Harald Edelstam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Harald Edelstam in 1946.
The grave of Harald Edelstam, September 11 2010, at Eckerö church close to Stockholm. The celebration of him helping the Chilean and others to escape during the 1973 military coup.

Gustav Harald Edelstam (March 17, 1913 – April 16, 1989) was a Swedish diplomat. During World War II he earned the nickname Svarta nejlikan ("the Black Pimpernel," a reference to the Scarlet Pimpernel) for helping SOE agents and saboteurs escape from the Germans. During the 1970s he was stationed in Santiago, Chile, and became known as the "Raoul Wallenberg of the 1970s" when he helped Cuban diplomats and Uruguayan refugees and Chilean political active people escape persecution by Augusto Pinochet.

During the 1973 military coup against President Allende, the Cuban embassy was under fire by tanks and Cubans were returning fire from the windows; Edelstam took a Swedish flag in hand and walked in front of the tanks as bullets hurled past. He fetched the Cubans out of the embassy and took them to the Swedish embassy, then got them out of Chile to safety.[1] Edelstam also helped many other Cubans to escape from Chile and was honored by Fidel Castro as a hero.

Due to his remarkable courage and moral integrity, Edelstam is today considered as a true modern-day hero among millions around Latin America, and particularly so among the hundreds of thousands of Chileans who were forced into exile by the dictatorial regime.

Edelstam died from cancer in 1989.

A film about Edelstam's activities in Chile, The Black Pimpernel, was released in September 2007. He was portrayed by Michael Nyqvist.

"The Edelstam Prize" is named after, and awarded in the memory of "Harald Edelstam". It is a Sweden-based international monetary award, administrated by the "Edelstam Foundation". The Edelstam Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for one’s beliefs in the Defence of Human Rights.[2]


External links[edit]