Dag Hammarskjold

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Dag Hammarskjöld (photography from the 1950s)

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld [ dɑːɡ ˈhamaɾˌɧœld ] (debate) ? / i (born July 29, 1905 in Jönköping , † September 18, 1961 near Ndola , Northern Rhodesia ) was an independent Swedish State Secretary under social democratic governments and from 1953 until his death in 1961 the second Secretary General of the United Nations . Shortly after his death, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Audio file / audio sample

Hammarskjöld died along with fifteen other people in a plane crash in Africa , the cause of which is still under investigation. He wanted to mediate in the conflict over the resource-rich, split-off region of Katanga in the recently independent Congo .


Dag Hammarskjöld was the youngest of four sons of the Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Hammarskjöld . His brother Åke , born in 1893, served as a judge at the Permanent International Court of Justice from 1936 until his untimely death a year later .

After a brilliant school days, Dag Hammarskjöld studied philosophy until 1928 and law and economics until 1930 and qualified as a professor at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm with the thesis Konjektivenspridningen (German, meaning "economic rashes"), a theoretical and historical study .

After working as secretary of the unemployment commission from 1930 to 1934 and teaching post in Stockholm in 1933 and 1934, he was State Secretary in the Swedish Ministry of Finance from 1936 to 1945 . From 1941 to 1949 he was an authorized minister in charge of the Swedish Reichsbank directorate. At that time he was also a participant in the OEEC Founding Conferences in 1947 and 1948, and in 1948 he held the office of Executive Committee Chairman. He also pursued diplomatic work between 1945 and 1950. In 1949 he became Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1951 he was Deputy Foreign Minister. From 1951 to 1953 he headed the Ministry of Finance.

On April 7, 1953, Hammarskjöld was elected Secretary General of the United Nations and officially took office three days later. In 1957 he was unanimously installed for a second term of office by the UN General Assembly .

At the beginning of his tenure, Dag Hammarskjöld was not trusted to achieve the severity required to resolve international military conflicts. But when he succeeded in persistent talks in Beijing in 1954 to free American prisoners of war from the Korean War , the skepticism turned into respect. During the Suez crisis in 1956, within 48 hours he succeeded in creating an international peace and police force, recruiting 6,000 soldiers from all continents and thus defusing the conflict. Also in 1956 he tried to keep the peace in Hungary during the Hungarian uprising . In 1957 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

During the war of civil secession in the Congo in 1960 , Hammarskjöld held a mediation mandate for the UN Security Council. Due to the numerous protagonists who influenced the conflict (Belgium, France, USA, Soviet Union, South Africa, mining companies, etc.), its influence was extremely limited. He tried to ensure the unity of the Congo with the help of the non-aligned states . He considered the murder of the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba , who had been under the protection of the UN until shortly before his death, to be a tragedy.

Death from plane crash

Dag Hammarskjöld died on the night of September 18, 1961 in an unexplained crash of his UN plane on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Northern Rhodesia , today's Zambia . All 16 people on board died, including the German ethnologist Heinrich Wieschhoff , Hammarskjöld's advisor for Africa. For a long time, faulty maps and the fatigue of the pilots after 17 working hours were suspected to be the cause. Kiu Eckstein reports on a conversation with the cameraman Kurt Werner Drews, who met a pilot who told him that he shot down the plane with Dag Hammarskjöld. In the decades that followed, the UN carried out several investigations, which, however, could not provide any clear results.

A 2013 report by the Hammarskjöld Foundation concluded that further investigations were necessary. In December 2014, the UN General Assembly approved an independent commission, the members of which were announced in March 2015 and which published a report in July 2015. On the basis of investigations by the Hammarskjöld Trust and the Hammarskjöld Inquiry Trust in 2016, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a new commission of inquiry to be set up. He followed a request from Sweden to the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2016, which was supported by 56 countries.

The investigation report was published in October 2017, in which “an attack or an external threat” was classified as “plausible”. The Katanga rebels were suspected to be the perpetrators . The documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld , published in 2019, suggests that the Belgian-British pilot Jan van Risseghem, a legionnaire on behalf of the Katanga rebels, shot down Hammarskjöld's plane. In the documentary, a friend of the mercenary pilot Jan van Risseghem, alias "Lone Ranger", reports that he confessed to the shooting down of the Albertina before his death. He carried out the job without knowing the identity of the inmates. It is also believed that the shooting was targeted, probably with the approval of the CIA and MI5 . The attacks by the Belgian pilot against UN troops were known at the time. Hammarskjöld therefore asked for air support, but the United Kingdom and the United States refused to do so. Instead, both countries gave assurances that the Belgian would not fly that day - a promise that is almost certainly false.

Hammarskjöld left a spiritual diary Vägmärken (literally: waymarks, German edition: signs on the way ). It was published and received a lot of attention after his death.


Dag Hammarskjöld modeled by Harald Salomon in 1962

In 1961 Hammarskjöld was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Up until 1972, a deceased could also be honored if he was still alive on the day of nomination at the end of January. The regulation was later changed to prevent frequent giving to deceased persons. Now the prize can only be awarded posthumously if the recipient dies after the announcement at the beginning of October.

