Alexandergate. The state child-abuse case that shook Sweden

 

Alexandergate

The state child-abuse case that shook Sweden

By Martin Hongisto, B Sc (Econ.), author and writer

 

 

 

 


Martin Hongisto is
Eva Aminoff's husband and the step-father of Alexander Aminoff for the past 32 years.

The text that you are about to read is Martin Hongisto's translation of his lecture to the NCHR's Symposium that took place in Gothenburg on
June 14, 2003.

The Patron of the NCHR, Birgitta Wolf von Rosen, wrote a book about the gruesome confiscation of Alexander Aminoff by the social authorities at Lidingö. The title of the book is
The Alexander Case - A confiscated child.  The preface of her book was written by former chief justice Brita Sundberg-Weitman. 

The text of the lecture is reproduced here with Martin Hongisto's kind consent.

 

 

 

 

Back in 1979, a weird process commenced in the Nordic Kingdom of Sweden.  As the time went, it was to develop into one of the greatest human rights - and justice malpractice - scandals in the modern history of this country.  It is publicly known as the ALEXANDER CASE.

 

To understand why, the reader perhaps should know something about the Swedish society.  This is an ancient kingdom with an aristocracy that long into the 1800´s still had much to say.  The expressed class society caused into a counter reaction = when common plebiscite was introduced in the early 1900´s, the reds soon gained power and have kept the majority of seats in the Swedish parliament (Riksdag) more than half a century, with one  interruption or two.

 

The absolutely greatest political party is the Social Democrats (SAP) and with the support of mainly communists (V) they form a bloc that is guaranteed more than 50 % of the voices in this parliament.  They use to do things their way.  Nasty commentators sometimes name Sweden ”one party state” alternative ”Totalitarian”.  Well, we practice free elections.

 

For my part, adventure started in early 1971, when I met a very charming lady, baroness EVA AMINOFF.  She was a celebrity up here, beautiful, intelligent and warm –hearted.  I was a young, inexperienced man, my  marketing management studies still ahead of me.

 

We were positively birds of the same feather and one sunny day in May month, with birds singing and roses blossoming, we became a love couple.  Thirty-two years have passed now and we still are that. 

 

My lady Eva had a two-year old son called Alexander, originating from the disaster she called her (previous) marriage.  We three from now on used to live in a house on the island of Lidingö, right outside Stockholm the Swedish capital, in the Baltic Sea.  Eva and I now started to write together and I commenced my economic studies at the Stockholm University.

 

Nobody knows, how it started – my little newfangled family running into trouble.  In fact, the reds had during their long period in power constructed voluminous social welfare apparatus.  Its task was supposed to be helping our good citizens in trouble (mainly economic) but as years went on, it started to live its own life in an escalating scale and developed into a mere control system with tentacles everywhere.  One, well, division of this army of social servants was the Children Welfare Board.    

 

It was this organisation that hit us.  How it started: someone REPORTED us.

We Swedes have a nasty little tradition: we report each other to the Social Authorities.  As when my neighbour reckons I booze too much; or when he (she) thinks I abuse my wife; or he/she sees my child do wrong things.

 

Alexander did wrong things.  He frequented our neighbours and told them he never got anything to eat at home.  The trick was very functional: he gained a lot of candy and pastries on his tourneys.  His disadvantage was that someone took his Les Misérables story for reality, and reported us to the social authorities.

 

They now started a file on us and this caused us being under their looking glass from this day and infinitely on.  The Alexander Case had begun … to live its own life. 

 

This was now year 1974 and Alexander, six years old, had started in a preparatory school (förskola).  Attending school is compulsory in Sweden the year the child becomes seven years of age.  Then they start in the elementary school (grundskola, lågstadiet).

 

”Mobbing” is one school problem, so even in Sweden.  Alexander was subject to some.  He is not the kind of guy that runs away and cries, instead he could give that bully a valuable lesson. 

 

Now the school reported ALEXANDER of being bullyish (stökig).

We spoke English at home, and with most of our friends, and as a kid of four years Alexander started in the Anglo-American school of Stockholm, in Kindergarten.  Though, two years later we let him go this common Swedish preparatory - a mistake we made?

