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'Swedish shipments to Nazis may have been ransom for captured Swedes'
1944 SKF telegram to Budapest; Jacob Wallenberg

'Swedish shipments to Nazis may have been ransom for captured Swedes'

Published: 29 Jun 2011 12:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jun 2011 12:32 GMT+02:00

A new review of document collections in the Swedish National Archives (Riksarkivet) shows that the arrest of the seven "Warsaw Swedes" by the Gestapo in Poland in 1942 not only seriously jeopardized the men's lives but posed an existential threat to Swedish Match companies and other Swedish businesses throughout Eastern Europe.

The men's release two years later was apparently secured not only through painstaking negotiations but payment of some type of compensation to Nazi Germany that included war materials.

The new information also casts Sweden's wartime deliveries of ball bearings to Berlin in a new light.

After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, a group of Swedish businessmen from Swedish Match (STAB), LM Ericsson and ASEA joined the Polish underground and became its vital link to the Polish-government-in exile in London.

As feared, the activities of the so-called “Warsaw Swedes” were betrayed and in 1942 the Gestapo came calling.

Seven men were put on trial before the German High Court which on July 1, 1943 issued a stark verdict: four were sentenced to death, one to life in prison. Only two were acquitted but remained in custody.

In late 1943, the death penalty ruling was converted to life in prison, but the last of the men were not released until late November/December 1944.

Why the long delay?

That is the question former Swedish diplomat Göran Engblom addressed in a slim volume published in 2008.

The book called "Himmlers Fred" ('Himmler's Peace') and published by Sekel offers an intriguing thesis.

Engblom argues that SS Chief Heinrich Himmler used the case of the 'Warsaw Swedes' as a way to gain concessions from Sweden to help him facilitate contact with Allied representatives in an effort to secure a separate peace agreement for Germany.

The Swedish businessmen's arrest in 1942 had set off a tense two and a half year tug of war between Sweden and Germany, led on the Swedish side by Jacob Wallenberg (head of STAB's Board of Directors), Alvar Möller, (director of STAB's operations in Germany), Axel Brandin (STAB's director in Sweden) and the Swedish Legation in Berlin.

Aside from Himmler, the main negotiators for the Nazis were German Intelligence Chief Walter Schellenberg and Himmler's able masseur, Finnish-born Felix Kersten.

Kersten was the only person who could relieve Himmler's chronic and painful intestinal spasms, a fact that made him ideally suited as an intermediary. The negotiations ultimately proved successful, although it has never been made clear what concessions exactly the Swedish side made to Germany for the release of the men.

Engblom suggests numerous attempts to secure a separate peace which occurred from mid-1943 through 1944 can be traced directly to Himmler attempting to facilitate neutral Swedish channels.

That however, may not have been the only form of compensation Sweden paid to Nazi Germany for the imprisoned men.

As historian Staffan Thorsell wrote in an essay in 2008, Nazi officials had stated point blank to their Swedish prisoners that to them they were "worth their weight in gold".

Few people realize how enormous the financial stakes were for Swedish companies at the time, especially for Swedish Match.

Throughout World War II, STAB enjoyed monopoly status in Germany and Poland, as well as Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and the three Baltic States.

The monopoly contracts had been put in place in the late 1920's and 1930's by Swedish Match's legendary founder Ivar Kreuger.

Through his company, Kreuger had granted these countries huge loans in exchange for the exclusive right to produce and sell matches for decades to come.

After Germany marched into Poland, the agreements remained in effect.

As documents in Riksarkivet show, Poland's outstanding obligation to STAB alone at the time of the Warsaw Swedes' arrest amounted to no less than $29 million (about $290 million in today's value), based on a contract renewal dating from 1937.

With a variety of valuable assets at stake throughout Eastern Europe, Swedish Match and other companies stood to suffer enormous losses, amounting to tens, possibly hundreds of millions of US dollars, if German authorities had decided to take retaliatory action; either by confiscating Swedish holdings or by choosing to alter the terms of the respective monopoly agreements.

And Himmler initially considered precisely such "Zwangsmassnahmen", (punitive steps) as he outlined in an internal memo dating from August 1942.

An essay that appeared in a special publication issued by the Wallenberg bank in 1972 underscores the existential threat STAB confronted in 1942.

As the author of the piece (Geal Elmér) put it: "There surely was no other company which had similar claims on states drawn into the war ..."

And he added: "STAB's goal was simply to survive." So, both Swedish Match and the seven detained men were in serious trouble indeed.

And while their employers undoubtedly regarded the men's efforts on behalf of the Polish underground as honorable, they also had seriously jeopardized company interests.

Thankfully, with Germany's war fortunes declining rapidly from 1942 to 1944, Nazi leaders ultimately had a strong incentive to negotiate and to take advantage of both Sweden's neutrality and its high quality industrial goods.

The first direct hint that Swedish business may have provided war materials such as ball bearings as concession for the release of its detained countrymen came in a 2006 publication by historian Staffan Thorsell (Mein Lieber Reichskanzler: Sveriges kontakter med Hitler's rikskansli. Bonniers, 2006).

In the US National Archives, Thorsell discovered a post-war interrogation report by US officials who had debriefed high ranking SS-General Gottlob Berger.

In the interview Berger claimed that there had been a clear quid-pro-quo in the case of the 'Warsaw Swedes'. Berger alleges that Schellenberg "... proposed that Himmler should release the Swedes if we received deliveries of ball bearings in exchange.... Those Swedes were later released."

Interestingly, as Thorsell pointed out, in preparation for his war crimes trial in Nürnberg in 1948, Schellenberg made sure to list an "SKF man Holmberg" as a reference. This was almost certainly SKF Director in Gothenburg, Harald Hamberg.

And it was in fact Hamberg who in September 1944 issued rather astounding and previously little noticed instructions to SKF's European affiliates: he ordered that all of SKF's inventories on the continent at the time be handed over to German authorities.

This meant not only SKF's holdings of ball bearings in Germany itself, but in all countries under German occupation.

This decision came right before SKF in October 1944 finally committed itself to stopping all ball bearing deliveries to the Nazis.

Since the spring of that year the US and Britain had applied ever mounting pressure on Sweden to halt supplies of all essential war materials to Hitler's forces, yet deliveries to Germany had continued.

As is noted in the special Wallenberg publication from 1972, for SKF, 1944 marked "the most troubling period."

The text explains that the company finally succeeded in "satisfying the Allies with different compromise solutions, preventing for a long time an open rift with Germany".

SKF's highwire act of balancing competing demands appears in a new light if viewed against the backdrop of the ongoing discussions about the imprisoned Swedish businessmen and the precarious position of Wallenberg businesses in Eastern Europe: the Allies in essence demanded that Wallenberg representatives cease the one negotiation advantage they had in their hand vis-a-vis Germany (namely, delivery of war goods) in the effort to save their men and their companies' future.

Jacob Wallenberg's reticence to give that up becomes clearer when one remembers what his companies stood to lose.

It is possible that Hamberg simply intended for SKF to meet the October 1944 deadline.

However, it certainly was a brazen act at a time when the Western allies were in no mood to see Sweden leave Germany with a parting gift of this magnitude and one that had the potential of prolonging hostilities.

The handover of SKF's complete European inventories in late 1944 should be examined further, to see if this constituted the quid-pro-quo Gottlob Berger claimed did occur as part of a larger deal to save the 'Warsaw Swedes'.

Unfortunately, Wallenberg family and company archives remain inaccessible to researchers on this point.

Germany never revoked Swedish Match's monopoly contract.

In fact, after the war Germany continued to pay off its own sizable loan dating back to 1930, with the final installment paid only in 1983 by the then Federal Republic of Germany.

Swedish Match also successfully negotiated with the Soviet Union for lost assets and business after Stalin nationalized STAB and other Swedish companies' holdings in the late 1940s.

The discussions, however, were tedious and lasted in some cases well into the 1950s and 1960s, casting a shadow into the early Cold War years.

It may have also complicated the already complex efforts to secure Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg's release from Soviet captivity.

Susanne Berger is a historical researcher and former consultant to the Swedish-Russian Working Group that investigated Wallenberg's fate in Russia from 1991-2001.

Ingela Magner is a Swedish writer and film director currently working on a cinematic adaptation of the story of the "Warsaw Swedes".

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

14:24 June 29, 2011 by Nemesis
I really do not understand why Swedish business and political leaders were not tried at Nurenburg after the war for deliberately assisting the Nazi war effort.
15:47 June 29, 2011 by Gletta
Doubtless the supply of ball bearings helped create more war machines for the Germans which of course caused the deaths of more allied serviceman and more civilians. Still it saved the ***** of seven Swedes and of course most importantly helped the balance sheet.
16:20 June 29, 2011 by tomsawyerlvx
The Swedish neutrality are a fiction, the Wall down by business and economy force. Only by down 20% the supermarkets prices and speak by radio about a phantom's pop concert do a tube where the est germans can run away. Usually the return for people that are captured by Gestapo it resolved by business too

(and government's good filling, of course...).
16:57 June 29, 2011 by zeulf
it seems a very long overdue look at only a minor portion of Sveriges commercial dealings with the 3 rd Reich, but it is a start looking at a part of swedens history that many wish to keep hidden and ignorant of. I would hope that more will be uncovered and taught to students. a sad era
17:21 June 29, 2011 by rise
Boo hooo.!! Bad, bad Sweden! Shame on you!! Or, wait a minute - who gives a damn!?

This is a discussion that will never end, so keep on crying together.
20:59 June 29, 2011 by McChatter
Sweden was on the German side until Stalingrad in the winter of 1943.

Then they swapped sides and in May 1945 even wanted to try and liberate Denmark! Sweden doesn't want to talk about the war because it wasn't as neutral as it would like everybody to believe.
06:02 June 30, 2011 by calebian22
McChatter,

Well said. Sweden followed the winds of war. Once the Allied forces gained the upper hand, Sweden started waving a different flag.
08:43 June 30, 2011 by Nemesis
@ McChatter,

Well said.

One thing I would add.

Sweden was a lot further along in eugenics in the 20's, 30's and 40's than any other country. They sterilised 63,000 people, mostly Sami women in an ethnic cleansing program refered to as the race hygiene laws. Those laws were on the statute books from 1922 until 1976.

Eugenics was fully funded at university in Sweden by the government until 1976. The main institute for eugenics research was the Statens institut för rasbiologi in Uppsala university, which had full Swedish government funed and extra private funding from US and Swedish foundations for eugenics and other private funders. The list of funders was never fully published.

Hitler actually based his sterilisation program (Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, 1933) on the Swedish race hygiene laws as they were considered to be the world leaders in eugenics in the 30's ahead of the USA, Canada, Japan, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Switzerland and Germany.

The UK dropped out of the eugenics race in the 30's when barristers ( UK lawyers) specialising in medical law, took court cases against the eugenicists and psychistrists involved and defeated them in then UK courts, saving tens of thousands of English poor people, Scottish, Welsh and Irish from being forcibly sterilised.
11:55 June 30, 2011 by Borilla
To quote an old saying: You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.
14:20 June 30, 2011 by jamesblish
Great to see that we've got so many history experts in here.
14:43 June 30, 2011 by AnatoleEric
When hasn't Sweden been honest about their actions (or rather, inactions) during World War II? Nothing had been hushed up.

