Axel Olof Freudenthal

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Axel Olof Freudenthal

Axel Olof Freudenthal (12 December 1836 – 2 June 1911), was a Swedish-speaking Finnish philologist and politician.

He was born in Siuntio, and studied at the University of Helsinki where the nationalistic movement struggle between the Fennomans and the Svecomans was raging. He iniated the Swedish nationality movement in Finland and fought for the cultural integrity of Finland's Swedish-speaking population against the nationalist desires for complete finnization of Finland.

Freudenthal was appointed a docent in 1866 in Old Norse language and wrote his doctoral thesis on the dialect of Närpes in 1878. He was a Professor of Swedish language and literature between 1878-1904. He died in Helsinki. His life's work was documented by Arvid Mörne in the book Axel Olof Freudenthal och den finlandssvenska nationalitetstanken (1927).

Amid the scientific racism of the 19th-century Europe, Freudenthal went on to claim racial supremacy of Swede over Finn in a way that parallel theories of Aryan suppremacy.[1]

The Swedish People's Party issues a decoration named after him, the Axel Olof Freudenthal Medal. Many Silver and Bronze medals have been given to individuals since 1937, but only one Gold medal has been issued - to Elisabeth Rehn in 1994.[1]. However, the party has not issued the medal since 2007 due to criticism of Freudenthal's racial views.[2][3][4]

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