Creating the safe harbour: Depictions of Swedish refugee assistance actions in wartime propaganda film

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This article examines the production and content of Swedish state propaganda films designed to foster public support for the country's refugee rescue and assistance actions in the latter half of World War II. It argues that these films produced an exceptionalist image of Sweden, in which neutrality came to symbolize unique national values that endowed Sweden with an ethical responsibility to offer help to those in occupied neighbouring countries. This depiction departed from earlier state-produced narratives of Swedish neutrality that characterized the country as under immediate foreign threat.

Keywords: Holocaust film; Sweden; documentary film; humanitarian aid; newsreels; refugees; state propaganda

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication date: November 19, 2012

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  • The Journal of Scandinavian Cinema is a new scholarly journal devoted to film in the Scandinavian countries. It aims to become the prime site for excellent research and engaging discussions on cinema in Scandinavia, both within the national context of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and as a region existing in a globalized world.
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