The Warsaw Swedes
The Warsaw SwedesStaffan Thorsell
On June 9, 1942, a speech was broadcast on the BBC that would change human history.
Władysław Sikorski, Poland’s prime minister exiled in London, revealed that 700,000 Jews had been systematically murdered in brutal Nazi concentration camps, quarantined and executed en-masse in ghettos, and walked to their deaths in gas chambers. This was the first time the world and the Allied forces had heard of the crimes of the Holocaust, a secret the Nazi leaders had been able to keep until now.
The shocking revelation was based on information – a dossier of highly sensitive photographs and documents – which had come out of Poland, to London, via Stockholm thanks to a group of Swedish businessmen working in Warsaw at the time. The eight men repeatedly risked their lives to smuggle out the information telling the world about the Nazi persecution of Polish Jews. Dubbed The Warsaw Swedes, they were all to be sentenced to death by the Nazis as a result of their actions. Their remarkable story has never before been told in full.
Staffan Thorsell has had unprecedented access to this unseen source material – diaries, letters and photographs never before seen – and in THE WARSAW SWEDES, published in Sweden at the end of 2014, we are now, for the first time, able to take part of this largely forgotten act of heroism. This story is not only of importance in Sweden, but plays an important part in the broader history of the WWII, and the making of modern Europe.