Antifa Infoblatt eller Antifaschistiches Infoblatt, d v s den radikala tyska Antifa-rörelsens stolta och anrika ”husorgan”, har nyligen publicerat en artikel om den svenska ”överklassnazistiska” organisationen Hjälpkommittén för Tysklands barn som samlade in närmare 500 miljoner SEK i dagens penningvärde (d v s en halv miljard) mellan 1945-62 bland den pro-nazistiska svenska överklassen som både kom att finansiera en försvarlig del av efterkrigstidens nazistiska flyktlinjer (d v s utsmugglandet av tusentals nazister och krigsförbrytare från kontinenten till fr a Latinamerika, Iberiska halvön och Mellanöstern) och än viktigare återuppbyggnaden av den europeiska extremhögern (som i mångt och mycket kom att lägga grunden till dagens extremhögerpartier runtom i Europa):
Swedish involvement in the ”Rattenlinien” and the so-called ”Flüchtroute Nord” is not as well known as for example the Danish involvement, and apart from the Swedish historian Mats Deland’s book Purgatorium, a radio documentary by the Swedish journalist Bosse Lindquist and the books on the Swedish Waffen-SS Freiwilligen by the Swedish journalist Bosse Schön, very little has been published on the subject. It is well known that several Baltic, German, Scandinavian and continental European Nazis and Fascists fled to and came to Sweden at the end of and after the war, of whom some stayed permanently while many if not most continued to other countries of destination such as Argentina, Canada and even Iceland. It is also quite known that organized networks of Swedish Far Right activists helped the Nazis and Fascists who came to Sweden with economic and logistic support, for example in Skåne in the southern part of the country as well as in the capital Stockholm and in the second biggest city Göteborg, where different networks were active in helping the defeated Nazis and Fascists from the neighbouring countries and from the continent.
One organisation which is sometimes mentioned in connection with the Swedish involvement in the support for the defeated Nazis is Hjälpkommittén för Tysklands barn (from now on abbreviated as HTB), in German Hilfskomitee für Deutschlands Kinder or Hilfswerk für deutsche Kinder, which was working in close connection with Stille Hilfe and princess von Isenburg. Although this organisation was a public one as its main purpose on the surface was to collect money for supporting children in need in both West and East Germany after the war, surprisingly little is known about where the organisation’s money ended up. This is a preliminary presentation of the Swedish organisation HTB accounting for what is known and also for what is suspected when it comes to the issue of the ”Rattenlinien” and the Swedish involvement in supporting the defeated Nazis.
HTB was founded in 1945 by members and sympathisers belonging to the Swedish upper-class and upper middle-class party Sveriges nationella förbund (abbreviated as SNF) which once had been the youth organisation of the Swedish Conservative Party but had split from the mother party in 1934 and oriented itself towards a particular Swedish version of Radical Conservatism and Fascism. HTB was from the beginning, contrary to almost all other Swedish Far Right organisations, dominated by women and among its founders several famous upper-class Swedish women were found, many coming from aristocratic families. One of them was the countess Lili Hamilton, who had been born in Germany in 1893 as Margareta Matilda Liliane Schard, and who had married the Swedish count Percy Hamilton (1891-1971). Countess Hamilton died in a car accident in Stockholm in 1962, and she was the spokesperson for HTB as well as its “eternal” public “poster name” during the organisation’s whole existence even if she formally acted as its cashier while the Swedish colonel Arthur G Nordensvan (1883-1970) was its chairman. Nordensvan had been the commander of the Swedish Saar battalion which had acted as an observing League of Nations troop during the plebiscite in Saarland in 1935, and was also a well known Far Right activist. Besides, several members of the Swedish aristocratic family Hamilton had been heavily involved with Far Right activities both before, during and after the war, and two members of the family had volunteered for Nazi Germany.
The secretary of HTB was the engineer and poet and former gymnast Carl Ernfrid Carlberg (1889-1962), a multi millionaire and the main financer of the Swedish Far Right, and the organisation’s office was housed on an address in downtown Stockholm which Carlberg owned and which was known as the Brown House. Because of this close relationship to both SNF and Carlberg, HTB was always during its whole existence branded as a Far Right organisation in Sweden and it was also surveilled by the Swedish secret police. At the same time, HTB was also openly supported by the mother of the present Swedish king Carl XVI Gustaf, the German born Sibylla von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha who was also known as a Far Right sympathiser in Sweden, and whose father the duke Carl Eduard had been interned after the war as he had among others led the Nazified German Red Cross.
