Study: Sweden applied Nazi race laws

Of late, Sweden has become increasingly self-critical of its role in World War II.

swedish flag 88 (photo credit: )
swedish flag 88
(photo credit: )
Sweden's Lutheran church applied Nazi race laws to stop Germans living in Sweden during World War II from marrying Jews, according to research presented Tuesday. The Swedish state church applied German laws that forbade "Aryan" German citizens from marrying Jews, and stopped at least five such marriages from taking place, according to a study by Lund University researcher Anders Jarlert. He found the church acted on the recommendation of the Foreign Ministry as Sweden, which was officially neutral, sought to appease Germany to stave off an invasion. In addition, more than 400 Swedes who married "Germans of so-called Aryan heritage" between 1937 and the end of World War II were forced to sign a written assurance that their parents or grandparents did not have Jewish roots, Jarlert said. He said the church's practice was not a secret, but had not previously been widely reported in Sweden, whose policies toward the Nazis are still a sore subject. "This has all been surrounded by a kind of mentality of silence," Jarlert said. His research was among several studies presented Tuesday by the Swedish Research Council about the country's wartime past. Other studies showed how Swedish authorities failed to intervene against Nazi pressure on Swedish companies to eliminate "Jewish influences," and how Swedish media often used self-censorship to soften its coverage of the Holocaust. The studies were commissioned by Prime Minister Goran Persson in 2000 in an attempt to spread more light on Sweden's Nazi connections. Of late, Sweden has become increasingly self-critical of its role in World War II, when it willingly sold much-needed iron ore to the Germans, and allowed German troops passage into Norway.