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Nina Langlet courtesy Yad Vashem


Valdemar Langlet





"I remember that the first Jewish refugees I met were those who came to my parents’ home to get one decent meal a day. At that time, the refugees had no right to the “dole”, nor to work and had to live on a small grant from the Jewish community and its members.


The flow of refugees increased, and in my parents’ home over the years, we housed and fed Jewish children from Austria and Germany, refugees from Poland and Czechoslovakia, Norway and Denmark and later Holocaust survivors.


In later years I was adviser to several Ministers of Immigration and was instrumental in bringing refugees to Sweden from a number of countries, among them many Jews, especially from Poland and Czechoslovakia."


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During the last year of the war, thousands and thousands of Hungarian Jews were transported to certain death in German concentration camps. Langlet already during his first years in Budapest established warm interrelations with many Jewish families.


In early 1944, he suddenly noticed that some people he knew disappeared without warning. Other people secretly sought Langlet to express their fear of arrest and transport to the camps. Langlet now understood what he had to do. By means of official actions of the Swedish Embassy, he could help some people which had some kind of relation to Sweden. For others he could do nothing.


The situation seemed hopelessly dark. Although he did not have the right to act without sanction of the Swedish authorities in Stockholm, he set up a special protective unit of the embassy, and afterward in his home office. In the name of the Swedish Red Cross he started to publish printed verification documents attesting Swedish citizenship and because of that, the person carrying it was under "special Swedish protection."

Kartläggningen av antisemitism i Sverige väckte stor uppmärksamhet. Den genomfördes som en enkät om attityder till judar och judendom. 


Statsminister Goran Persson sade sig vara skrämd och förvånad över antisemitiska uppfattningar,

Nina Lagergren remembers her brother, Raoul Wallenberg, a member of the Swedish Embassy in Budapest, Hungary in 1944-45.


His heroic efforts saved the lives of many thousands of Jews.on her brother Raoul Wallenberg.


Watch the video


A P R I L  20/21, 1945


"M Y  M E E T I N G  W I T H 

H E I N R I C H  H I M M L E R"




“We will be judged in our own time and in the future by measuring the aid that we, inhabitants of a free and fortunate country, gave to our brethren in this time of greatest disaster.”


This declaration, made shortly after the Pogroms of November 1938 by the representatives of the Jewish communities in Sweden, was truer than anyone could have anticipated at the time. It is this sensitive and much debated issue – Jewish responses to the persecutions and mass murders of Jews during the Nazi era – with which this book deals.


What actions did Swedish Jews take to aid the Jews in Europe during the years 1933-45 and what determined and constrained their policies and actions?

Magda Eggens, egentligen Magdolna, föddes 1924 i Kisvárda i Ungern. Hon och hennes syster Eva överlevde förintelselägret Auschwitz under andra  världskriget. Den 16 april 1944 fördes hon och hennes familj iväg till ett getto. En dag i maj 1944 fördes familjen tillsammans med många andra till järnvägsstationen. Där föstes de in i boskapsvagnar för att några dagar senare kliva av i Auschwitz.


Eggens syster Judith och hennes mor (som var gravid i nionde månaden) gasades ihjäl i Auschwitz. Fadern dog i ett annat koncentrationsläger. Eggens har skrivit böcker om förintelsen och håller föreläsningar i ämnet.

"I remember the arrival of the first Jewish refugees in Sweden in 1933 and have kept up with and been involved professionally or as a volunteer with all aspects of refugee work ever since, both Jewish and non-Jewish."



Norbert Masur (1901–1971) was Sweden's representative to the World Jewish Congress (WJC). He aided in the rescue of Nazi concentration camp victims during World War II.

Masur was born in  Friedrichstadt, Germany, one of ten children of Leiser Masur and Hanna Masur (née Levy). As an exiled Jewish German, he emigrated to Stockholm and lived after World War II both there and in Tel Aviv.

The WJC was founded in Geneva in 1936 to unite the Jewish people and to mobilise the world against the Nazi onslaught.With the help of Heinrich Himmler's Swedish doctor, Felix Kersten, the Swedish section of the WJC arranged a secret meeting on 21 April 1945 between Masur and Himmler about 70 kilometres north of Berlin. 


Masur proved himself a determined negotiator and he was promised safe conduct by Himmler. As a result of this meeting and subsequent negotiations with the head of the Swedish Red Cross, Folke Bernadotte, the WJC was allowed to save about 7,000 women from the women's Ravensbruck concentration camp. Approximately half of these women, who had been deported from over 40 nations, were Jewish.


After their liberation they were housed in camps in southern Sweden. Masur expressed his shock at the poor health of the women after several years' imprisonment in various camps. His view was that for the Polish Jews in particular a return to their home country was impossible. Given the background of the destruction of Jewish communities, the annihilation of the former prisoners' families, and their experiences in the ghettos, emigration to Palestine appeared to be the only option open to the women if they were to regain their dignity.





"The Swedish Jews and the victims of Nazi terror, 1933 - 1945 provides new knowledge about Jewish responses to the Nazi persecutions and the Holocaust. This has been done through a study of the actions of the Jewish minority in Sweden during the Nazi era.


