‘The Height of Irony’: Swedish Prosecution Seeks to Destroy Nazi-Critical Books by Jewish Comedian

Europe

The cover art of Aron Flam’s much-talked-about book features a poignant remake of a cult WWII-era poster, which according to copyright holders constitutes disfigurement. In Flam’s version, the Swedish tiger, a wartime symbol of secrecy, wears an Nazi armband and makes a Nazi salute.

The Swedish authorities have pivoted on a book by Jewish comedian, journalist, and writer Aron Flam about Sweden’s problematic relations with Nazi Germany during World War II.

All the remaining copies have been confiscated at the warehouse of the publisher, and now Swedish prosecutors are seeking permission to destroy the books, including copies already sold, the news outlet Nyheter Idag reported. Court orders to destroy books are extremely rare in Sweden.

The very name of Flam’s book, “Det här är en svensk tiger” (“This is a Swedish tiger”), is an allusion to a war-era propaganda campaign encouraging secrecy, similar to the “Loose lips sink ships” in the US. It is based on a pun and can be understood as “A Swede keeps silent” and “a Swedish tiger”, and features an iconic image of a tiger. As opposed to the original tiger image by Bertil Almqvist, Aron Flam’s tiger makes a Nazi salute and wears a Nazi armband.

The privately owned Military Readiness Museum, which owns the copyright to the original “A Swedish tiger” artwork, reported Flam to the police for copyright infringement. The museum is asking for SEK 500,000 ($53 000) in fines and damages. The graphic…

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