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Bernadotte file photo [602]

Folke Bernadotte

Given NameFolke
Born2 Jan 1895
Died17 Sep 1948


ww2dbaseCount Folke Bernadotte was the nephew of King Gustav V and vice chairman of the Swedish Red Cross.

ww2dbaseBernadotte visited Berlin on 17 Feb 1945 in attempt to negotiate a repatriation of Swedish-born women who had married to Germans but now widowed or deserted; he later expanded his request to include all Scandinavian women. In return, he was prepared to give in to certain demands the Nazi government might request from Sweden. Heinrich Himmler of German decided that he would not release Scandinavian women unless Bernadotte could promise that Danish and Norwegian troops would stop harassing German troops fighting in the respective regions. Since Bernadotte had no authorities in countries outside of Sweden, the negotiations nearly collapsed. It was only resumed when the Germans promised that even though Scandinavian women would not be released from Germany, they would be looked after by personnel of the Red Cross.

ww2dbaseSubsequent to the negotiations to repatriat Scandinavian women from Germany, Bernadotte's willingness to cooperate with Nazi Germany turned him into an ideal medium for certain members of the Nazi government to seek a separate peace with the western Allies. Near the end of the war, an offer of armistice from Germany was passed to Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain and President Harry Truman of the United States through Bernadotte, asking that the war on the western front be stopped so that the Germans could focus on the war on the Russian front. The offer was refused by the western Allies.

ww2dbaseJust before the end of WW2, Bernadotte was involved in a rescue operation to return interned Scandinavians from German concentration camps. 15,000 were eventually rescued that way.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Bernadotte was active in the United Nations, particularly in the subject of Palestine. As the UN negotiator, he succeeded in achieving a truce in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. On 17 Sep 1948, however, he was assassinated in Jerusalem by members of a radical Israeli group. The assassination was condemned by UN as an act of terrorism, especially while Bernadotte was working to bring peace to the region.

ww2dbaseSources: the Fall of Berlin, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2006

Folke Bernadotte Interactive Map


Bust of Bernadotte at the United Nations headquarters building, New York, New York, United States, 13 Dec 2008

Folke Bernadotte Timeline

2 Jan 1895 Folke Bernadotte was born in Stockholm, Sweden.
17 Feb 1945 Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden arrived in Berlin, Germany to negotiate for the repatriation of Swedish woman who had married a German man but now widowed or deserted.
18 Feb 1945 Folke Bernadotte met Heinrich Himmler at the SS Hohenlychen sanatorium in Lychen, Germany to discuss the release of Scandinavian Jews from concentration camps and Germany's separate peace with the Western Allies. They would not reach any agreement.
2 Apr 1945 Folke Bernadotte met Heinrich Himmler at the SS Hohenlychen sanatorium in Lychen, Germany; Himmler was unsuccessful in convincing Bernadotte to help seek a peace between Germany and the Western Allies.
23 Apr 1945 Folke Bernadotte met Heinrich Himmler at the SS Hohenlychen sanatorium in Lychen, Germany for the last time. During this meeting, Bernadotte secured the release of some Scandinavian Jews, but refused to help seek a separate peace between Germany and the Western Allies.
17 Sep 1948 Folke Bernadotte was killed by a radical Israeli gunman in Jerusalem of the newly-formed nation of Israel.

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Bust of Bernadotte at the United Nations headquarters building, New York, New York, United States, 13 Dec 2008

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