Here’s breaking news.
Many European archaeologists feel bad about Nazi archaeology in the past. In my opinion, this is usually way overstated: a few of our pre-War colleagues were Nazis, which was opportune at the time, but archaeology had (and has) nothing like the kind of political oomph necessary to take any significant part in actually giving the Nazis power. Archaeologists are political opportunists by necessity because we’re so poorly funded, which is one reason that everybody in the field today is a humanistic liberal like myself. We are now in general neither more nor less good-hearted than were our colleagues of 70 years ago. Anyway, there has been a lot of Nazi-hunting in Swedish archaeology in later decades, and fingers have been pointed mainly in the direction of Sune Lindqvist, Andreas Oldeberg and Eric Oxenstierna.
Now, reports Åsa at Ting och Tankar, Magnus Alkarp in Uppsala is preparing his doctoral thesis for publication. And he has made some archive finds that shed radically new light on the issue of pre-War Swedish archaeo-Nazis. In a recent talk and UNT newspaper essay, Magnus explained that the evidence paints Lindqvist as a Swedish nationalist conservative who became increasingly hostile to Nazism as it grew in power. He helped Jews escape Germany, hid political refugees, herded his students away from Nazi recruiters and cooperated with the Swedish state security agency against German infiltration.
However, one of Lindqvist’s students, with a surname beginning in “O”, eagerly went to Berlin, offered his services and told Lindqvist in 1940 about excavations he planned to perform with concentration-camp labour! Alkarp’s thesis discloses the identity of this character and full details of his relationship with Nazism. The book is going to be very much talked about, and Magnus is marketing it in a very smart way, as this blog entry shows.