It's true, they played along with the Nazis when it suited their purposes and that's hardly something to be proud of. But they also did plenty of good things, like offering sanctuary to fleeing jews and providing assistance (thousands of volunteer troops, arms, food and even aircraft) to the Finns in the Winter War. And if you feel up to it, look up Raul Wallenberg.

So yes, Sweden wasn't the most selfless and brave country during World War II, but nutty conspiracy theories aside, it was hardly a black or white situation. Sweden did what Sweden could to make sure its citizens would be safe.
16:39 June 30, 2011 by millionmileman
In defense of this action, Sweden also supplied ball-bearings to Britain during the War. In fact the former commander of my RN Sea Cadet Corps unit in Northeast England told us of these events.

Each Thursday was SKF Day and they would sail to Göteborg in Vosper MTBs to load up with bearings. Likewise the German Kriegsmarine would sail to the same location in their Schnellboots (E-Boats).

They had a Gentleman's Agreement to behave with each other while onshore loading up with the manifest. Then they would depart peacefully into the North Sea, going their separate ways.

I have friends who bombed the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt but I never heard of Luftwaffe damage to British plants.
22:49 June 30, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Oh Boo hoo hoo, the United States did lots of business with the Axis powers before entering both world wars.
00:03 July 1, 2011 by Nemesis
@ Ivan Juric

Thats right. George Bush's grandfather was a US banker for the nazi's. At the same time George Bush senior was a pilot in the USAF defending the US against axis agression which was partially funded with laundered funds by his own father.
21:08 July 1, 2011 by krattan
All sides in ww2 committed atrocities. Lets worry about the present shall we.
12:25 July 2, 2011 by Kevin Harris
Some shipments from Sweden to Germany during WW2 probably were part of a deal to free hostages. And other shipments certainly were not, and were simply made for profit, and/or to curry favor with the then likely winners.

It is always nice to have a bit more historical background information, and this latest research is useful, but by no means is Sweden "off the hook" for supplying armaments to the Nazis.
22:51 July 2, 2011 by zeulf
@ AnatoleEric sorry to say that I can at present not remember meeting a single Swede whom knew much about this time period. esp with regard to dealings with the 3rd reich. Few nations wish to expose their secrets. But I've listened to Austrians tell me there were no Nazis there too. and heard the sob story of how the Germans forced their way through Skane,Halland, Bohhusland to Norway. If we for example look the dates on some of the SKF NY KUL in Gtbg building we see 1941.

@ Millionmile Actually Sweden restricted the Royal Navy from using the inland waters and departing from Lyseki and there never was any SKF thursday. record reflect on the order of 10 or 12 RN Boats returning from Gtbg, 3 or 4 of which were sunk as I recall. Britian was forced to stockpile SKF products in an attempt to "buy up" the product and keep it out of German factories, the Germans had no need of Schnell boats as they controlled the waters and probably used rail shipments. l

Yes Sweden did what was best for itself and some fellow Skandinavians, but also hurt many fellow europeans, How many Poles did they allow in or Jews after the KZ horrers were reported. Its a Sad account how Sweden treated people., but not likly to be required reading soon.

" but I never heard of Luftwaffe damage to British Plants" Maybe You need to get out and read more History Books good luck with that
09:49 July 3, 2011 by Nemesis
@ millionmileman

I suggest you do some reading from actual history books on World War 2.

Educate yourself about the blitz. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blitz

@ zeulf,

The german troops came from Copenhagen to Malmö and Helsingor to Helsinborg by ferry. They then got the trains to Gotherburg and on to Oslo. No force was used.

The Swedes could have stopped them at any point if they had wished to. Instead the Swedes actively assisted the Germans to invade Norway.
10:44 July 3, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Nemesis

Your claims that Sweden actively helped the Nazi's as well as your previous claims that the government is funding the IRA, is of course all in your imagination with not a shred of evidence to support it..

