Remembering Folke Bernadotte Posted on September 17th, 2018 by

Funeral of Count Folke Bernadotte, assassinated on Sept. 17, 1948

The Gustavus library is named in memory of Count Folke Bernadotte, a member of Sweden’s royal family and a diplomat who worked for peace. Born in 1895 he was particularly known for his role in organizing the rescue of prisoners and concentration camp survivors in the final months of the Third Reich, using a convoy of white buses. In 1948 as a United Nations mediator he attempted to arrange a peace plan for Palestine, but his efforts were opposed by leaders of the new state of Israel. On September 17, 1948 he was assassinated by a members of an extremist Zionist group.

According to Donald Macintyre in The Independent: 

What cost the life of the count who ran the Swedish Red Cross during the Second World War and was the nephew of King Gustav V, was not the two Arab-Jewish truces he had managed to negotiate – the second of which was close to collapse when he was killed. It was the longer-term peace plan which sought, however vainly and perhaps naively, to tackle the very issues which still lie at the heart of the world’s most intractable conflict today: borders, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem. It was on the last point that Bernadotte had most incensed Israeli opinion, by recommending first that the city should be in Arab territory, and then, in a report heavily influenced by Britain and the US and submitted to the UN Security Council the very day before his death, that it should be under international supervision.

You can find books and videos about his in the library, along with some materials about his connection to the college in the archives, or skim through a brief timeline of his life and influence.

Photo courtesy of the Dutch National Archive via Wikimedia.


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