TDISH: Death of a Diplomat

On September 17, 1948, Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte was in Palestine during the fight for Jewish statehood serving as a representative of the United Nations.  Bernadotte had been a hero during World War II when he used his position as a neutral diplomat to negotiate with Heinrich Himler to save many Jews from Nazi gas chambers.  However, by 1948, his reputation among many Jews had taken a hit.  He had put forth a proposal for a peaceful solution to the conflicts surrounding Jewish statehood – it was, however, unacceptable to Jews since it forced them to give up control of Jerusalem to an international committee.  One group of Israelis that was particularly vehement against Bernadotte’s policy was the Lohamei Herut Yisrael (LEHI).  LEHI was a group of militant Zionists willing to use violence against anyone not actively supporting Jewish statehood.  On the evening of September 17, LEHI set up a roadblock in Bernadotte’s path and as his UN vehicle came to a stop, opened fire on the diplomat, killing him almost instantly.  LEHI announced that while Bernadotte’s death was tragic, it was necessary for the birth of the state of Israel.

Featured Image: “Folke Bernadotte.” Public Domain.
Source: “Modern History of Israel: The Assassination of Count Bernadotte.” Jewish Virtual Library.