• Norway edition
 
Wartime leader 'hated' Sweden for Nazi help
Civilians outside burning houses in Narvik during German air attack, June 1st 1940 (Photo: Scanpix)

Wartime leader 'hated' Sweden for Nazi help

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Rock star tried to save Norway's FlyNonStop
Bruce Dickinson's offer to help FlyNonStop came too late to save the airline. Photo: Shutterstock

Rock star tried to save Norway's FlyNonStop

Bruce Dickinson, frontman of Iron Maiden, bid to save ailing FlyNonStop of Norway just hours after the company went bankrupt, said the airline's former owner. READ  

Norway prisons face overcrowding crisis
Norwegian jails have a backlog of criminals without cells. Photo: hands in jail Shutterstock

Norway prisons face overcrowding crisis

Norwegian jails need urgent state money to avoid over-capacity and make urgent building repairs, said a top prison chief. READ  

Dogs give clue in hunt for schoolgirl attacker
Norway schools are shocked by the Bergen schoolgirl attack. Photo: locker room Shutterstock

Dogs give clue in hunt for schoolgirl attacker

Police hunting a man who sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl in Bergen on Tuesday, believe two dogs seen near the scene of the crime may help them catch the attacker. READ  

Planes can cope with new ash threat: expert

Planes can cope with new ash threat: expert

The imminent threat of a volcanic eruption in Iceland causing an ash cloud may be less serious a problem for airspace traffic due to new plane technology, says a Norwegian aviation expert. READ  

Teachers' unions meet to reach strike resolve
Teachers strike across Norway in protest against working day agreement. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Teachers' unions meet to reach strike resolve

The four main teachers' unions met KS on Thursday at Kommunenes Hus in Oslo in an effort to find resolution to the ongoing strikes taking place across Norway. READ  

Norway economy high growth exceeds forecast
Photo: Business write growth graph Shutterstock

Norway economy high growth exceeds forecast

Latest figures show Norway's economy is booming for the second quarter with GDP up 1.2 percent overall. READ  

Lavrans Solli makes Euro final after record swim
Norwegian swimmer Lavrans Solli. Photo: Erlend Aas / NTB scanpix

Lavrans Solli makes Euro final after record swim

Norwegian swimmer Lavrans Solli set a new Norwegian and Nordic record to make the final of the 50 meters backstroke at the Europe Championship in Berlin on Wednesday evening. READ  

Anders Behring Breivik's father to write book
Publisher Arve Juritzen promoting the new book from Jens Breivik, Anders Behring Breivik's father. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Anders Behring Breivik's father to write book

Jens Breivik, father of jailed mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, is set to publish a book detailing his role as the father of Norway's most infamous terrorist. READ  

Man arrested in Øyer fire death case
Police search for the killer Bjarte Hansen of in Øyer. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB scanpix

Man arrested in Øyer fire death case

A friend of the man wanted for the killing of Bjarte Hansen in Øyer last week is under arrest and charged with helping assist in the murder, it was announced on Tuesday. READ  

Car crashes into Oslo shopping mall
A car lost control and rammed into Kiellands Hus shopping centre in Oslo. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix.

Car crashes into Oslo shopping mall

A driver was lucky to be alive after crashing his car into a shopping centre entrance in Oslo on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Society
Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Politics
Norway PM beats Candy Crush level 300
Culture
Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
International
Cold bathing craze leads to teen death
Society
Sweden threatens to 'annex' the ostehøvel
National
Baby squirrels survive cat attack
Society
Norway's 'cushy' prisons spurring foreign cons
National
Half Norwegians overweight: Gates study
International
VIDEO: Jagland doing press-ups in Donetsk
Business & Money
Striking Norway barbers: 'Let your hair grow'
Culture
Rihanna 'hard to please', Norway's Stargate reveal
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

317
jobs available