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Disappeared Swedes

Report about the work of the Swedish-Russian Working Group on disappeared Swedish ships during the Cold War

    INCOMPLETE RECORD

    The investigation conducted by a joint Swedish-Russian Working Group about Swedish ships lost during the Cold War leaves many important questions unanswered.

    Review shows that Poland informed Sweden about discovery of the wreck of the ship “Dan” in 1993

    The Swedish Foreign Ministry has not disclosed the information publicly because the official Swedish-Russian Working Group formed in 1993 to investigate the disappearance of Swedish ships during the Cold War never produced a final report. Surprisingly, Swedish officals did not seek independent verification of the find, explore the cause of the sinking or ask Polish authorities about the fate of the crew. The newly discovered information also raises questions about other Swedish vessels that vanished off the coast of Poland from 1946-1955.


    In August 1993 the Polish Foreign Ministry informed an official Swedish-Russian Working Group examining the cases of about seventeen Swedish vessels that had disappeared during the Cold War that the wreck of a ship that matches the description of the “DAN” had been discovered already in 1957 in Polish territorial waters. [Document 1] According to internal UD documents, the “Wreckbook” of the Polish Navyshows that the boat was found 3.5 km north of Jastrzębia Góra and was partially lifted already in 1964. The memo further states that since the debris was discovered at the bottom of the sea, it was assumed that the crew had gone down with the ship and that there were no survivors (UD Arbetspapper, 2001-9-27.) The suspected cause of the sinking was a mine. The “Dan” had originally been believed to have gone missing with a seven person crew somewhere outside of Latvia.

    New details emerge about disappearance of Swedish ships in the Cold War

      In 1948 Swedish military officials considered the possibility that the loss of the ships “Iwan” and “Kinnekulle” had not been accidental, but that they had been delivered “intentionally” into Russian hands, in retaliation for Swedish smuggling operations.

      Months earlier, in November 1947, Foreign Minister Oesten Undén personally met with a Swedish captain questioned by Polish authorities about smuggling activities by Swedish ships.

      Also, on at least one occasion the Swedish Defense Staff used a Swedish commercial vessel to infiltrate a secret agent into Poland in 1946.

      All these issues may have had serious implications for Swedish ships traveling the dangerous Gdansk-Trelleborg corridor during the Cold War years.

      New documentation obtained from the archives of the Swedish Defense Staff (MUST) and the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO) shows that as early as 1946 Swedish civilian and military authorities had detailed knowledge about illegal smuggling operations of various goods and refugees from Eastern Europe conducted by Swedish ships. The papers also make clear that there existed at least a routine exchange of information between the Swedish State Police, the Customs Office, as well as the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Defense Staff on the subject at the time. There is evidence that by November 1947 Foreign Minister Östen Undén was so concerned about the problem and its wider political impact, that he held an official meeting with a Swedish captain after a prominent Polish politician had fled to Sweden on the captain’s ship.

      The secret traffic, however, also flowed in the opposite direction. The new papers reveal that the Swedish Defense Staff on at least one occasion used a Swedish vessel to smuggle a secret agent into Poland. According to records from MUST, the head of Försvarsstaben, Utrikesavdelning, Curt Kempff, in August 1946 personally authorized the transfer of a Polish agent onboard a Swedish commercial vessel. These actions raise important new questions about the disappearance of Swedish ships in the Baltic sea in the Cold War years.

      Hur sjönk “Sten Sture”?

        Den 25 januari 1947 försvann det svenska handelsskeppet S/S ”Sten Sture”. Fartyget hade levererat malm till Gdansk och var destinerad till Helsingborg med last av kol. Ombord fanns minst 18 besättningsmän, bland dem sjökapten Gösta Rudnert.

        Det förmodades under alla år att fartyget förlist nordost om Bornholm efter att ha seglat på en mina. Stewarden Manfred Jönssons kropp flöt i land på Bornholm i april 1947. Den övriga besättningen förmodades också ha drunknat, och inga övriga undersökningar genomfördes.
        I februari 1948 försvann ytterligare två svenska fartyg utanför Gdansk, ”Kinnekulle” och ”Iwan”, med totalt 18 personer ombord.Medan bara vrakdelar påträffades av ”Iwan” återfanns ”Kinnekulle” flytande men tom på danskt vatten.

        The Swedish DC-3 & The Destiny of its Crew

          On June 13, 1952 a Swedish Air Force C-47, the military version of the famous DC-3, disappeared while on a secret mission over the Baltic Sea.  After an interrupted code-signal from the plane at 11:25 Swedish time, the plane and its crew of eight men were never heard from again.  The disappearance of this plane, much later known as the “DC 3 Affair,” is still a sensitive chapter in Sweden’s Cold War history.  In spite of evidence from intensive research in the archives of a number of nations, some facts in the DC 3 Affair are still classified or unknown.  Thus the destiny of these men remained unresolved for more than fifty years.

          Fler svenskar i Moskvas fångläger

            Regeringens Wallenbergutredare kräver besked om nedtystade försvinnanden:

            Minst tre hittills okända svenskar har försvunnit i fångläger i dåvarande Sovjet. Svenska myndigheter och regeringar har lämnat samtliga fall utan åtgärd. Minst fyra vittnen har träffat svenskarna, men i Sverige har försvinnandena tystats ner. Dessa uppgifter redovisas på DN Debatt av regeringens egen Wallenbergutredare Susan Ellen Mesinai…

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