|Sweden as Schutzmacht (protective power)|
Sweden acted as Schützmacht for the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation and thus promoted the diplomatic interests of Dutch nationals in Germany. Sweden was taken seriously because it was also Schutzmacht for Germany in other parts of the world.
In 1941 the Swedish delegate in Berlin tried to arrange a visit via the Auswärtige Amt to Dutch Jews in German concentration camps. In 1944 an attempt was made to exchange around 2,000 or 3,000 Jews interned in the Netherlands who had been granted passage to Palestine (dossier 506).
Sadly, these and similar initiatives rarely bore fruit. In the first case – after Sweden had threatened to stop acting as Schutzmacht for Germany (dossier 511) – Otto Bene devised a plan that would deprive all Dutch Jews of their Dutch nationality and hence their right to representation by Sweden. Repeated requests for extradition were ignored by the Auswärtige Amt because “an extradition must be based on well-founded reasons, which were extremely difficult to find in this material” (dossier 506).
Leaving the Schutzmacht guessing appears to have been a common tactic for dodging its intervention. Requests submitted via the Swedish Legation for information on the whereabouts of family members who had been transported to Germany or Eastern Europe were often answered in euphemistic terms or not at all (dossier 479).
Eventually Sweden had exhausted all the diplomatic pressure at its disposal.