Working on opening the new museum, scheduled for 2020, “feels more important than ever”, a Swedish politician says.
A museum dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust, with a focus on survivors from Sweden and a centre devoted to the revered Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, is planned for Malmö, to be ready by 2020.
Commenting on the decision to create the museum, Swedish Minister of Social Affairs Annika Strandhall said on Twitter that the news “feels more important than ever”.
The location of Malmö does not appear to be incidental, as the city of 350,000 inhabitants is where dozens of anti-Semitic incidents are recorded each year, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.
The additional centre on Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazis during the Holocaust, is expected to attract a large number of international visitors.
The museum will focus on surviving Swedes, displaying objects, interviews and documents relating to their experiences – items that are currently scattered across museums, archives and private homes.
In Malmö, first-generation and second-generation immigrants from the Middle East make up a third of the population, according to some estimates, and several hundred Jews also live there.
Around 3,000 Jews migrated to Sweden in 1933-39 to escape persecution in Nazi Germany. Because Sweden was neutral during World War II, it became a place of asylum for Jews from occupied Europe.
In 1942, 900 Norwegian Jews were given asylum from Nazi persecution and, in October 1943, almost the entire Danish Jewish community, some 8,000 people, was transported to Sweden, the Daily Scandinavian writes.
Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews in Budapest, providing them with “protective passports”. He also rented 32 buildings, funded by the United States, and declared them to be Swedish diplomatic facilities, bringing them under the protection of diplomatic immunity.
The Swedish architect, businessman and diplomat was detained by the Red Army during the Siege of Budapest in January 1945 on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared. He was later reported to have died on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned by the KGB secret police in the notorious Lubyanka, the KGB prison in Moscow, but the circumstances remain a mystery.