Bernadotte, Folke (1895–1948)
BERNADOTTE, FOLKE (1895–1948)
Nephew of King Gustave V of Sweden, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg was born in Stockholm. At the beginning of 1945, as president of the Swedish Red Cross, Count Bernadotte succeeded in negotiating with the German authorities for the liberation of almost 30,000 prisoners from concentration camps. On 28 April, he participated in negotiations that concluded in the surrender of Germany. On 29 May 1948, in the framework of the end of the British Mandate in Palestine and of the fighting that erupted upon the proclamation of the creation of the State of Israel, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated him as mediator in Palestine, to be assisted by Ralph S. Bunche. Bernadotte obtained a truce in Israeli-Arab fighting, and on 28 June he proposed a plan suggesting the constitution of a federated "Greater Palestine" incorporating the West Bank and including two autonomous states, one Jewish and the other Arab. His project reduced the portion allowed to Jews in the UN plan of November 1947. Rejected by both parties, this proposition led to a resumption of combat. On 16 September 1948, Count Bernadotte's "Progress Report" to the United Nations advocated the "right to return" of Arabs who had been expelled from their land and the establishment of an international status for Jerusalem, which provoked the anger of Jewish extremists. The next day, along with one of his assistants, the French Colonel André Pierre Sérot, he was assassinated by Meshulam Makover and other members of the Stern Gang (LEHI). On 18 September, nearly 200 members of or sympathizers with this small group were arrested. Two days later, both the Stern Gang and Irgun were banned.