‘Sweden needs a Stasi debate’

Swedish security service Säpo should reveal the names of Swedes who collaborated with the East German Stasi, argues Moderate Party member of parliament Hans Wallmark.

'Sweden needs a Stasi debate'

In Finland there is an ongoing debate surrounding people who collaborated with the East German security service, or Stasi. The debate has thrown up a number of relevant questions. For example, what were the consequences of these relationships? What happened to the cultural figures who paid short visits to Finland and had details of their movements and opinions relayed back to East Germany? The answer is that they were barred from working, harassed and incarcerated.

In Sweden too there were people who supplied the Stasi with information. But here there is a clear reluctance to reveal the names of those involved. While this may be strange, it is not surprising that the collaborators themselves have elected to remain silent about their duplicity and treachery.

Seventy years on from the Nazi era, many people wonder today how Swedes in the 1930s could hide from the great challenges of their time and ignore the vulnerable situations in which Jews and other groups found themselves. In recent years, a number of books have been published speculating, with varying degrees of accuracy, on people’s allegiances during that period.

But while we clearly consider it reasonable to expose the activities of people operating during the Second World War, there appears to be a general lack of interest when it comes to examining the misdeeds of the Gestapo’s East German successor, the Stasi.

I was reminded of just how recent these atrocities took place when I visited an exhibition of works by Gustav and Ulla Kraitz at Waldermarsudde in Stockholm. The artistic couple, whose works include the very fine Raoul Wallenberg monument outside the UN building in New York, have been captured in a fabulous new book called Fertile Forms. There one can read about their different backgrounds. As a Hungarian citizen, Gustav was captured by Soviet troops in 1945 and sent to a forced labour camp. His “crime” was to have accepted a stipend. The result was five years in the coal mines. He also received harsh punishment for three escape attempts.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask explained in a reply to a question I had posed that there was no list containing the names of 1,000 Swedish Stasi contacts. But she did say that security service Säpo had received “sporadic information” in connection with the opening of various archives. But Säpo claims that the period for prosecution for these crimes has expired and that there is no reason to expose these people after the event.

This is completely wrong. Even though their crimes may have run their course in a legal sense, there is also a moral dimension. Moreover, it is vital that people mistakenly accused of collaboration are given the chance to clear their good name before speculation grows and books are published in 50 year’s time when they are no longer around to defend themselves.


Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police

The chief executive of a largely Muslim free school in Gothenburg has been placed in custody by the Swedish Migration Agency on the orders of the country's Säpo security police. It follows the arrests of other Imams in recent months.

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police
He was seized on Wednesday and taken to an immigration detention centre in the city, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported on Thursday
Abdel-Nasser el Nadi, chief executive of Vetenskapsskolan, is the fifth senior member of Sweden's Muslim community to be placed in custody in less than a month. 
Three prominent imams are now in custody: Abo Raad, imam of a mosque in Gävle, Hussein Al-Jibury, imam of a mosque in Umeå, and Fekri Hamad, imam of a mosque in Västerås. Raad's son is also being held. 
Sven-Erik Berg, the school's headmaster, told The Local that he had no idea what was behind the arrest. 
“We don't know anything. I don't know anything more than you,” he said. “We are doing nothing, but the school is naturally maintaining a dialogue with the Swedish School Inspectorate and their lawyers.” 
He said it was inaccurate to describe the school as a 'Muslim school' as it has no official confessional status. 
“The chief executive is a central person among Swedish Muslims, so naturally the group of people we recruit from are often those who have a relation to Islam or Sweden's Islamic associations,” he said. “But the school does not go around telling children what they should or shouldn't believe.”
On its website the school declares: “At our school everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic background, appearance, opinions, or abilities”. 
“We are one of the best schools in Gothenburg. You just have to look at the statistics,” Berg added.  
A spokesman for Säpo told Expressen that he could not comment on any of the five cases or on whether they were in some way linked. 
But according to the Swedish news site Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists, Säpo is probing whether el Nadi has any links to a network of Islamic militants.
In an article published last October, the site alleged that El Nadi's activism was part of the reason that so many young men from Gothenburg had travelled to fight for the terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 
El-Nadi was previously the school's headmaster, and the school was in 2018 criticised by the Swedish School Inspectorate for not sufficiently promoting equality between girls and boys.
When he was interviewed by Dagens Nyheter a year ago, he asserted his loyalty to Sweden. 
“I have five children, all of whom were born in Sweden, a big family, and I want to protect this society in the same way that I have protected my children,” he said.  
El-Nadi was born in Egypt but has lived in Sweden since 1992. He has twice applied to become a Swedish citizen, in 2007 and 2011, and twice been rejected.