The study focuses on the Jewish Community of Stockholm (Mosaiska församlingen i Stockholm, or MFST) but also looks at other Jewish organizations as well as Jewish individuals in Sweden and their differing responses, here conceptualized as political actions (like protesting and lobbying), refugee assistance and relief.


This study seeks to contextualize the response of Swedish Jews through an evaluation of their room for maneuver and incitements to act. It has identified a number of factors that, to a varying degree, enhanced or limited Swedish Jews’ ability to aid the victims of Nazi terror, including Swedish immigration legislation and refugee policy, the availability of information about the extent of Nazi atrocities, the relative effectiveness of Jewish organizations, and the financial resources available to the various Jewish relief committees.


The ‘liberal imagination’ of the Jewish elite, and a system of refugee aid based on traditional philanthropy also shaped the Swedish Jewish response – and neither was adequate to the scope and enormity of Nazi violence against the Jews. Nevertheless Swedish Jews engaged in a wide range of aid efforts. They raised a large amount of money for relief aid, and supported many refugees financially.


They protested against German persecution, as well as Swedish and international indifference to the plight of the Jews. Swedish Jewish representatives repeatedly tried to influence the Swedish and US governments to adopt a more generous policy towards Jewish refugees.


They negotiated with Swedish officials in order to raise the immigration quotas for Jewish refugees and introduce new categories of persons who might be eligible for entry. At the time there were two major international networks of Jewish organizations, one mainly Liberal and one predominantly Zionist.


This dissertation also shows that the MFST not only was influenced by both of these networks, but also that it took an active role in them. Although previously described as divided, the study shows that the Swedish Jews acted for the most part in concert and that there was broad support among them for the aid policies of the MFST."


Audio intervju med Magda Eggens her

"Det är med smärta jag talar om mitt öde men jag vill inte svika alla mina kära som inte längre kan vittna," säger 84-åriga Magda Eggens, som befriades av Folke Bernadotte i slutet av kriget 1945.

Forum för levande historia är ett nationellt forum för att främja demokrati, tolerans och mänskliga rättigheter, med utgångspunkt i Förintelsen. Myndigheten ska sträva efter att stärka människors vilja att aktivt verka för alla människors lika värde. Den tar fram utredningar och faktamaterial, visar utställningar för skolelever och allmänhet och bedriver informationsverksamhet i övrigt.

Myndigheten bildades 2003. Ursprunget till myndigheten var den av Göran Persson i juni 1997 initierade informationsinsatsen Levande historia. Bakgrunden till denna var i sin tur en rapport av Centrum för invandrarforskning vid Stockholms universitet och Brottsförebyggande rådet samma månad. I denna hade 66 % av tillfrågade svenska ungdomar sagt sig vara "helt säkra" att Förintelsen ägt rum, 14 % vara "ganska säkra", medan 8 % sade sig vara "inte alls säkra" eller "ganska osäkra".

Levande historia var en engångsinsats och inkluderade boken detta må ni berätta...: En bok om Förintelsen i Europa 1935-1945. Regeringen tillsatte senare en utredning om hur verksamheten skulle kunna permanentas och ett riksdagsbeslut togs i december 2001 om att inrätta en myndighet.



Valdemar Langlet worked as an engineer, and later journalist and editor of many Swedish newspapers, wrote books about current affairs and about voyages to Russia and Hungary. In 1921, he met Nina Borovko and married.

In 1932, Langlet was hired by the University of Budapest, where he served as lecturer on the Swedish language. At the same time, he worked as an officer in the Swedish Embassy in Budapest.

In 1944, when World War II became more and more dangerous for the life of Hungarians, Langlet still worked at the university and the embassy. He saw the cruel persecution not only of Jews, but also other people not favored by the fascist regime. Together with his wife Nina, he initiated humanitarian work under the protection of the Swedish Red Cross. At first, he helped his own acquaintances one at a time. But little by little the group grew, and soon he had a long line of people at his door begging his help.

Nina and Valdemar's home no longer was sufficient for his humanitarian work. They searched and rented apartments, homes and farms. People who left town gave their home to the Langlets. They arranged for orphanages and safe houses for older people, distributed food and medicine. In some of these homes, they occasionally secretly hid people who were persecuted because they were Jews, or people who for one reason or another were unwanted by the Hungarian fascists or the German SS.

Nina Langlet

Norbert Masur (1901 - 1971)  Photo: Wikipedia

Raoul Wallenbergs halvsyster Nina Lagergren berättade i sitt Sommar i P1 om gärningen hennes bror, Raoul Wallenberg, utförde och som hon nu vakar över. Det var en berättelse om sorgen i ett sargat och sörjande Europa, och hur Raoul försvann en Januaridag 1944. Nina berättade om hur han stannade hos dom i Berlin på väg för att arbeta hårdare; hur han egentligen skulle stannat en dag till, men åkte vidare för att kriget kallade, och kom aldrig tillbaka.

Sommar i P1 Sveriges Radio her





Norbert Masur

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