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Folke Bernadotte - how did his life end?<insert name=__subtitle> Folke Bernadotte - how did his life end? (the s.c.nordic FAQ) Folke Bernadotte - how did his life end? About : culture, history, places of interest and other things. This page is a part of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file for the newsgroup soc.culture.nordic. Its purpose is to provide some general information about the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland), to cover some of the topics frequently discussed in the group and to introduce new readers to the group. 1 1 1 1 1 1 > > > Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Count of Wisborg
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Count of Wisborg
Folke Bernadotte

I've received quite a few e-mails questioning why this FAQ spreads anti-Jewish propaganda. (More precisely defined as the accusation against Yitzhak Shamir for being responsible and/or executing the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte.)

Below both Jewish and non-Jewish sources are quoted, giving the clear impression that the UN mediator Count Bernadotte actually was the victim of a planned murder.

It ought to be pointed out that a web-search by Altavista in February 1998 pointed to no pages where this is denied with any kind of authority.



- - -

date page description & quotes

Israel's official version

April 1998 Lexicon of Zionism
<http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/zionism/lexic.html>     [ local mirror ]

A page by the Government of Israel:

When the IDF was established on May 31, 1948, Lehi was disbanded and its members enlisted in the IDF. Only in Jerusalem did Lehi remain an independent organization, arguing that at the time of the proclamation of independence the city's fate had not yet been determined. On September 17, 1948, Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, a UN mediator, was assassinated in Jerusalem, and Lehi members were suspected. The government outlawed the organization's branch in Jerusalem and shut down its publication, Hamivrak. The leaders of Lehi, Natan Yellin-Mor and Mattityahu Shmuelevitz, were sentenced to long jail terms by a military court, but were released in a general amnesty.

Swedes avoid the subject

September 1997 Jewish Community of Malmö, SWEDEN
<http://www.ijk-s.se/jfm/e_jfm1.htm>     [ local mirror ]

A very important milestone in the history of the community was World War Two. Numberous Danish Jews managed to escape to Sweden and they were well received even in Malmö during 1943-1944. Thanks to the famous Count Folke Bernadotte´s action, thousand of survivers from nazi concentration camps were saved. Many of them died however short time after their arrival. There is a whole section of those so called "Refugee Graves". In order to commemorate all the victims of the Holocaust, a monument, created by a famous Swedish-Jewish artist, Willy Gordon, was raised at the cemetary in Malmö.
July 1997 When survivors from the Holocaust arrived in Sweden
<http://www.algonet.se/~hatikva/gottfar/>     [ local mirror ]

Swedish Jewish history in 1945 close to the end of WW2:

The deepest impression on my life was made by the arrival of the concentration camp survivors in Sweden in April 1945, just before the end of the war in Europe. The small Jewish community in Malmö had called me as the JDC representative to come and he lp with their reception. I saw them coming to the south of Sweden with the White Buses of the Bernadotte-expedition - all in all over twentyone thousand persons of twentyseven different nationalities, of whom five to six thousand were Jews.

When the ferry came in [...]

March 1997 Speech by Under State Secretary Jan Eliasson at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C
<http://www.sb.gov.se/databas/press-858097809.html>     [ local mirror ]

In closing, let us remember that, while not forgetting the past, we also have a responsibility to reconcile and to turn the pain of history into a positive force of change. Kati Marton has described the efforts of Bernadotte to mediate between Israelis and Palestinians. He gave his life to the cause of peace. A moving event took place in Jerusalem in 1995 when his action and sacrifice were finally recognized.

I am confident that this ceremony today, in memory of Folke Bernadotte, will be a message not only of peace and reconciliation but also of faith in a future where individuals can make a difference.

January 1997 UN Truce Supervision Organization - Middle East - Brief Background
<http://www.mil.se/FM/arme/swedint/untso.htm>     [ local mirror ]

When the British departed on 14 May 1948, Israel proclaimed itself a nation state and the surrounding Arab states immediately declared war. On 29 May 1948, the Security Council, in resolution 50, called for a cessation of hostilities in Palestine and decided that the truce should be supervised by the UN mediator, the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte, with the assistence of a group of military observers.

