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Emotional expressions of memory: narratives of rescue in the Swedish-Jewish press, 1945–1965

Sahlström, Julia; Technische Universität Berlin, Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung (Organisation)

This article examines how Swedish Jews understood and discussed Swedish rescue efforts of Jews, and how the Swedish-Jewish memory narrative that developed after World War II related to the dominant post-war Swedish national narrative, which framed Sweden as “the good rescue nation.” By examining which emotions characterized the Swedish-Jewish memory narrative of the early postwar years (1945–1965), this article also illustrates how theoretical concepts from memory studies and the history of emotions can be combined in research that focuses on understanding the effects of genocides on memory development. The sources examined are the periodicals Judisk Krönika and Judisk Tidskrift, which were among the main Swedish-Jewish media outlets at the time. The article’s findings align with previous research showing that Sweden was primarily recognized as “the good rescue nation” after World War II. Furthermore, the results also illustrate that, during these postwar years, primarily three emotions characterized the social memory narratives that developed in the periodicals that dealt with Sweden’s involvement in rescue operations of Jews. These emotions were gratitude, loyalty, and disappointment.
Published in: Jahrbuch für Antisemitismusforschung 30 (2021), Metropol