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Count Folke Bernadotte murdered...

Item # 549365

September 18, 1948

THE NEW YORK TIMES, NY, September 18, 1948 

* Count Folke Bernadotte murdered 
* Arab-Israeli mediator 

This 32 page newspaper has a four column headline on the front page: "BERNADOTTE IS SLAIN IN JERUSALEM; KILLERS CALLED 'JEWISH IRREGULARS'; SECURITY COUNCIL WILL ACT TODAY" with many subheads and photo of Bernadotte. More on page 3

Other news of the day throughout. Rag edition in great condition.

source: wikipedia:
olke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg (2 January 1895 – 17 September 1948), was a Swedish diplomat noted for his negotiation of the release of about 15,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II.[1] In 1945, he received a German surrender offer from Heinrich Himmler, though the offer was ultimately rejected.

After the war, Bernadotte was unanimously chosen by the victorious powers to be the United Nations Security Council mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1948. He was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 by members of the underground Zionist group Lehi while pursuing his official duties. Bernadotte was assassinated on 17 September 1948 by members of Lehi, a Zionist militant group sometimes known as the Stern Gang. The assassination was approved by the three-man Lehi 'center': Yitzhak Shamir, Natan Yellin-Mor, and Yisrael Eldad,[27] and planned by the Lehi operations chief in Jerusalem, Yehoshua Zetler. A four-man team ambushed Bernadotte's motorcade in Jerusalem's Katamon neighborhood. Two of them, Yitzhak Ben Moshe and Avraham Steinberg, shot at the tires of the UN vehicles. The third, Yehoshua Cohen, opened the door of Bernadotte's car and shot him at close range. The bullets also hit a French officer who was sitting beside him, UN observer Colonel André Serot. Both were killed. Meshullam Makover, the fourth accomplice, was the driver of the getaway car.[28]General Åge Lundström, who was in the UN vehicle, described the incident as follows:

    “In the Katamon quarter, we were held up by a Jewish Army type jeep placed in a road block and filled with men in Jewish Army uniforms. At the same moment, I saw an armed man coming from this jeep. I took little notice of this because I merely thought it was another checkpoint. However, he put a Tommy gun through the open window on my side of the car, and fired point blank at Count Bernadotte and Colonel Serot. I also heard shots fired from other points, and there was considerable confusion… Colonel Serot fell in the seat in back of me, and I saw at once that he was dead. Count Bernadotte bent forward, and I thought at the time he was trying to get cover. I asked him: 'Are you wounded?' He nodded, and fell back… When we arrived [at the Hadassah hospital], … I carried the Count inside and laid him on the bed…I took off the Count's jacket and tore away his shirt and undervest. I saw that he was wounded around the heart and that there was also a considerable quantity of blood on his clothes about it. When the doctor arrived, I asked if anything could be done, but he replied that it was too late.”[29]

Folke Bernadotte memorial in Uppsala, Sweden
Folke Bernadotte memorial in Uppsala, Sweden

The following day the United Nations Security Council condemned the killing of Bernadotte as "a cowardly act which appears to have been committed by a criminal group of terrorists in Jerusalem while the United Nations representative was fulfilling his peace-seeking mission in the Holy Land".[30]

Lehi took responsibility for the killings in the name of Hazit Hamoledet (The National Front), a name they copied from a war-time Bulgarian resistance group.[31] The group regarded Bernadotte as a stooge of the British and their Arab allies, and therefore as a serious threat to the emerging state of Israel.[32] Most immediately, a truce was currently in force and Lehi feared that the Israeli leadership would agree to Bernadotte's peace proposals, which they considered disastrous.[33] They did not know that the Israeli leaders had already decided to reject Bernadotte's plans and take the military option.[34]

Lehi was forcibly disarmed and many members were arrested, but nobody was charged with the killings. Yellin-Mor and another Lehi member, Schmuelevich, were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. They were found guilty but immediately released and pardoned. Yellin-Mor had meanwhile been elected to the first Knesset.[35] Years later, Cohen's role was uncovered by David Ben-Gurion's biographer Michael Bar Zohar, while Cohen was working as Ben-Gurion's personal bodyguard. The first public admission of Lehi's role in the killing was made on the anniversary of the assassination in 1977.[36] The statute of limitations for murder had expired in 1971.[37]

The Swedish government initially believed that Bernadotte had been assassinated by Israeli government agents.[38] They publicly attacked the inadequacy of the Israel investigation and campaigned unsuccessfully to delay Israel's admission to the United Nations.[39] In 1950, Sweden recognized Israel but relations remained frosty despite Israeli attempts to console Sweden such as the planting of a Bernadotte Forest by the JNF in Israel.[40] At a ceremony in Tel-Aviv in May 1995, attended by the Swedish deputy prime minister, Israeli Foreign Minister and Labor Party member Shimon Peres issued a "condemnation of terror, thanks for the rescue of the Jews and regret that Bernadotte was murdered in a terrorist way," adding that "We hope this ceremony will help in healing the wound."[41]

Bernadotte was succeeded in his position as U.N. mediator by his chief aide, the American Ralph Bunche. Bunche was ultimately successful in bringing about the signing of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, for which he would later receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Category: The 20th Century