The Sveriges Riksbank laid down in 2011 that Dag Hammarskjold in 2015 on the 1000 crown is mapped -Schein embedded in a Lappish landscape.

Denmark brought out a medal with the portrait of Dag Hammarskjöld in 1962. It relates to Danish development aid.

In Hamburg a square and a bridge at Dammtor train station were named after Dag Hammarskjöld, in Würzburg a Protestant high school.

On the calendar of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the United States , September 18 is a day of remembrance for Dag Hammarskjöld. There is also a proposal for the celebration of the memorial day in German-speaking countries .

There is an endowed guest professorship named after Dag Hammarskjöld at the Northern Europe Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin.

The German Society for International Cooperation is now located in Eschborn near Frankfurt on Dag-Hammarskjöld-Weg, which is named after him.

The Hammarskjöldring named after him is located in Frankfurt's Nordweststadt district .

In Kassel , Dag-Hammarskjöld-Strasse is located between Berliner Platz and Regentenstrasse in the Vorderer Westen district .

In Berlin, the square in front of the exhibition halls in the Charlottenburg district is called Hammarskjöldplatz.

In Bremen, Hammarskjöldstrasse is located in the Oberviehland-Arsten district.

The Swedish Dag Hammarskjöldsleden has existed since 2004.

A grammar school in Würzburg is named after him.


Memorial plaque on Hammarskjöldplatz in Berlin

Peace Chapel in Uppsala Cathedral

Hammarskjold is on the old cemetery of Uppsala buried, about 500 meters west of the cathedral . His memorial is located in the Peace Chapel in the right aisle of Uppsala Cathedral.

The memorial stone embedded in the floor bears the inscription:

"Icke jag utan gud i mig. Dag Hammarskjöld 1905–1961 "

( German  "Not me, but God in me. Dag Hammarskjöld 1905–1961" )

Backåkra stone circle

In Backåkra , Sweden , Hammarskjölds had bought a large estate in the country with a view of the open sea. At the place where he later wanted to build a non-denominational chapel, there is now a stone circle as a memorial.


  • Only peace does not weigh on the earth. Benziger Verlag, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-545-20325-5 .
  • Every day - a life. Verlag Neue Stadt, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-87996-538-2 .
  • The unheard-of - to be in God's hands. Johannes-Verlag, Leutesdorf 1991, ISBN 3-7794-1208-X .
  • Signs along the way. The UN Secretary General's Spiritual Diary. Droemer / Knaur, Munich 1965, ISBN 3-426-77767-3 . (Extended and commented new edition: Urachhaus, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-8251-7770-6 .)


Web links

Commons : Dag Hammarskjöld  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. AP : Hammarskjöld General Secretary: Elected by the General Assembly on Tuesday. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 8, 1953, p. 3.
  2. ^ Annette Büttner: State collapse as a new phenomenon in international politics. Marburg 2004, p. 110.
  3. Henning Melber : Lumumba, Hammarskjöld and the Cold War in the Congo New African, January 17, 2017.
  4. Kiu Eckstein: One Life - Two Worlds. Biographical Notes in Times of Change. Hamburg 2017 p. 69, ISBN 978-3-7439-3297-5
  5. Florian Stark: UN Secretary General may have been shot down . In: Welt Online . September 11, 2013 ( welt.de [accessed on May 12, 2016]).
  6. The Hammarskjöld Commission: Report of the Commission of Inquiry on whether the evidence now available would justify the Unit ed Nations in reopening its inquiry into the death of Secretary - General Dag Hammarskjöld, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 1759 (XVII) of 26 October 1962 . (PDF) September 9, 2013, pp. 47–50 , accessed on May 12, 2016 (English).
  7. ^ I need information on the Independent Panel of Experts and investigations into the death of Dag Hammarskjöld. Ask DAG! In: ask.un.org. Retrieved May 12, 2016 .
  8. Dag Hammarskjold death: UN to open inquiry - BBC News. In: BBC News. Retrieved May 12, 2016 (UK English).
  9. A / 70/132 7/99 15-09722 Report of the Independent Panel of Experts established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 69/246 *. In: Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him. United Nations - General Assembly, July 2, 2014, pp. 6–99 , accessed May 12, 2016 .
  10. Airplane probably shot down by the UN chief , on n-tv.de from October 18, 2017
  11. AFP at the United Nations: UN says evidence justifies further inquiry into 1961 Hammarskjöld crash. In: the Guardian. July 6, 2015, accessed May 12, 2016 .
  12. Johan Ripås: Nya uppgifter: Legoknekt Erkände att han dödat Dag Hammarskjöld . January 13, 2019 ( svt.se [accessed February 16, 2019]).
  13. a b c Volker Bernhard: The mysterious death of a UN Secretary General. Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 2, 2020, accessed on February 4, 2020 .
  14. ^ Swedish Reichsbank : The new banknotes: Motif. ( Memento of September 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) The Swedish Reichsbank, accessed on June 20, 2013 (English)
  15. ^ September 18 in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints
  16. evangelische-liturgie.de
  17. Wilhelm Krahn-Zembol: In memory of Dag Hammarskjold. In: Hagia Chora - Journal of Geomancy | 33/2009. Human Touch Medienproduktion, 2009, accessed on August 9, 2018 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/de/ ).