 

Next REPORT given by the school, received by the authorities: Alexander’s command of the Swedish language was too bad because we spoke Finnish at home.

 

Swedish = language spoken by some 10 million people mainly in Sweden.  Finnish = another, completely different language spoken basically in Finland by 5 000 000 people or more. 

 

We did Not speak Finnish with Alexander, neither Swedish.  Our family's verbal communication media was the English language. 

 

The children welfare authorities invited themselves to visit our home.  The meeting was stormy.

When my Eva heard their accusations, she grew angry.  She felt these people had put her status as a good mother in question and that hurt her feelings very badly.  She now described the two social workers, Ms. Gunnel Lindhé and Ms. Clara Carlsson, as figures responsible for quite useless activities, doing work without any good results at all.  Listening to this respectless talk from a "client", who according to their point of view, was one they had come to assist and support as a mother, THEY now felt hurt and very much humiliated indeed.

 

HIT AND RUN 
September 2, 1974, was chosen as  date for the operation steal their kid.  There were six of these Lidingö al Quaida group: the supreme head of Lidingö Social Welfare Service; one attendant; two female clerks; one M.D. and two ordinary cops.  Later, a locksmith joined them to break up the doors as we did not show any intentions to invite them voluntarily.  They entered our house with force, trespassed the sanctuary every family in the civilized world calls HOME.

 

They carried out our crying, fighting child. I could do nothing.  I could not protect my family.  Humiliation was total.   Eva was no good as a mother.  I was nothing as a man.  We were not enough a family in the eyes of these people, representing a perverted construction of ideology.

 

Alexander was taken to an unknown location, which, as we later learned, was the clinic for Pediatric Psychiatry at Danderyd Hospital, north of Stockholm.

 

He was held there for several weeks for ”diagnosis” and at the end, they gave their decision. Alexander was to be put in a foster home and separated from us forever without the right to visit him.  Note! We were NOT a family with disorderly economy, abuse problems, or domestic violence.  What we WERE = she, a famous, talented, well-paid journalist; me, a young, green economist at the beginning of his career – and Alexander, he was a professional child.

 

Our home?  An East End-style, rotten hole that this miserable collection never saw the trouble to tidying up? Wrong.

 

This was one of the biggest villas on Lidingö, twelve rooms, two kitchens, four bathrooms - approx. 4000 sq. feet and a view of the sea. The island of Lidingö is the Swedish equivalent of Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach or Kensington Gardens.

 

Aristocrats vs. Reds.  The reds won this round.

 

We were allowed a last farewell meeting with our son before the Ultimate Separation.  I had a plan. 

 

In that simple barrack behind  the actual hospital complex, one window was almost always open. I soon learned that was the laundry room of the clinic.  That very window should be our ticket to freedom. 

 

The day for farewell came and we drove to the hospital in our navy blue 1961 Simca four door Saloon.  I turned around the vehicle 180° and placed her under that window before I parked her. 

 

The getaway car.

 

In there, we sat in the visitors’ room all three and two turnkeys were present.  As Eva upheld them, Alex and I went out to the corridor for the last father - and - son talk forever.  The laundry-room door was open, so was the window as was customary.  Our boy Alex chose to be tossed out through that window and I followed him right after. 

 

What followed was almost a car chase through the streets of Stockholm and we did not keep the 35 mph speed limit or anything.  Drove up behind a commuter train station, left the vehicle and rode a train outwards from the town and hid us in an area close to the International Airport where we found a forest section to cover us.

 

We fled abroad.  Left our beautiful, safe home with all the classy furniture and oil paintings and ethnic objects Eva had taken home from her numerous working journeys around the globe.  Australia, Tahiti, Amazonian Jungle, Africa several times over… and our well-equipped library with more than 1000 volumes, the most in English.  Why?  Because of some ill-educated, lower-class, red-voting silly women in his Majesty’s social service selected so.

 

We stayed almost half a year on the Spanish Costa Del Sol.  We grown-apes (as Alex sometimes called us) continued with our literary activities, Alex was placed in the English ”Sunny View school” in those parts.  After five months, our residencia came to an end so we decided to leave for Florida where Eva knew some people since older times.

