Haijby affair

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The Haijby affair was a political affair in Sweden in the 1950s, involving the conviction and imprisonment of Kurt Haijby for blackmail of King Gustaf V.

Background[edit]

Gustaf V at the time of the First World War

Haijby was born in 1897 as Kurt Johansson. In 1912 he and another boy scout were granted an audience with king Gustaf V. When Johansson grew older he lived a life in crime and was convicted several times for theft and fraud. While trying to escape prison he shot a police officer dead. After being released he changed his name and tried to open a restaurant. As he was a convicted criminal he could not get a licence to sell liquor. He then applied to the king and was granted a second audience in 1932 to put forward his case. The king, Gustav V, then allegedly seduced Haijby.

Haijby's wife, Anna Haijby, when learning about this, filed for divorce, citing her husband's sexual relationship with the King as cause for divorce. Fearing that this would become known, officials of the Royal Court convinced the couple to settle for an amicable no-fault divorce. Haijby was encouraged to emigrate to the United States, where he was to receive 3,000 Swedish kronor from the Royal Court and start a new life. However, when he arrived in the USA, there was no money for him. He had to return to Sweden where he, unemployed and penniless, asked for support from the Court.

During several years, money from the Court financed a number of failed enterprises that Haijby tried. There is no evidence of outright blackmail on Haijby's part, but the Court was obviously trying to buy his silence. In all, Haijby received 170,000 Swedish kronor from the Court and perhaps much more from the king's private funds.

Haijby later claimed that he was the lover of the King in the years between 1936 and 1947.

In 1938 Haijby was arrested for child sexual abuse and put in custody at the asylum of Beckomberga. This was the result of political pressure from the Over Governor of Stockholm, Torsten Nothin. The psychiatrist in charge of the asylum did not believe that Haijby was in need of psychiatric care and eventually released him. The child abuse case was never brought to court.

A new deal was arranged where Haijby in 1938 was forced to emigrate to Nazi Germany . There, he was put in prison by the Gestapo, probably by request of the Swedish Court. Unlike most Gestapo prisoners, Haijby was not tortured and, for most of the time, kept in decent conditions. Charges were then brought against him for sexual relations with a young boy. He was sentenced to prison and banished to Sweden after having served his sentence.

He was reunited with his ex-wife, who paid him a stipend using a police officer as a middleman. Haijby was to believe that the money came from the Court.

In 1947 he published a roman à clef. The entire first printing was then bought by the Court and destroyed. It was actually Haijby's ex-wife who paid. But the coverup effort proved to be in vain. The novel was reprinted and distributed twice, in 1952 and 1979.

Haijby was again, because of political pressure, committed to an asylum.

In the meantime, another scandal, the Kejne affair, had broken in the press where Vilhelm Moberg was busy writing lengthy articles about homosexual conspiracies among the Swedish officials.

The affair[edit]

Trystorp, Kurt Haijby's pension

Haijby reported his forced detention in the asylum at Beckomberga to the Attorney General of Sweden. These papers were immediately classified, but were smuggled out of the Attorney General's office by Vilhelm Moberg, and the whole affair thus came to public attention. The actions of officials to suppress the claims caused acrimonious debate in parliament and the media. As a consequence, the court charged Haijby for acts of blackmail.

In 1952, after a dubiously held trial, Haijby was sentenced to eight years hard labor for blackmail, which in 1953 was reduced to six years by a court of appeals. Haijby committed suicide in 1965.

Haijby had reported the treatment he had received to the Swedish Chancellor of Justice. The results of the investigations, the bulk of which were classified until 1981, effectively acquitted the monarchy. There is nothing to support the claim that Haijby was seduced by the king as a young boy, but most commentators believe that he had a sexual relationship with the king in the 1930s.

However, the fact that the Swedish court was prepared to pay Haijby such large sums to suppress his accusations has by some[citation needed] been taken as evidence that they were true.

Further reading[edit]

  • Moberg, Vilhelm (1973). Otrons artiklar : läsning i blandade ämnen (in Swedish). Gothenburg: Författarförlaget. ISBN 91-7054-099-3. 
  • Heumann, Maths (1978). Rättsaffärerna Kejne och Haijby (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN 91-1-787202-2. 
  • Haijby, Kurt (1979). Patrik Kajson går igen : roman (in Swedish). Stockholm: Latina. ISBN 91-970348-4-3.  Originally published in 1947.
  • Rydström, Jens (2003). Sinners and Citizens: Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden, 1880-1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-73256-8. 
  • Ebervall, Lena; Samuelson, Per E. (2008). Ers Majestäts olycklige Kurt : en roman med verklighetsbakgrund (in Swedish). Stockholm: Piratförlaget. ISBN 978-91-642-0271-0. 

External links[edit]