En svensk tiger

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Beredskapsmuseet´s sign of En Svensk Tiger.
The famous propaganda poster warned Swedes to be wary of speaking.

En svensk tiger (Swedish: [ɛn ˈsvɛnsk ˈtiːɡɛr]) was a slogan and an image that became part of a propaganda campaign in Sweden during World War II, aiming to prevent espionage by encouraging secrecy.


In Swedish, the word svensk can mean both the adjective "Swedish" and the noun "Swede" while tiger can mean either the noun for the animal or the present tense of the verb tiga ("to keep silent"), giving the poster the double meaning "a Swedish tiger" or "a Swede keeps silent".[1] The phrase is comparable in use to "loose lips sink ships" in the United States[2] and with "careless talk costs lives" and other similar wartime slogans in the United Kingdom.

Commission and use[edit]

The famous poster for the propaganda campaign was created by Bertil Almqvist in 1941,[3] commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Information (Swedish: Statens informationsstyrelse, SIS). The poster became the main slogan of the Vaksamhetskampanjen (Swedish Vigilance Campaign) that was started in the same year to encourage secrecy about information that may damage Swedish military defence.[1]

Legal battle[edit]

Almqvist died in 1972 and in 2002 the copyright of the poster/logo was transferred to the Beredskapsmuseet [sv] (Military Preparedness Museum).[3] After eleven years of legal battle, the Swedish Armed Forces, who had been using the image without permission, paid SEK 700 000 in damages to the copyright owners in 2008.[4]

See also[edit]

  • MUST (Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten)


  1. ^ a b Thomsen, Dante (1 October 2014). "Bahnhof stoppar hyllning till "En svensk tiger" efter påtryckningar" [Bahnhof cancels their tribute to "En svensk tiger" after arm-twisting]. www.dagensmedia.se. Dagens Media. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  2. ^ Stemme, Fred. "Loose lips sink ships" (PDF). www.hourglasshistoricals.com. Hourglass Historicals. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "En Svensk Tiger". www.beredskapsmuseet.com. Beredskapsmuseet. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  4. ^ TT (24 September 2008). "Tvisten om En svensk tiger är över" [The fight about "En svensk tiger" is over]. www.aftonbladet.se. Aftonbladet. Retrieved 6 April 2015.