From: Swedish Armed Forces - International Centre (SWEDINT)

Israeli press doesn't

May 1995 Israel pays tribute to Sweden's Count Bernadotte for saving Jews during holocaust
<http://www.math.technion.ac.il/israeline/1995/05-15-95.html#4>     [ local mirror ]

Israel Line - a daily summary of the Israeli Press:

Israel paid tribute Sunday to Sweden for its efforts in saving thousands of Jews during World War II, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported.

In a ceremony at the Tel Aviv Museum entitled "Back to Life," special attention was paid to Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte for his efforts in saving thousands of Jews. After the war, Bernadotte was assassinated during a visit to Jerusalem.

Speaking at the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said he was deeply saddened by the assassination of Count Bernadotte and, on behalf of the Government, denounced the action.

May 1995 Jerusalem: Of Land Expropriation, the debate
<http://www.iap.org/news/MSANews/199506/19950609.2.html>     [ local mirror ]

TIFF WITH SWEDEN: It was over Orient House that Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Mona Sahlin cut short her visit to Israel. She did so after the foreign ministry prevented her visiting the PLO offices on the grounds that she had come for a "ceremonial event" and not a state visit.

Sahlin was in Israel on Sunday for ceremonies marking the secret operation in which Sweden saved Jews from the Nazis.

Peres, who hoped to ease nearly half a century of strained relations with Sweden, had earlier condemned the 1948 murder by Jewish guerillas of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte.

Peres said on Monday he had reiterated Israel's apology of many years ago at a Tel Aviv ceremony late on Sunday in honor of Count Bernadotte and other Swedes who helped save Jews from the Nazi Holocaust in World War II.

"I issued a condemnation of terror, thanks for the rescue of the Jews and regret that Bernadotte was murdered in a terrorist way," Peres told Israel Radio. A spokesman quoted Peres as also saying he hoped the ceremony would help heal the wound.

Bernadotte, a Swedish count appointed to mediate in the 1948 war, was assassinated on September 17 of that year, along with UN observer Andre Serot, by the Stern Gang whose leaders included the Likud's former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.

The Stern Gang opposed Bernadotte's policies, including his recommendatiion that Jerusalem should be placed under effective UN control.

a semi-official biography says:

January 1998 Count Folke BERNADOTTE (1895-1948), Swedish Diplomat
<http://www.gac.edu/Academics/Resources/Library/folke.html>     [ local mirror ]

Biography from the Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN:

On September 17, Count Bernadotte and Colonel Andre P. Serot of the French air force were assassinated in Jerusalem by members of the Stern group, an organization of extreme Zionists who had committed numerous atrocities over a period of years against the British and Arabs. Three days after his death, Count Bernadotte's final report on his peace efforts was published in Paris. It gave the United Nations General Assembly his suggested terms for a peace that was to be imposed by the United Nations, and won the immediate support of the United States and Britain.

Ralph J. Bunche, an American serving as chief United Nations aide to Bernadotte and as personal representative in Jerusalem of United Nations Secretary General Trygve Lie, was appointed Bernadotte's temporary successor.

Bernadotte's book Instead of Arms was published in Sweden and the United States shortly after his death.

another Jewish view

May 1996 Under British Mandatory Rule 1918-1948
<http://village.co.il/leumi/ped/concepts/d2.htm>     [ local mirror ]

Zionist Concepts - Struggle & Defence: Jewish Defense and Resistance Forces

On May 29, 1948, two weeks after the establishment of the State of Israel, members of Lehi joined the Israeli army. In Jerusalem, however, they continued to fight separately. After the assassination of the U.N. mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, in Jerusalem in September 1948, an act which a group of Lehi members were suspected of carrying out, the Israeli authorities enforced the final disbanding of Lehi in Jerusalem. Lehi ceased to exist

...and then the voices unskilled in the art of Diplomacy

April/May 1997 Bias in Britain Pales in Comparison to U.S.
<http://www.washington-report.org/back/1997/04/9704003.htm>     [ local mirror ]

It seems to me that one of the clearest - and most indefensible - examples of pro-Zionist bias is the almost total indifference, amounting to condonation, about the facts of the assassination in Jerusalem of the U.N.'s mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, in 1948. Even when it became evident that a subsequent Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, was not only implicated but actually instigated it, and evidence was disclosed suggesting that David Ben-Gurion was at the very least an accessory after the fact, neither the media nor, to my knowledge, our government, made efforts to pursue the matter.

