Silences, Cultural Historical Museums, and Jewish Life in Sweden


The silences surrounding Jews and Jewish culture within the Swedish folklife sphere and within the historiography of Swedish folklife studies are examined in this paper. Emphasis is placed on one national institution, the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.The sleep at issue, then, is the undergrowth of embarrassed, taken-for granted or hostile silences concerning ethnic/religious difference that could be found more or less throughout the 20th century, not only among the majority of the population but also among experts in the study of culture. It is argued that the silences and the lack of clear stances at a national cultural institution contributed to legitimizing xenophobia in the past and might well continue to do so among people who are lost, violently inclined, looking for scape-goats, and waiting to strike when the time is right.

How to Cite

Klein, B., (2003) “Silences, Cultural Historical Museums, and Jewish Life in Sweden”, Ethnologia Europaea 33(2), 121-132. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Barbro Klein (Uppsala University)



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