I expect as usual, you will give us a story as to how your grandfather was there and witnessed it all and related it all to you on his deathbed. Or maybe you where there in a previous life?
17:25 July 4, 2011 by alecLoTh
Meanwhile, in a more recent affair where the 'other power' can be compared to the Nazis - Sweden aided South Africa's apartheid regime openly through SAAB aerospace for decades......
18:36 July 4, 2011 by zeulf
@Nemesis Quite correct, and sorry for not pointing it out. It was a Swedes "story' and they may well have used the Trelleborg- Sassnitz Ferry. @ricky Maybe not "Actively" helping but the Myth of resisting the Nazis and helping "refugees" lives on and few Swedes care to read about this time period. Sweden profited in almost every way and gave up little to aid their fellow Euros.. the Kcal intake dropped from 3300 odd to 2900odd Industry expanded , the war was good for the Swedish Pocketbook .. If You expect a story form someone , seems You are still waiting
21:53 July 4, 2011 by Ansgard
Oh what a suprise. Another anti-Sweden and anti-Swedish article. Can't have enough of that BS I guess...
05:13 July 5, 2011 by Kaethar
A lot of ignorance in this thread I see... why even bother. If people want to believe Sweden co-conspired with the Reich then let them believe it. As for people believing "Sweden had nothing to do with the war" who seriously believes that? Sweden was surrounded by occupied countries plus our closest neighbour who was under attack by one of the Allies (Russians). It's easy to talk after the fact but in this situation what would you seriously have done as the leader of Sweden?

I think declaring neutrality was the only way to go (as all Nordic countries had done until they were invaded). And business does not stop in times of war. Sweden sold goods to both sides as did most countries. Contrary to popular belief WWII was not an ideological war. What had happened to the Jews was not really known until after the war. The wars were about power and what chance did Sweden have of facing the Germans/Russians in their quest? Better to act as usual and hope they wouldn't take over your country.

And in the end it worked out. Sweden became a refuge for Jewish refugees and spies (admittedly from both sides). And also a refuge for Finns (especially Finnish war children) who were running from a war against one of the Allies. Had Sweden been occupied by either Germany or Russia either the Jewish refugees or Finnish war children wouldn't have had anywhere to run. How about looking at facts like that in the end?

You want to point fingers then blame the USA - who had the capability to make a difference and was under little personal threat - yet they chose not to until the very end. A much harder question of ethics then Sweden who was in national danger and who had a tiny population and army that would hardly have been able to help to begin with. Just a thought...

I'm sure some heavy weapons were transported to free prisoners. Yet I think most business with Germany was simply business as usual which is what I'd expect of a neutral country in such a situation. So I can't put Swedish policy in the wrong in any case. :)
08:43 July 5, 2011 by Rick Methven
@zeulf.

What part of the word neutral do you not understand.

Being neutral means treating both sides equally. to avoid being invaded and occupied by the Nazi's any humanitarian support that Swedes engaged in had to be clandestine or the country would have been invaded. Respect for the neutrality of any country by the Third Reich, was only as long as they did not interfere. For countries such as Sweden & Switzerland, it was a matter of supply goods at market price, or being invaded and have them taken. Sweden was in a barbed wire canoe, in a crocodile infested swamp, surrounded by a very large and aggressive force.

Nemesis is famous for making up 'facts' to support her crackpot theories.
12:18 July 5, 2011 by Nemesis
@ Rick Methven

Just because you fabricate and try to rewrite history, does not mean anyone else does.
16:05 July 5, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Nemesis

You are the classic rewriter of history. Anything that does not fit with your personal view of the world, you twist and fabricate to fit your ideas.

If you have got the evidence of German troops taking ferries from Denmark to Sweden and then trains to invade Norway, you would have posted them by now including the tickets and the receipts.

