Bernadotte, Count Folke

(1895–1948)
   UN mediator for Palestine. Bernadotte belonged to the Swedish royal family, and in World War II was vice- chairman of the Swedish Red Cross. In this capacity he negotiated with Himmler the release of over seven thousand Scandinavian nationals, some of them Jews, from Nazi concentration camps; and several thousand Jewish women from Ravensbruck camp were safely transferred to Sweden through his good offices. In April 1945, Himmler approached Bernadotte with peace proposals to be transmitted to the Allies, but they were rejected. A few days after the termination of the mandate, on 20 May 1948, the Security Council appointed Bernadotte as mediator in Palestine. He succeeded in effecting a four-week truce, as from 11 June. He then proposed a peace plan which sought to adjust the United Nations partition boundaries of 1947. It included Jerusalem and a substantial part of the Negev in the Arab state, in return for Western Galilee, which was to be Jewish. Haifa and Lod were to be international. These proposals were rejected by both sides and fighting was resumed on 9 July, as the Arabs refused to prolong the truce. Bernadotte continued in his mediation and in his report to the UN submitted new proposals. He then suggested that Jerusalem be internationalized, that the Arab part of Palestine be merged with Transjordan and Arab refugees be repatriated. On 17 September 1948, while touring Jerusalem, Bernadotte was shot down, probably by persons connected with the STERN Gang (Lehi). The Bernadotte plan was later rejected by the UN General Assembly. An Israel forest was planted in Bernadotte’s name, in memory of his humanitarian work during the war. He was the author of The Curtain Falls (1945), a book on the last phase of the Third Reich, and of To Jerusalem (1951).

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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