HTB’s main purpose was to collect money as well as food, clothes and so on for the defeated Germany including all the occupation zones and after 1948 both Germanies although most of the economic support went to West Germany. The money came from wealthy Swedish elite families that had supported Nazi Germany as well as from money collected by Far Right Lutheran fundamentalist priests among non-political church goers, from several Swedish Red Cross sections dominated by upper-class women who had sympathised with Nazi Germany during the war, from rich Far Right and Conservative industrialists linked to companies such as ASEA and probably also money given by ordinary Swedes who did not know about HTB’s Far Right character and wanted to help the defeated Germans out of humanitarian motives. From 1944 and until the organisation was disbanded when countess Lili Hamilton and also engineer Carlberg died in 1962, it had collected around 45 000 000 SEK amounting to around 500 000 000 SEK in today’s value or 50 million euro. HTB had also built 23 houses around West Germany as well as a church in cooperation with German Diakonisches Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirche Deutschland, and the countess had even in 1954 received West Germany’s finest medal the Bundesverdienstkreuz from the hands of Evangelisches Hilfswerk’s Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier who cooperated with HTB in spite of the fact that HTB also worked together with Stille Hilfe and was branded by the Swedish media as a Nazi organisation. Stille Hilfe or Die Stille Hilfe für Kriegsgefangene und Internierte was a relief organisation set up in 1946 by the Nazi princess Helene Elisabeth von Isenburg, although it became public only after 1951, and it helped to smuggle out Nazi fugitives as well as to support Nazi internees and the Landsberg prisoners. It is also said that HTB through Evangelisches Hilfswerk and Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier had discussed the adoption of orphaned children of the Nazi elite by Swedish adoptive parents in 1946 and possible also carried out this operation, but nothing is known about this plan in detail.
So what was this enormous amount of money spent on except for the money which actually did go to Germany’s children in need as well as the money that was used to construct the church and the other so called “Schweden Häuser” around West Germany including children’s homes? HTB had also a sort of a sub-organisation called Tyska officershjälpen (the German Officer Support) which in cooperation with Stille Hilfe had distributed money, food packages, books and clothes and so on to widows and children of executed, suicided and disappeared Nazi elite members and war criminals such as Emmy Göring as well as to the prisoners in Spandau. For some years, count Hamilton even acted as the vice chairperson of Stille Hilfe. HTB also worked with German exile organisations in Argentina and Chile and distributed money both from and to these South American countries through among others the Argentinian Red Cross (Cruz Roja). It is this connection which may point to fact that a lot of the money, perhaps even MOST of the enormous amount of money collected by HTB, was used and spent to finance the ”Rattenlinien” activities as well as the foundation of new publications and organisations after the war such as the journal Nation Europa and the European Social Movement and possibly also many of the West German post-war Nazi parties and organisations such as Deutsche Reichspartei and Verband Deutschen Soldaten and Dr. Gerhard Frey’s various newspapers and magazines, although nothing is clear regarding a possible HTB financing of these West German enterprises and projects.
The most well informed and respected Swedish anti-Fascist journalist and “Nazi hunter” Armas Sastamoinen (1909-86), who worked for the Anarcho-Syndicalist newspaper Arbetaren (Die Arbeiter) and had published several books about the Swedish Far Right, wrote about these possible connections to the ”Rattenlinien” in his book Nynazismen (Neo-Nazism) in 1961. There he writes that HTB worked with Deutsches Hilfswerk in Argentina and the infamous Die Spinne liaison Hans Ulrich Rudel. Unfortunately, this is all that is known about HTB – an organisation which has left scattered traces in archives both in Sweden and in Germany but whose full history has not yet been written. It is my own hypothesis though that HTB, due to its huge amounts of collected money, acted as perhaps the main financer of the post-war Nazi movement particularly in West Germany and among the exile circles in possibly both the Iberian peninsula, South America and the Middle East.