Carry on living in your cloud cuckoo land
23:32 July 5, 2011 by el dorado
@Nemesis - Thank you for sharing this info.
14:20 July 6, 2011 by Nemesis
@ el dorado

Welcome.
19:00 July 6, 2011 by Nordland88
Jumping ahead in history we see that once again Sweden continues to collaborate with whatever world power is strongest, even throwing its soldiers into the Afghanistan mess.
11:57 July 8, 2011 by Bender B Rodriquez
So what?

War has always been about power and money, and always will be.

Neither the Axis nor the Allies acted out of compassion for anyone but themselves.

Finland fought both with the Germans and against the Germans when it was suitable.

Sweden traded with both the Germans and the Allies when it was suitable.

US stayed out of the war for a long time but entered out of neccessity for their own interests, as did Britain.

This is what war is about. Economics and power, not compassion and heroism. You don't care about anyone else but yourself.
16:21 July 9, 2011 by guliver
My fother was a young pharmacy student in Strasburg, then he was arrested by the Gestapo because he was Jew, as the French Catholic family heard about it they asked from the Swedish Counsul there an help,that courageous Counsul issued a letter which said that my fother is under the protection of the Swedish government in so they saved his life and on 1944 he immigrated to Palestine{Israel became a state just 3 years later}.

Sweden with Denmark saved the lives of almost all Jews in Denmark transfering them in one night to Sweden before the Nazies manage to sent them to Auschwizim.

I have big admiration to those brave, courageous,honest and good people who risked their lives in order to help my family and others.

we shell never forget them and may God bless all of them and their families!

Israel
23:47 July 9, 2011 by jack sprat
@ gulliver, and what a waste of time that was in view of the fact that Sweden has recently idly stood by and watched their renewed persecution in Malmo.

Expect most of them are probably back in Denmark by now or else as far away from Sweden as possible.

Strange how every other occupied country had credible resistance units in addition to sending personnel to assist allied forces.

A bit late in the day now for pretending to have a conscience.
00:08 July 10, 2011 by Gypsy Rover
Truly amazing.

Seventy years to dream up an excuse and thats the best the Swedes could come up with.

Just think all those millions of soldiers the Nazis lost in the war when all they need to have done was to capture seven prisoners from each of the Allied countries to guarantee co-operation.

I don't think !

Absolutely pathetic.
04:27 July 10, 2011 by visitorfromnowhere
And after all the serious historians who frequent the comments section of thelocal are done discussing Sweden, they can move on the Bank of International Settlements and the Bank of England and discuss how both of them carried on business as usual with Germany throughout the war. That would make a very interesting subject. And lets name names too.
14:44 July 10, 2011 by cogito
@Nemesis #8

It is interesting that it took a non-Swedish journalist to uncover the massive forced steriilisation of ethnic undesirables. If the Polish reporter Macej Zaremba had not done the legwork, it would still be one of Sweden's dirty little secrets.

#10 Jamesblish.

Don't they teach history in Swedish schools.?
17:30 July 10, 2011 by guliver
Jack

As I am not living in Europe and in Sweden I heard very litle about the Jewish community in Malmo ,what I understood is that they are bothered by the Muslem community there,

Is there any protection from the Swdish police?

You know 70 years have allready passed and it maybee that the anti Israeli wave which is now in Europe hites also the Jewish community there...too sad.
16:27 July 11, 2011 by jostein
Yea, right, of course sweden should have declared war on nazi germany in 1941! Sweden was in such an increadibly strong position!

http://www.zonu.com/images/0X0/2009-12-21-11435/World-War-II-in-Europe-1941-1942.png

And of course the 293 swedish volonteers to the waffen ss is proof to the increadibly nazified sweden just itching to join the third reich! Much unlike the 20 000 volonteers from holland and the 10k each from denmark and norway which is simply a testimony to their staunch anti nazism. Its obvious!
00:25 July 12, 2011 by jack sprat
@guliver

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/7278532/Jews-leave-Swedish-city-after-sharp-rise-in-anti-Semitic-hate-crimes.html

I believe the situation has worsened considerably since then and no there is virtually no protection from the police or any Swedish authorities who are all very happy just to turn a blind eye.

