Monuments Cast Shadows: Remembering and Forgetting the ‘Dead Survivors’ of Nazi Persecution in Swedish Cemeteries

Chapter 14 in “Fallen Monuments and Contested Memorials,” edited by Juilee Decker. This chapter, co-authored with Malin Thor Tureby, takes an unexpected example of contested spaces of memory and heritage as a point of departure to consider and reflect on how ‘dead survivors’ of Nazism buried in Sweden have been commemorated. The analysis considers five Swedish cemeteries by delving into the sites’ past and present, the presence and absence of monuments and other forms of memorialization and contextualization, and how these aspects relate to the discursive and historiographical treatment of victims of Nazi persecution who came to Sweden in both historical and contemporary contexts, particularly in relation to issues of gender, place, and identity and belonging.

Uppståndelse i en kyrkby: Hur tusen polacker som överlevt nazisternas förföljelser startade nya liv i Smålands skogar (translated by Ylva Mörk)

Although the Polish survivors of Nazi persecution who came to the refugee camp in Öreryd were healthy enough to be moved from quarantine and hospitals, they were far from "recovered." They had just begun their long journey – physically, emotionally and psychologically – away from the atrocities they, their families and their homeland had been subjected to. Öreryd, like the other Swedish refugee camps, was only a short stop on the survivors' journeys from a life under Nazi oppression to something new and as yet unknown. (The chapter is in Swedish only.)

Documenting the Documenter: Piecing together the history of Polish Holocaust survivor-historian Luba Melchior

As the only Jewish survivor of Nazi persecution employed as part of the primarily non-Jewish PIZ historical commission and documentation center, Luba Melchior was responsible not only for interviewing other survivors, but also for the Jewish “section” of the institute. In this capacity, she coordinated and met with Dr. Nella Rost at the World Jewish Congress’ Jewish Historical Commission in Stockholm and collaborated with the Conseil des Associations Juives de Belgique (Council of Jewish Associations of Belgium) in Brussels. Although her role at PIZ is well known, she exists in most published research as little more than a footnote.

Shaping ongoing survival in a Swedish refugee camp: A refugee-centered history of Jewish and non-Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution in Sweden

Among the hundreds of sites that housed survivors of Nazi persecution who came to Sweden in the spring and summer of 1945, one of the largest was at the small village of Öreryd. Between June 1945 and September 1946, around a thousand Jewish and non-Jewish Polish survivors came to this site. This article contributes to filling a gap in refugee history in Sweden, dealing with how survivors experienced Swedish refugee camps and shaped the refugee camp environment on their own terms.

How Stockholm is restoring dignity to the neglected graves of 100 Holocaust victims

In Stockholm's Northern Cemetery (Norra begravningsplatsen) is the large and well-maintained tomb of Count Folke Bernadotte, a member of the Swedish royal family whose role in negotiating the release and transport of some 21,000 prisoners of Nazi concentration camps to Sweden is well-documented. In the Jewish area of the cemetery not far away, lie the derelict and all-but-forgotten graves of 100 victims of the Holocaust. These were mostly very young women, who died not long after arriving i

The 19th Century Swedish Novel Missing from the Feminist Literary Canon

What Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for the abolition movement in the United States, Fredrika Bremer’s 1856 novel Hertha did for the women’s movement in Sweden. Bremer’s boldly feminist novel graphically illustrated women’s oppression under Sweden’s antediluvian laws, and prompted a heated public debate that contributed to emerging social and legal changes for women. It also inspired an arm of the Swedish women's movement that continues to advocate for women today.

'The most drunken country in Europe': Read this and you might like Systembolaget a whole lot better

Sweden's tempestuous relationship with liquor goes back more than 500 years and can make the country’s state-run alcohol monopoly, Systembolaget, seem like a nirvana. In fact, it wasn't too long ago that anyone wanting to purchase strong alcohol, such as liquor/spirits, in Sweden would have had to deal not only with an alcohol monopoly, but also with strict rationing.
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A series of weekly short articles for The Local Sweden in which I give historical insight into an interesting or unusual archival photo or photos related to Swedish history.


A unique Advent calendar: Short articles I wrote about the history behind Swedish Christmas traditions, published every day on The Local Sweden between December 2 and December 24, 2018.

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