In the 1930s, the Jewish community in Sweden consisted of approximately 7,000 people. Sweden declared an official policy of non-belligerency during World War II (WWII) and served as a refuge for many Jews, some 3,000 of whom migrated to Sweden from elsewhere in Europe in the early part of the war. Sweden helped rescue Jews mainly from Nazi-German occupied Norway (900 people) and Denmark (approximately 7,200 Jews and 700 of their non-Jewish relatives – almost the entire Danish Jewish community). Swedes also worked within the warring states to save Jews from internment. One Swedish diplomat in Budapest, Raoul Wallenberg, saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews by providing them with protective passports. The Swedish Red Cross undertook an operation known as the “White Buses” and negotiated the release of more than 15,000 concentration camp inmates in Germany and occupied Czechoslovakia. Although the operation was initially targeted at saving citizens of Scandinavian countries, citizens of other countries were also rescued.
The Government of Sweden is dedicated to the goals and objectives of the Terezin Declaration. The government, museums, and banks have taken steps to return Holocaust victims’ assets; the government provides access to archives; and it supports Holocaust remembrance in the education system. There are no reports of any unresolved property restitution claims. In June 2019, the government initiated an assessment of Swedish compliance with the objectives of the Terezin Declaration in response to concerns among Swedish state museums over their ability to repatriate art acquired under questionable circumstances (more expansive than only Nazi-confiscated artifacts). The government will report its findings in October 2020. Sweden plans to host a head of government-level event in October 2020 focused on Holocaust remembrance and combatting anti-Semitism. The event will mark 20 years since the 2000 Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.