@jostein,

As previously mentioned most Nazi occupied countries in Europe in much more difficult circumstances than the Swedes, at least had the bottle to put together credible and active resistance forces.

I wonder if you're aware that in addition to aiding the Nazi war effort with arms supplies and iron the Swedish govt also arranged them a sizable loan to aid their war effort even further.

Swedens definition of neutrality.

Pathetic.
11:30 July 12, 2011 by jostein
00:25 July 12, 2011 by jack sprat

You are as one eyed and as ignorant as ever concerning this. Look at that map again.

Your perspective on history is that of a child. Possibly hollywood movie induced.
15:16 July 12, 2011 by NachoMan
So Sweden, led by the Wallenbergs, effectively threw their lot in with the Nazis so they could continue to make money and also save 7 Swedes held hostage by the Nazis? If this is supposed to put a different, face-saving front on Sweden's collaboration it falls rather short.
22:33 July 12, 2011 by jack sprat
@jostein

No doubt you will continue to bury your head in the sand, however todays news once again shows that the rest of the World is becoming increasingly aware of Swedens shame, that no lessons have been learnt and that little has changed in the last seventy years.
22:40 July 12, 2011 by Rick Methven
@jostein

I should listen to Jack, because he is the expert. He was even there at the time proudly wearing his jackboots and Swastika
23:55 July 12, 2011 by Nemesis
@ Rick Methven

The only jackboot wearer and Swastika waver on this forum would be yourself.

Lets see how long your friendly anti-semetic moderator lets that stand.
09:51 July 13, 2011 by jostein
@jack sprat

One reasonable critique of swedens behaviour is that it continued to trade with germany during 1944, before that it was absolutely necessary. The alternative would have been invasion.

The other reasonable critique one can make of sweden during ww2 is that it did not declare war on the USSR in 1939. But noone could have forseen that the USSR would not simply steamroll Finland.

The natural position of sweden in ww2 would have been to join the war of finland and germany against the USSR? Sweden didnt because it had left the warlike mentality behind. And because its center of gravity had started to move west due to the USA. But it was not quite there yet, mentality wise. There is a reason that the capital of sweden is on the east coast of sweden. And that is that sweden has always looked east. And its natural rival has been russia. Sure, the Mare Nostrum strategy was totally irrelevant come ww2 but the mentality and focus lingered and the sympathy with the finns was great. But people like you who learn history by watching a hollywood movie or two are incapable of any further understanding of than simplistic sloganering. I guess i should feel pity but then, people with small minds are often happy so i guess you are ok :)
11:28 July 13, 2011 by cogito
@Nemesis #44

+1.

Several others have noticed this, too.
21:12 July 13, 2011 by guliver
Jack Spart

Thank you very much for the link in the Telegraph.

I was surprised, about the bad situation of the Jews in Malmo.

I advice these Jews to leave that country as fast as possibile

Moving to the Capital will not change the situation,it will come also there
17:07 July 15, 2011 by Grindsprint
"So Sweden was profiting off the deaths of all involved."

LOL, what kind of retarded argument is that? We were not involved with the war, so clearly we were making business as usual! If we had stoped selling materials to either side or bot, you losers would be here whining about the statement that action would have meant. GET A LIFE and stop hangin around here sweden-bashing every chance you get. it´s pathetic, really
20:44 July 15, 2011 by jack sprat
@jostein

I deal with known and proven facts, none of which you have addressed with your lame excuses.

When you get around to it,I will be happy to supply you with a few more
23:16 July 18, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
How about a changing "Swede bashing" for another subject, or at least another look at the true phonies who really are responsible for that awful war.

I would start at Munich, Britain sold the Czechs down the drain, they kissed Hitler's posterior, thereby encouraging him to go further.

And did not these same wonderful people award Quisling with the CBE?

