|Born||2 Jan 1895|
|Died||17 Sep 1948|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Count Folke Bernadotte was the nephew of King Gustav V and vice chairman of the Swedish Red Cross.
Bernadotte 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.
Subsequent 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.
Just 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.
After 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.
Sources: the Fall of Berlin, Wikipedia.
Folke Bernadotte Timeline
|2 Jan 1895||Folke Bernadotte was born.|
|17 Feb 1945||Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden arrived in Berlin to negotiate for the repatriation of Swedish woman who had married a German man but now widowed or deserted. He would soon expand his request of repatriation to cover all Scandinavian women. He was able to secure a promise from the German government later that Scandinavian women would be looked after by the Red Cross.|
|17 Sep 1948||Folke Bernadotte passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945