This book brings together for the first time the works of Jewish authors writing in Swedish, who describe the special circumstances confronting Jews in the twentieth century in Sweden and Scandinavia. During the Second World War, Sweden's small, long-established, and well-assimilated Jewish community was never subject to the open and ultimately fatal ethnic identification that most European Jews suffered. Older and middle-aged Swedish-born Jewish authors tend to think of themselves only as Swedes. Within the last few decades, however, Sweden has become an immigrant country, and a younger generation writes from a different perspective.Twenty of the twenty-two authors represented in this anthology are still very active, and many of the pieces were written in the last fifteen years. Each work chosen illustrates some aspect of Jewish identity in Sweden, either today or in the course of a century in which Sweden played a crucial, controversially neutral role in a war that had a catastrophic impact on Europe and led to the near-annihilation of the European Jews. This volume provides the complex historical framework in which these events occurred and elucidates the role played by the largest Scandinavian country within it. Contemporary Jewish Writing in Sweden brings together superb work by major writers in one of Europe's foremost national literatures and includes the first English translation of an excerpt from Peter Weiss's recently discovered 1957 Swedish novel.
Peter Stenberg is a professor and head of the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Journey to Oblivion: The End of the East European Yiddish and German Worlds in the Mirror of Literature and the coeditor of Literature and Politics in Central Europe: Studies in Honour of Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz.