birgitta-almgren

Birgitta Almgren, Professor of German Studies, Södertörn University

Okategoriserade Stasi watched Sweden during the Cold War

By matching agent lists with agent reports from the Stasi archives, Professor Almgren, who is affiliated with Södertörn University, has delved deeper into issues relating to particular individuals than the Swedish security police have. She has established the incompetence of the Swedish security police and their inability to uncover threats to Sweden at the time.

Published on balticworlds.com on september 14, 2011

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A person codenamed “König”, who was intimately connected with the Social Democrat leadership during Olof Palme’s time as party leader and Swedish prime minister, reported directly to the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) Ministry for State Security, the Stasi. This is one of the discoveries made by Professor of German Studies Birgitta Almgren in her continuing research into the East German state’s infiltration of neutral Sweden during the Cold War.

By matching agent lists with agent reports from the Stasi archives, Professor Almgren, who is affiliated with Södertörn University, has delved deeper into issues relating to particular individuals than the Swedish security police have. Sweden’s security police lacked access to the agent reports and have therefore closed most of the cases that had been subject to an investigation, and sometimes even involved questioning, prior to and after 1989. A generally accepted notion, even within Swedish counter-intelligence, has been that GDR agents in Sweden used Sweden as a base to spy on other countries, mainly the Federal Republic of Germany, and that as a neutral country Sweden itself was of less interest to the former Eastern Bloc from an intelligence perspective. For this reason, they have not committed any proven crime against Sweden and have therefore not been punishable here.

Professor Almgren’s research has now revealed that both Berlin and Moscow were watching Sweden closely in this capacity as a bridge between the two blocs.  Professor Almgren has not been able – or allowed – to mention the real names of the Swedes, some of whom were East German immigrants, who have had, or who are suspected of having such connections with foreign powers. However, she has been able to identify a problem on a scale previously unknown.

She has established the incompetence of the Swedish security police and their inability to uncover threats to Sweden at the time.

Birgitta Almgren has not made any comparisons with the extent of other countries’ secret operations and agents on Swedish territory during the corresponding period.

Her book, Inte bara spioner… Stasi-infiltration i Sverige under kalla kriget [Not just spies… Stasi infiltration in Sweden during the Cold War] (Carlsson Bokförlag), is being published on Thursday, October 15.