And weren't they brave enough to bomb the German civilian population at night because they were afraid to face the German air force in daylight?

The Americans were brave enough to bomb military targets in daylight, I guess Mr. Harris wasn't man enough to do the same.

I'll stop now, this should raise some indignation in those who think the evils of war are an excuse to slander the Swedish people.

Oh by the way...I have a very large family living in Sweden and their government's policies allowed them to survive that time without harm or injury.

That's all that matters.

Ta Ta
00:45 July 19, 2011 by jack sprat
As usual you talk out of your posterior Gamla.

Against all the odds the Brits had already turned the war around before the Americans ever got involved against their own wishes by Germanys declaration of war against them.

Battle of Britain and N.Africa ring any bells.

To be fair there was help from commonwealth countries and a few brave Poles and Norwegians.

As for the Swedes.

It's fairly common knowledge they wouldn't dare say boo to a goose.lol.

Whatever happened to the Vikings ?

Sailed away and left only the weaklings and women behind,methinks.
01:38 July 19, 2011 by Gamla Hälsingebock
The good ones went to Britain and then colonized the world most cruelly and without conscience or morality.

How does it feel to be on the receiving end?

You Scilly man...LOL
16:35 July 23, 2011 by tetrahedron
I remember hearing when I was younger that the Germans got most of their iron during the war from the iron-mining town of Kiruna in the north of Sweden, which they transported through the port of Narvik in Nazi-occupied Norway.

However, it may also be true, as someone suggested, that, if Sweden had refused to trade with the Nazis, they would have invaded and taken all the goods that they wanted anyway - and it is also true that Sweden took in nearly all the Jews from Denmark and later about 40,000 Jews from Hungary - although by that time the war was nearly over.

The only point in learning history is to learn not to make the same mistakes again and I can only hope now that, whatever the rights and wrongs of the past, given yesterday's events in Norway, Sweden will co-operate with Norway to eradicate the neo-Nazi menace from Scandinavia, which has now taken such a terrible toll.
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In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
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In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

Opinion
'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'
File photo: Shutterstock

'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'

There is a popular narrative that in Sweden people bite their tongues while in Denmark they speak their minds; political commentator Brian Esbensen debunks this, arguing that Danes simply find it easier to criticize others. READ  

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'

After reports that wandering elks were scaring the public, police on the island of Frösön have decided not to open fire on the animals, but have urged locals to exercise caution instead. READ  

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation
Sweden's Minister of International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström with Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. File photo: TT

Swedish funds to tackle female genital mutilation

Sweden has earmarked 48 million kronor ($7 million) of its development aid budget to a United Nations programme to tackle female genital mutilation. READ  

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis
Photo: TT

Swedish leaders speak out on Gaza crisis

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt believes Israel is interested in negotiating a ceasefire with Hamas while Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven has stood by his comment about the Israelis having a right to defend itself. READ  

New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
File photo: Systembolaget

New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries

Swedish micro-breweries have reacted with concern to new distribution regulations being imposed by the state controlled alcohol monopoly Systembolaget, which they fear may put them out of business. READ  

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up
Volvo hybrid bus. Photo: Volvo Buses

ABB and Volvo in electric buses tie-up

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB and Volvo Buses of Sweden have announced a joint project to develop a system for electric buses to recharge their batteries fast when at bus stops. READ  

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden
Photo: TT

'First ever' heat warning issued for Sweden

Swedish weather agency SMHI has issued its first ever warning for high temperatures with the many areas set to bask in plus 30C heat. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
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People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 

18 July

Starting over (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

" I’ve now been off the water for almost 14 days. At first I was totally gutted being forced into a rest period, I had Stockholm in my sights and apart from the pain and discomfort in my shoulder, spirits were high and I was starting to gain some momentum. The news hit me fairly hard and..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
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Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
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Gallery
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National
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People-watching July 11-13
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Swedish summer tourism highlights
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