Sweden's White Buses

Mr Zeev Raphael is indignant because I devoted just one sentence to Sweden’s White Buses (Jerusalem Post, Uptime, 18 June 2004) of 60 years ago in a text dealing with entirely different issues of burning present-day actuality. He feels I “belittled” the operation by not focusing more on what was an entirely peripheral issue in the context of my article.

Mr Raphael is not the only person whose loved ones were rescued by those buses from an anti-Semitic hell in mainland Europe. My mother-in-law was the sole remnant of her entire family, having somehow survived the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Ravensbruck. Our two eldest children – her grandchildren – would not now be doing their army service in Israel, having willingly chosen to leave the increasingly anti-Semitic “Swedish safe haven” to which their grandmother was brought, had she not been rescued by those very White Buses.

The mission of the White Buses was to rescue as many people with a Scandinavian connection as possible. That mission was thankfully expanded to encompass as many of the decimated remnants of a thriving Jewish Europe as possible under the watchful eye of the Nazi apparatus.

None of which, however, is of the slightest relevance to either the article I wrote or the issue it addressed: the climate of anti-Semitism in today’s Sweden, tacitly encouraged by media antagonism and by political failures cemented through insufficient nuance, lack of objectivity and utter paralysis in the face of increasing anti-Semitism among one particular section of the country’s population – its most recent citizens of Arab and/or Muslim origin.