested and kept in prison because they assumed automatically that he was a Nazi like his brother, it was only the intervention of a group of Jews he helped smuggle into Switzerland, that got him out. I like you have a very dim view of what is happening in Sweden at the moment. I lived in Sweden for nearly a year and like the Swedes, they are basically sound decent people and I am certain most, like me cringe as I do at the antics of there Government. The problem is that they have gone farther down the path of Dimmitude and it will take them a lot longer to turn the country round.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Baron,
What was said in this article about Sweden during the war is substantially true, but paints an incomplete picture.

When the Danes collaberated, almost as an entire nation, to smuggle Denmark's Jews out of Denmark it was Sweden that provided the haven...and unlike Vichy France and Switzerland, Sweden never turned a single Jew over to the Nazis.Or fought against the allies.

What the Swedes did was to make a decision to sell strategic materials to the Nazis, stay neutral and wait to see which way the wind ended up blowing.

Despicable, perhaps, and yes, there were a number of elements in Swedish society that were pro-Nazi, but I see little point or justice in demonizing the whole country for it.

Baron Bodissey said...

Yorkshireminer et al. --

This is not "my post". Mr. C kindly translated an article from a Norwegian paper, which was a book review.

I like to post translations of European material, especially if they seem not to be available elsewhere in English. This one was an interesting topic, but I don't vouch for it personally.

Everyone is welcome to debate and disagree. I welcome translations or articles from the Swedish perspective.

I have spoken with Norwegians, and have some idea what they feel about Sweden. Danes and Finns have opinions on the topic, too.

Swedes don't agree, and I realize that. I'm happy to hear alternative versions of the same events.

X said...

Nobody's demonising. Well, apart from Zero, but he doesn't count. I stick by my mini-thesis though: Sqwedes have spent the last half century being made to feel guilty, whether or not they did anything wrong. The same happens all across europe. It's right out of the multicultural playbook. I just wanted to make that point. :)

Panday said...


I don't have a lot of sympathy for Sweden as a country, given the Swedes' enthusiastic cheerleading of Anna Lindh when she was still alive and harping at the US. It seems that the sensible Swedes, who oppose being pushed out of their own country and who don't think the US is "evil", are outnumbered.

Screw the rest of them.

X said...

Well, Stephen, that's probably the difference. I do. I'm never keen to simply dismiss a large portion of people just because they disagree with me. If they're driving themselves to exinction then they're the people that need the most help.

kepiblanc said...

Mr. C - During the late 1960's Sweden actually had a short-lived burst of humor and political satire. Some guys named Hasse & Tage (Alfredsson & Danielson) formed a movie company called "AB Svenska Ord" (Swedish Words Ltd.). They made a few movies, where especially "Âppelkriget" (The Apple War) was outstanding with its satire on big business, governmental corruption and nepotism. It had some big names in it, like Max von Sydow and - a real scoop - Evert Taube. The very special thing about it was that it dared to ridicule much of Swedish correctness and even encouraged civil disobedience. A fantastic movie, literally.

I've tried to get a DVD copy, but the movie seems to have disappeared completely. I wonder why ?

Panday said...


Well, Stephen, that's probably the difference. I do. I'm never keen to simply dismiss a large portion of people just because they disagree with me. If they're driving themselves to exinction then they're the people that need the most help.

It's not a large portion, it's the majority portion. If the majority there are committed leftists and inveterate dhimmis with antiamerican proclivities, then, if history has shown us anything, they will never change. Radical leftists either die out or infect.

I'd rather see the sensible minority in these lost countries emigrate to North America, prosper, and further strengthen this side of the Atlantic.

X said...

Well, again I'd like to point out that my reason for mentioning uilt is because Sweden's p;olitical leadership has spent most of the last half century instilling it in the swedish population. LN, since you're a swede you'll obviously know more about the situation than I do, however what I have experienced of the country and its politics seems to back up my musings on the subject.

Mr C, polarising the situation as you do is not even remotely fair. Pragmatism was required during the early years of the war by many countries, including the United States.

Stephen, even if it's the majority, encouraging the rest to leave tantamount to appeasement in my mind. It's handing over resources and territory to the enemy, encouraging them top believe that their behaviour will keep them winning. I've had the same argument here before (and frnakly it's getting boring); we cannot, and should not give up and run. Even if there were just one sane person in Sweden, it's worth saving, as scandanavia is the source of much of what makes the anglosphere so powerful.

Panday said...


So, how do you propose to save a people which doesn't want to be saved? There's something going on there, as well as in Spain and a few other places, that's tantamount to mass, unconscious suicide.

Talking one jumper off of a bridge is difficult enough. There's no suicide prevention hotline for a nation of committed self-loathers to call. I also would rather see them all wake up be the people they once were. But I think your idea is a futile one. It makes it all the harder that they hate the US.

X said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
X said...

It might seem futile, but that's not a reason to give up. Standing up to the rich seemed futile during the early years of world war 2, but fi we'd given up and sued for peace at tha tpoint what would the world be like now?

Best way to save them? One person at a time, my friend. One person at a time.

X said...


I should spellcheck. :D