Sweden in World War II - across borders

Stockholm, a city with secrets

Poland had a contact man in Stockholm for the civilian resistance movement. [s60]

When the Swedes in Warsaw were arrested in July 1942, for help to the Polish resistance (see "Swedes in central Europe"), the Polish minister in Stockholm was ordered to leave Sweden. The staff of the Polish legation was also requested to leave Sweden (on another page it is written that they were taken into custody, and later released after contacts with Sweden from Britain and the U.S.A.). They were replaced by a chargé d'affairs and maximum three persons as Polish representatives. This was positive for the Germans, who had regarded the Polish legation to be 'illegal'. [s67]

For several who came to Sweden during the World War II it was a special experience. One Norwegian saboteur who visited Stockholm on the way back to Britain told that it was amazing to see the contrast between Stockholm and Londen where there were blackouts and bombings. In Stockholm all the lights were on in houses, restaurants and buses. [s54]

One Norwegian courier who walked in Stockholm felt an unease and took a quick step into the entrance to an apartment house, just as a car drove by from behind him - on the pavement.

At least one hotel room rented by a Norwegian courier was searched by someone.

There were many secret meetings in Stockholm. For example leaders from Milorg in Norway and representatives for the Norwegian high command in London had meetings in Stockholm. [s58]

Stockholm view

The USA colonel Berndt Balchen described Stockholm in 1944 as a giant firm of brokers, like a stock exchange for espionage and counterespionage between all hostile nations where quick international transactions took place. "The practical Swedes play it cool and calm - and it would not surprise me if the shops display masks and false beards." (my translation). [s49]

All secrets were not so secret. In late March 1944 two Finns flew to Moscow via Stockholm for a secret meeting in the ongoing peace feelers between Finland and the Soviet Union. The German legation in Stockholm knew about it the following day. [s58]

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