"Neutral" But So Helpful To Germany

Neutral during the war but integrated with Nazi Germany's economy, Sweden produced iron ore that was shipped to Germany from Norwegian ports. Germany invaded and occupied Norway to keep the supply routes open. Sweden profited handsomely, exporting other important raw materials as well as ball bearings, foodstuffs, and munitions. As the allies began to gain strength, Sweden loosened its ties to Hitler. After the war they were able to start national industries building airplanes and automobiles for domestic consumption and for export.

Its neutrality did allow Sweden to save lives by accepting as residents nine hundred Norwegian Jews and, in 1943, taking in some 8,000 Jewish Danish exiles. It welcomed very few Jews from Germany, its economically.

Coming to terms with your country's self-serving behavior while it was safely neutral during war, is not easy. Neutral nations like Sweden and Switzerland saw themselves as small, almost defenseless and putting self-preservation first. But their economic and political behavior was not neutral—late 1990s investigations into the Nazi gold that was found after the war in the central banks of Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal have shaped a new view of neutrality.

In September 2009, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden and the heirs of a German-Jewish businessman reached an agreement in a seven-year dispute over a Nazi -looted painting in the museum’s collection. Details of the unusual settlement included the payment of an undisclosed amount to the heirs for Emil Nolde’s oil painting of a garden "Blumengarten (Utenwarf)". A private European collector who agreed to lend the work and subsequent works to the museum purchased the painting.

Sweden's central bank had thousands of tons more gold at the end of the war than at the start.,