• Norway's news in English
 

Wartime leader 'hated' Sweden for Nazi help

Published: 04 Jun 2012 17:12 GMT+02:00

Narvik-based journalist Espen Eidum spent three years combing through the Norwegian, Swedish and German archives in his bid to discover how the Nazis had managed to get troops and supplies to the front lines in Narvik in 1940, enabling them to turn a losing battle into a decisive victory.

The results of his research proved damning for Norway's nominally neutral neighbour.

“The Germans used the Swedish rail network on a large scale during the fighting,” Eidum told newspaper Dagbladet following the release of his book Blodsporet, ‘The Blood Track’.

“The operation was much more extensive than historians have previously realized,” he added.

In his book, Eidum documents how the Swedish authorities in October 1940 -- four months after the German victory – sought to convince Norwegian delegates in London and Stockholm that Sweden had not allowed the Nazis to transport soldiers and weapons through its territory. The truth, however, was very different, Eidum found.

According to the book, the German foreign ministry had earlier summoned the Swedish ambassador in Berlin to inform him that Adolf Hitler had personally requested for the Nazis to be permitted to send three trains with 30 to 40 sealed carriages through Sweden to the far north of Norway.

Hitler’s representatives told the Swedes that the Germans had a number of wounded soldiers at the front and urgently needed to send in medical officers and food.  The Germans also made no secret of the fact that winning the battle in Narvik was a matter of some pride for the Nazi leader.

Once Sweden gave the go-ahead, however, the Germans took the opportunity to send combat soldiers, disguised as medical staff, to the Narvik front. For every actual medical officer, the trains carried 17 ground troops, according to Eidum’s calculations.

A report sent by a Swedish representative in Berlin, who watched the officers board the train, left little doubt that the Swedes knew the trains were being used for troop movements. What’s more, Eidum’s research indicates that the trains were also loaded with heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, ammunition, engineering equipment, communications equipment and clothing.

Once Norway had lost Narvik, the Swedes then paved the way for the Nazis to continue sending trains to the occupied port town, a crucial hub for the transportation of iron ore.

From 1940 to August 1943, German trains rolled across Sweden’s northernmost borders before moving on to Oslo, Trondheim and Narvik. Norwegian prisoners were also sent by train to concentration camps in Germany when the rail cooperation was at its highest ebb, the book claims.

In what Eidum says was a particularly lucrative three-year period for Swedish rail operator SJ, hundreds of thousands of Nazi soldiers were allowed to pass through Sweden as they made their way to the Eastern Front in the USSR.  

Eidum also includes in his book a venomous letter from Norway’s wartime prime minister, Johan Nygaardsvold (Labour Party), sent on New Year’s Eve 1940 to his Stockholm-based party colleague Anders Frihagen.

Seething with rage, Nygaardsvold asked his government’s Stockholm representative to convey his anger to the Swedish prime minister, Per Albin Hansson (Social Democrat).

“If YOU can arrange a private conversation with Per Albin Hansson you can give him my greetings and tell him there are two things I want to experience, and those are: that the Germans get hunted out of Norway and, secondly, that I get to live long enough to give him and his entire government a proper dressing down – maybe even his entire party.”

Nygaardsvold further noted that there “is nothing, nothing, nothing I hate with such passion and wild abandon as Sweden – and it is his (Hansson’s) fault.”

The recipient of the letter never showed it to the Swedish prime minister. 

NTB/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway brings in tough new immigration curbs
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen wants to make it harder for newcomers to Norway to win permanent residency. Photo: Trond Reidar Teigen / NTB scanpix

Norway brings in tough new immigration curbs

Norway wants to make foreigners wait an extra two years before they become eligible for permanent residency, as part as stiff new curbs brought in by the ruling right-wing coalition. READ  

Norwegian sets 60-hour organ marathon record
Nina Irslinger moments after retaking her organ record. Photo: Youtube Screen Grab.

Norwegian sets 60-hour organ marathon record

Norwegian organist Nina Irslinger on Monday won back the world record for the longest ever organ recital on Monday night after playing almost continuously for 60 hours. READ  

Norway sees Ukrainian asylum seeker boom

Norway sees Ukrainian asylum seeker boom

Norway saw a huge spike in Ukrainians applying for asylum in 2014, according to data released by Eurostat this month and analyzed by The Local. READ  

Atheists equal believers in Norway for first time
Arctic Cathedral in Tromsö: Henrik/Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Atheists equal believers in Norway for first time

The number of Norwegian atheists now equals those who believe in God for the first time since a key survey began, in a sign of increasing secularization in the once god-fearing nation. READ  

Norway teens charged for hash cake prank
These are not the intoxicating Easter cakes served at a school lunch event in Norway. Cannabis cake photo: Shutterstock

Norway teens charged for hash cake prank

Two Norwegian teenagers have been charged by police after they brought Easter cakes to school loaded with so much marijuana that two teachers were admitted to hospital. READ  

Åkesson interview seen as 'mobbing': report
Photo: TT

Åkesson interview seen as 'mobbing': report

A recent interview with Sweden Democrat head Jimmie Åkesson on the Norwegian-Swedish TV talk show Skavlan has resulted in a storm of complaints in Norway. Many viewers considered it an attack interview. READ  

Doctors in Norway must tell airline if a pilot is ill
A Germanwings flight leaving Dusseldorf. Photo: Gerard van der Schaaf

Doctors in Norway must tell airline if a pilot is ill

If Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz had told a doctor in Norway he was too ill to fly, the doctor would have been required to inform his employer, a medical expert with Norway’s Civil Aviation Authority has claimed. READ  

Norway Pegida head sued for 'paedo' blog
Ronny Alte. Photo: Ronny Alte's blog

Norway Pegida head sued for 'paedo' blog

One of the leaders of the anti-Islamic Pegida movement in Norway has been ordered to pay heavy damages after a prominent scientist was called “a radical left paedo professor” on his blog. READ  

Norway and UK to build longest subsea cable
The signing of the deal at the British embassy in Oslo. Photo: British embassy

Norway and UK to build longest subsea cable

Norway and the UK have agreed to build the world’s longest undersea cable, capable of bringing enough low-carbon Norwegian hydropower to the UK to supply 750,000 British households. READ  

Bomb squad called to Oslo synagogue
Oslo's synagogue. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bomb squad called to Oslo synagogue

Norway police evacuated the area around Oslo's synagogue on Thursday night after a man was reported leaving a "suspicious object". By 10pm, bomb specialists had judged the object harmless. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
As it happened: Denmark rocked by terror attack
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Sport
Real Madrid sign Norway prodigy Ødegaard
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,312
jobs available