Sweden in World War II - across borders

Berlin, a city with secrets

The Swedish legation in Berlin is mentioned on other pages, in various connections. This page is more concentrated on some of the activities in the legation.

Reports to Sweden contained among others detailed information about German military, industry and economy. [s67]

In the second half of 1943 Gestapo had noticed that the Swedish military attaché in Berlin was interested in the effects of the Allied bombings. It was apparently not so unusual that he came to the sites before German authorities. [s67]

Towards the end of the war it became more difficult for the Swedish intelligence work in Germany. [s67]

Confidential documents were kept in steel cabinets, but the doors to these were open during the days. [s67]

The senior attendant at the legation, a German, had keys to most rooms. His daughter worked as telephone operator at the legation during several years. The keys to the front door was handled by another German, who worked as attendant and lived in the building with his family. He could speak Swedish. His mother was the full-time cleaner at the legation. [s67]

In late March 1941 the secretary of the Swedish minister in Berlin married an Austrian man she had met in 1923. He had joined the Nazi party in 1935, and worked as an engineer. The secretary had worked in Berlin since 1937, and after the marriage she continued (was asked to, by the minister ?) to work in her position. [s67]

In early 1943 the Swedish military attaché in Berlin told contacts in Sweden that parts of the contents in his reports apparently had come to German knowledge. He began to use personal letters instead. Half a year later admiral Canaris, head of the German Abwehr, had let him know that they still had access to reports from him. Towards the end of 1943 the military attaché was told by a German contact that a Swedish officer (a Nazi) had given reports from him to the German military attaché in Stockholm. [s67]

One day in February 1945 a German agent stole the briefcase of the Swedish military attaché. During the regular surveillance of the Swedish legation, he had noticed that the attaché had left it in the car. Walter Schellenberg (head of the German counterespionage) wanted to give the portfolio back after he had looked at the content, but the foreign minister Ribbentrop had said no. [s67]

During British and U.S.A. interrogations with Gemans suspected of war crimes, some German and Norwegian persons mentioned information leaked from the Swedish legation in Berlin. Leaked by one or more persons. [s67]

The head of the German security service, Swedish section, in Oslo in Norway apparently had said that the reports began to come to him in early 1941. The information sorted under all the subsections of the legation. He did not know any names of Germans who gave information to the Swedish legation in Berlin. [s67]

One report from the legation to Sweden had mentioned new bombs, that would kill all living things within several kilometres. [s67]

Gestapo had concluded that the reports from the military attaché to Sweden were accurate and that he had well-informed sources in Germany. But they had no names. [s67]

This led to interrogations in Sweden with the staff who had worked in the legation in Berlin. The secretary of the Swedish minister confessed at once. [s67]

In October 1941 the secretary of the Swedish minister in Berlin had been contacted by a German civil servant who asked her to begin to also serve her new home country, in the form of information from the Swedish legation. She had accepted. [s67]

Her story was that she felt pressed due to the safety of her husband, but only had given the Germans information that would not harm Sweden. The only evidence of what she gave to the Germans, is what she told during the interrogations. [s67]

She was sentenced to four years hard labour. [s67]

German officers had told the Swedish military and naval attachees that Gestapo had access to as good as all secret documents sent from the Swedish legation in Berlin. [s67]

2013-05-22. www.granfoss.se. Text/pictures: Arne Granfoss ©