Studien zur literarischen Erinnerungskultur für junge Leser
Edited By Gabriele von Glasenapp and Hans-Heino Ewers-Uhlmann
An Island out in the Open Sea. The Second World War in Swedish Books for Children and Young Adults 241
Ulf Boëthius (Uppsala) An Island out in the Open Sea. The Second World War in Swedish Books for Children and Young Adults I. Sweden did never take part in the Second World War. The country was – or pre- tended to be – neutral. The central aim was to keep the country out of the war and in the end this policy proved to be successful, although it implied conces- sions in particular to Germany, which occupied Sweden’s neighbour countries since 1940. So the government permitted more than two million German sol- diers to cross the country by rail trying at the same time to repress all public cri- ticism against the Nazis.1 Surrounded by the war Sweden was like a small island out in the open sea, trying to avoid a threatening hurricane. As a consequence the way in which the war is shown in Swedish children’s literature differs from the way it is presented in books from countries being directly affected by military actions. Other themes are put in the centre, the attitudes towards the war are different and so are the ways of narrating. The topic of the Holocaust and how it is treated are signifi- cant. While it is a major theme in countries hit by the war the subject is not fre- quently covered in children’s books written by Swedish authors. As a conse- quence the intense German debate on how to write for a young readership about the Holocaust was completely ignored. Swedish children have...
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