I think that the cold-blooded killing of a person sent by the world community to bring an end to a major outbreak of violence, an assassination clearly intended to prevent or delay the making of peace, is a crime of special magnitude and that the United States as a civilized nation has some obligations to expose and/or take action against the perpetrators.

April/May 1997 A Personal Reminiscence: Vignettes From Jerusalem the Golden
<http://www.washington-report.org/back/1997/04/9704034.htm>     [ local mirror ]

Important, too, although rarely voiced, was the knowledge that in 1948 the Israelis had assassinated the first U.N. mediator, Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte, because he had made recommendations on Palestinian refugees that the Israelis didn't like. Since UNTSO officers almost always found Israel at fault in their reports about shooting incidents along the truce lines, in their minds lurked the fear that one of them might meet with an Israeli-engineered »accident».
April 1997 Terrorist vs Freedom Fighter
<http://www.terrorism.com/cgi-bin/wwwboard/messages/659.html>     [ local mirror ]

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter is based simply on which side of the fence you are sitting.

The Irgun, along with Menachen Begin, Yitzak Shamir, and other fighters were considered terrorists by the British in their assassination(alleged) of Count Folke Bernadotte in the 1940's. Shamir today still refuses to acknowledge his involvement in this murder.

The transition from a terrorist-revolutionary-guerilla into an army is based on the success of the movement. It is usually after the victory and the passage of time that a terorist becomes a freedom fighter. Historical revisionism and the media still play a vital role in this determination.

by Ron Rouhie

November 1995 Israeli Government Response to the Rabin Assassination--Government Crack-down on Jewish Ultra-Right Extremists Likely
<http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/groups.htm>     [ local mirror ]

FROM: The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence Fax Service St Andrews University, St Andrews, Scotland.

Review of recent Activities of known Israeli Ultra-Right/Ultra-Nationalist Organisations

The Tragic History of Assassination and the Middle East Peace Process

At almost every critical junction of the Arab-Israeli peace process assassination has tragically struck down one of the principal architects of the process. In each instance, the perpetrators sought to decisively de-rail progress towards a comprehensive peaceful solution of Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian differences. Among the victims have been:

-- In 1948, Count Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish nobleman who had been appointed the United Nations Special Mediator, was assassinated by men belonging to the far-right /ultra-nationalist Jewish terrorist organisation, LEHI (Lohamei Herut Yisrael, "Freedom Fighters for Israel), better known as "The Stern Gang."). Four years before, the same group had assassinated the British Government Cabinet Minister for the Minister East, Lord Moyne, in Cairo.

-- In 1951, King Abdullah, the ruler of Jordan and the present King Hussein's grandfather, was assassinated by a Palestinian gunmen both because of the Jordan's annexation of the West Bank, but more so because of the King's direct negotiations for peace with Israel.

-- In 1981, Anwar Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by the group variously calling itself Al-Jihad ("Holy War); al-Gamat al-Islamiya ("The Islamic Group") and "Eagles of the Revolution," for his role in the conclusion of a peace treaty with Israel embodied in the Camp David Accords.

An Historical Analogy: Previous Israeli Action Against Jewish Assassins

Given the historical precedent of the then-new Israeli Government's response to the Bernadotte assassination nearly 50 years ago, it seems likely that the current Israeli Government will act quickly and forcefully to blunt this latest threat to its authority and challenge to peace. The "Emergency Regulations" used by the Israeli Government to combat Arab and Palestinian terrorism today were first enacted in 1948 specifically for use against the Jewish terrorist organisation responsible for the Bernadotte assassination and is likely to be applied against the individuals and group responsible for Prime Minister Rabin's assassination yesterday.

