Swedes and Norwegians

Fenster writes:

My ancestors emigrated from Sweden, close enough to the Norwegian border as to have my mother speculate that we might be part Norwegian.  She never explained the difference and so I grew up thinking the two nationalities were more or less peas in a pod, though in fact there are pronounced differences.

This was pointed out to me a while back by someone who frequents this site.  I had written about the Norwegian mini-series Occupied, remarking that there was a martial aspect to the show that I did not associate with the placid land of my ancestors.  He pointed to the different historical circumstances of the two countries, including their conflicts with one another.

You can see some of those changes playing out today, in the different ways the two countries (the people more than the elites) consider the question of mass migration.  I also watch a lot of Scandinavian mini-series and films and you can pick up some of the differences there, too.

Consider the film In Order of Disappearance.  It is a Norwegian film, directed by Hans Petter Moland.  The film concerns the troubles that fall upon Nils–a Norwegian in the film but played by the well-known Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård. 

Nils is an honorable and self-effacing man who dutifully plows the snow and keeps the roads clear in the mountains of Norway.  His son is killed after getting caught up in drug trafficking by Serbians and Nils is pitched into a new, harder way of being.   The plot, then, deals with the potential downsides of immigration, something that tends to be avoided in Nordic Noir, especially from Sweden.

Here is Moland discussing the film in the special features section of the DVD.  Note he is quite straightforward about the problem of Serbian crime and culture in Norway.  The Norwegian speaks:

What does a society do that is benign, innocent, that is completely unprepared for dealing with organized crime, and the cynicism and the harshness of someone who is so used to destroying other human beings?

And now on to Skarsgård, the Swede.

It’s a big mistake when you divide the world into good guys and bad guys because we are all  capable of the worst . . .

Glasses can be half empty or half full.

About Fenster

Gainfully employed for thirty years, including as one of those high paid college administrators faculty complain about. Earned Ph.D. late in life and converted to the faculty side. Those damn administrators are ruining everything.
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5 Responses to Swedes and Norwegians

  1. curri says:

    “It’s a big mistake when you divide the world into good guys and bad guys because we are all capable of the worst…”

    Maybe what he was thinking of:
    Most of the Lebensborn children who stayed in Norway are social misfits. Few have received proper education or been employed. ‘It’s typical that they’ve suffered from depression and low self-esteem,’ says their lawyer, Randi Hagen Spydevold
    The postwar hatred towards the offspring of German soldiers was so great that government psychologists commissioned to report on the children and their mothers concluded that women who had fraternised with Germans were ‘of limited talent and asocial psychopaths, some of them seriously backward’.

    The verdict ‘father was a German’ was indictment enough to send children to mental hospitals, where many were tortured and raped. They were deemed to be dangerous because of their ‘Nazi genes’ and capable of forming a fascist fifth column.


    Many thousands of their mothers – labelled ‘German whores’ – were sent to Norwegian ‘concentration camps’, where they were virtually slave labourers.

    Of those children who ended up scattered around 128 Norwegian children’s homes, many were released from their virtual prisons as bewildered adults only in the early Sixties into a world of which they had little or no experience.
    But in many ways the most shocking aspect of the whole story is what happened to the children in the homes. In a separate case, Spydevold is attempting to bring the Norwegian government to task over documented evidence of drugs trials carried out on both children and mothers.

    ‘Witnesses and documents say experiments with LSD, mescaline and other substances were initiated by the Norwegian military, Oslo University and the CIA.


    • Fenster says:

      Wow, never heard of that one. We always hear of the problems collaborationists had after the war in France but I never considered Norway. Nor would I have thought it would have been as nasty as this article makes out. Thanks.


    • Fenster says:

      So I Googled the issue and the first thing that came up was another article making the point that this is an issue few know about. The odd thing though is that whereas the Guardian article stresses the tough time the Norwegians gave the mother and kids the other article stresses the problematic origins in the eugenics character of the Nazi program in the first place. The Guardian acknowledges that the children were the result of “a Nazi plan to ‘enrich’ the Aryan gene pool” but it is not described much beyond a “scheme” to breed more Aryan kids. The second article stresses the sinister nature of the Nazi program itself, describing it as a lot more planned and elaborate than simply encouraging unions to take place.

      “The program has its roots in World War I, which decimated Germany’s male population and contributed to a sharp decline in the country’s birth rates, which fell 43 percent between 1920 and 1932. This was a problem for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party, which came into power in 1933 with plans to usher in a new world order, one in which Nordic and Germanic “Aryans” — whom they considered the most superior of the races — would rightfully reign supreme. In order to carry out Hitler’s vision of a completely Aryan Europe, the Nazis would need address the country’s genetic shortage.

      SS head Heinrich Himmler was convinced that abortion was the primary reason for the falling birthrate, and in 1935 he decided to strike back. He decided to make abortions of racially “pure” children less appealing by offering an alternative to their mothers. Women who could prove that their unborn child would fit Nazi racial purity standards could give birth to the child in secret, comfortable facilities.

      But there was a catch: Once the babies were born, they had to be relinquished to the SS. The SS would then educate them, indoctrinate them in Nazi ideology, and and give them to elite families to raise.

      At first, Himmler urged the SS and German military to have children with Aryan women both in and out of wedlock, but as the war progressed, that became an mandate. When casualties further decimated the German male population, Himmler ordered his officers to marry and reproduce. Women in occupied countries were also encouraged to have children with German soldiers.
      Anni-Frid Lyngstad in 1975. The ABBA singer was born out of wedlock, the daughter of a Nazi seargent, in 1945. (Jorgen Angel/Redferns via Getty Images)

      As it moved eastward, the Third Reich expanded the Lebensborn program to include wholesale kidnapping. “


  2. Pingback: A Not-So-Distant Mirror | Uncouth Reflections

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