Anti-Fascist Race Biology: Gunnar Dahlberg and the Long Farewell to the Nordic 'Master Race'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


On the evening of 6 December 1933, members of the National Socialist Party of Sweden (SNSP, Sveriges Nationalsocialistiska Parti), at this time the most aggressive Nazi organisation in the country, violently attacked a lecture at Stockholm University. This gave rise to an extensive press debate; newspapers from left to right condemned the attack, which ended up being a propaganda fiasco for SNSP. So what made the SNSP so incensed by this lecture? It had been organised by the Socialist student organisation Clarté and the lecturer was Gunnar Dahlberg (1893−1956), a researcher in the scientific discipline of ‘race biology’ at the nearby Uppsala University. A couple of years later, he was to become Director of the Swedish State Institute for Race Biology. In 1933, Dahlberg published an article in the magazine Ord och bild titled ‘The Nordic Race from a Socio-Anthropological Perspective’, in which he criticised the Nazi use of the concept of ‘race’ and in particular the notion that there was a superior ‘Nordic race’ (Dahlberg, 1933). In his lecture, he was to repeat this critique – not something that the explicitly racist SNSP was minded to tolerate.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnti-Fascism in the Nordic Countries
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives, Comparisons and Transnational Connections
EditorsKasper Braskén, Nigel Copsey, Johan A Lundin
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781315171210
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-04694-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 6
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameRoutledge studies in fascism and the far right