The history of the Regulations' enactment is summarised as follows:

-- On 10 September 1948, the three commanders of LEHI [including the former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir; Nathan Friedmann-Yellin and Israel Schieb] allegedly met in Tel Aviv to plot the assassination of Bernadotte (Whilst Shamir, in his autobiography, Summing Up (London, 1994, p.75), does not deny that LEHI members assassinated Bernadotte, he claims that neither heÄnor any other member of the LEHI high commandÄwere involved in either its planning or execution).

-- On 16 September, Bernadotte was assassinated. As with Rabin's assassination yesterday, a hitherto unknown group, calling itself the "Fatherland Front" claimed credit. The "Fatherland Front" in fact was a cover name for the LEHI, agreed upon and adopted by the organisation in hopes of avoiding any government reprisals against themselves or the rest of the group.

July 1993 Bimonthly Publication of the Foundation for Middle East Peace
<http://www2.ari.net/fmep/jul93.html>     [ local mirror ]

In June 1948, one month after the State of Israel was proclaimed, the Altalena set anchor in the waters off Tel Aviv. The ship was carrying a cargo of arms for the Irgun, an underground organization headed by Menachem Begin.

Prime Minister David Ben Gurion was determined to assert the supremacy of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and prevent the strengthening of independent militia challenging its authority. Even as the battle for Palestine still raged, he ordered the IDF to shell the Altalena and forces that came to its assistance. Survivors were treated as prisoners of war, and the Irgun's militants were arrested and kept in detention until Begin capitulated.

After the assassination of United Nations mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, a similar fate befell another militant group, Lehi, known as the Stern Gang, headed by Yitzhak Shamir.

November 1991 Letter from Lexington (October 7, 1991)
<http://wwwdsp.ucd.ie/~daragh/articles/a_loot11-91.html>     [ local mirror ]

FROM THE NOAM CHOMSKY ARCHIVE, Author: Noam Chomsky, Appeared-in: Lies of Our Times (LOOT), November 1991

If inconvenient truths were not beyond the pale, some curious journalist might ask about the origins of the Israeli law that bars any contacts with the PLO, sending Israeli peace activists and other undesirables to jail (Clyde Haberman, "Israel Jails Abie Nathan for New Arafat Contact, New York Times, Oct. 7) and denying Palestinians the right even to select their own representatives for the capitulation. A leading Israeli legal commentator provides the answer: the law was instituted at "the personal initiative of head of state [David] Ben-Gurion" in order to bar any contact with Yitzhak Shamir and his fellow-terrorists, who had just murdered UN mediator Folke Bernadotte. It was not until the Likud victory of 1977 that the proscriptions were officially revoked (Moshe Negbi, "The Law to Prevent Contact with the Head of State," Hadashot, Sept. 13). A serious journal might also contemplate the more general consequences of the condition that advocates of terror are to be barred from the negotiating table. We'll wait a long time for that.

July 1988 Noam Chomsky: Repression and Resistance
<http://www.eskimo.com/~ralphj/zundel/english/zgrams/zg1997/zg9703/970310.html>     [ local mirror ]

June-July 1988 Noam Chomsky: Scenes from the Uprising - Repression and Resistance
<http://www.lol.shareworld.com/zmag/articles/chomup.htm>     [ local mirror ]

Israel has tried killing, beating, gassing, mass arrests, deportation, destruction of houses, curfews and other forms of harsh collective punishment. Nothing has succeeded in enforcing obedience or eliciting a violent response. The Palestinian uprising is a remarkable feat of collective self-discipline. It is quite different from the struggle of the Jews of Palestine for a Jewish state, with the murder of British officials, the assassination of UN mediator Folke Bernadotte, the hanging of British hostages, and many atrocities against Arab civilians. The current Prime Minister of Israel, commander of the group that assassinated Bernadotte, lauded terror as a moral imperative. "Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat," he wrote. "First and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play...in our war against the occupier."
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