Historisk Tidskrift. Utgiven av Svenska historiska föreningen
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Historisk tidskrift 129:1 • 2009

Innehåll (Contents) 2009:1

Uppsatser (Articles)

Migration och folkhälsa. Hälsovårdspolitiska bedömningar i den svenska flyktingmottagningen under 1940-talets första hälft

Norma Montesino och Malin Thor

Fulltext (pdf)


Migration and public health: Public healthcare assessments in Swedish refugee reception in the early 1940s.

The link between public health and migration control at the national level is well established in international migration research. This relationship provides the starting point of our research on the Swedish management of refugees during the Second World War. The aim of the article is to introduce the international research field migration and public health and to analyze the role that public health strategies played in the organized refugee reception in the beginning of the 1940’s. We have studied the preparation and implementation of policies designed to handle a large number of newly arrived refugees.

Public health strategies played an important part in preparations for the recep- tion of a large number of refugees from Sweden’s neighboring countries. Existing laws and established organizations created the framework for the emergence of or- ganized refugee activities in the beginning of the 1940’s. This is clearly discernible in the routines that were established to identify and separate refugees suspected of carrying a contagious disease. In order to protect the national citizens, all newly arrived persons had to pass through a health inspection. This included both a medical examination at the transit point as well as a two-week period in quarantine. After quarantine, the refugees were placed in permanent camps. The purpose of the isolation of the refugees was to prevent epidemics. Most likely the isolation also underscored the perceived otherness of the newly arrived.


migration and public health, Swedish reception of refugees – 1940’s, isolation and quarantine – Sweden, contagious diseases, isolation and quarantine – Sweden, refugee camps