Swedes spied for Stasi

A network of Swedes delivered information to the Stasi during the Cold War, it has been revealed. Swedish Security Service Säpo has confirmed that it has identified a number of Swedes who informed for the East German secret police, but has refused to make their names public.

Swedes spied for Stasi

A book published in June claims that Säpo has a list of 900 Swedes who had contact with the Stasi. Björn Cederberg, author of the book ‘Kamrat Spion: Om Sverige i Stasi Arkiven’ (Comrade Spy: Sweden in the Stasi Archives), told The Local that that the list came to Sweden from the CIA:

“In 1993 a list became available containing the names of around 900 Swedes with some connection to the Stasi. The people at the German archives reckon that only around 50 of these actually worked on behalf of the East Germans.”

Sweden has long been known as home to a significant core of East German sympathisers. Former Left Party leader Lars Werner had close ties to GDR diplomats, who paid for the drinks for his fortieth birthday party.

Until now, however, rumours that Swedes were actually recruited by the GDR remained unconfirmed.

According to Cederberg, the list of Swedish Stasi contacts was part of the so-called Rosenholz Files, a collection of documents with information on employees of the East German secret service. The files ended up in American hands following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some files on citizens of third countries were later handed over to their national governments.

Files concerning Swedish citizens were passed on to Säpo, Cederberg says.

Säpo spokesman Jakob Larsson told The Local that “this list does not exist and has never existed. What does exist is around 50 names that have cropped up.”

While some of the 50 names on Säpo’s files are simply codenames, most have been linked to real people.

“Of these, we judge that around ten have worked as informers.”

The individuals involved were investigated in the early nineties, but prosecutors decided not to press charges as the crimes were past the statute of limitations.

Larsson said that Säpo would not release the names, “partly on national security grounds, partly in the interests of our organization and partly out of consideration to the individuals.”

Tore Forsberg, a former counter-espionage officer for Säpo, says he was aware that Swedes worked for the East Germans:

“There was a lot of activity around the GDR’s cultural centre in Stockholm. But most of the Swedes who worked for the GDR were actually active in West Germany,” he told The Local.

Cederberg’s book does not name any suspected spies, but indicates that some of them were journalists. In Finland, where the government and security police are under pressure to reveal information about Finnish Stasi informers, there has been speculation that senior politicians were among those implicated.

But German historian Christian Halbrock, an expert on the Stasi archives who researched for Cederberg’s book, said that this seemed not to be the case in Sweden.

“My information is that there were no Swedish politicians working officially for the East Germans,” he told The Local.

Paul O’Mahony & James Savage