 

We established ourselves in the Palm Beach County area and stayed there approx. five months as well and had actually a very good time.  Alexander attended an ordinary American school and made friends.  So did we grown ups: we got a Fennoamerican couple as our neighbours, he worked as butler, she as a waitress to one of the wealthiest families in this parts, Mr. and Mrs. Fischer.  Eva and I worked as writers, preparing a series of stories about what we three had been through.

 

Four or five sections of the article series were published in the Finnish ladies magazine Jaana, then this ”crime committed by Sweden - a true story” was cut by demand of the Swedish Embassy in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We do not know what methods they chose to make the Finns kneel.

 

Early 1977, we returned to Sweden as we learnt that ours now was a low intensity case.  Indeed, they left us in peace for more than two years.  The low profile was mutual.

 

You do not believe this

 

That was what we believed.  In fact, our file continued its own life. It grew!

 

Reckless accusations.  Some of the authorities decided to Sherlock Holmes on us and went digging in our garbage bin.  He/she found a bottle of California White, empty of course.

 

From the files: Baroness Aminoff goes stoned all day!  She never was.

 

From the file again:  A great number of men have been seen to visit lady Eva.

 

As all this happened, we had rather lively contacts with international mass media, or they used to contact us for details.  Most journalists were men at that time.

 

Besides: I was at home the whole time.  The pimp?

 

The unwritten accusation:  Eva had been writing critical articles to the international press where she questioned the basic idea of the Swedish society structure, the welfare state.  She now had turned into a dissident. 

 

They hit again, Aug. 8th, 1979.  Their target was our family. 

Those times, the Bolivian government had introduced a scheme to habitate the fertile lands of Abapo Izozog, a territory between the Andes and the Amazonian basin.  This, the ”last Wild West to be won”, certainly was a project for a traveller writer so Eva signed a contract with her publisher, Messrs. Lehtimiehet. Ltd. in Finland.  Her concept was to go there, rent a home, place the kid in a school and get to work.

 

She informed the hometown authorities and applied for school vacation for the months needed.  In the meantime, she had secured her son a place in the Swedish school in Cochabamba.  This was run by the Philadelphia denomination and had a good reputation.

 

The day before they traveled, Alexander proposed his mother to stay at home from the school this last day.  Mother told him to go: best do everything according to the paragraphs.

 

So to school he went, our little Alexander, and as he disappeared behind the bend, he disappeared from our lives for four years, eight months and sixteen days. 

 

The only information they gave us was that, our boy had been dispatched to a location kept secret for us, for an indefinite time. Logically, we commenced with our operation search.

 

It turned out to be an Orwellian task through a labyrinth of mirrors.  Nothing was real.

 

We employed a private eye.  His name was Sam and he was very professional.  They did not let him see revealing documents.  Well Sweden is a big place to walk around and look for someone.  Sam did not find our boy.

 

I knew a friend in the State Social Department who had access to their data base.  We made a run and … found Alexander.  But not Aminoff.  Svensson.  Alexander Svensson.

 

They had deprived our son of his good family name!  ”Svensson” is used as a joke name precisely as ”Mr. John Smith”.

 

We tried per his social security code that includes date of birth.  They had forged it!  The only thing correct was our address, No. 10 Neptune, Lidingö.  Dead end.

 

The next move. We started to search for him physically.  We had been informed that there were certain areas with relatively high foster home frequency in this country and we now drove around in our ancient Volvo and knocked on doors.  Gradually we learned that taking children from their legal parents and planting them in a foster home in the country side was a big business!  Someone counted out its yearly turnover exceeding that of the auto maker Volvo Ltd…!  Well, to be fair, there WERE problem families but … was this the best method to cure them.  A broken up family is no more a family.

 

Besides, you do NOT confiscate a child from a family with our living conditions.  The reasons must have been very … specific.  Eva was sure of this was a vendetta for the inconvenient texts she had written about Sweden.

 

More to write had to come.  The international mass media learned of us and now they flooded our home on Lidingö. There followed shaking descriptions of how families were treated in the Kingdom of Sweden.  Articles were written in Germany in Der Spiegel, Der Stern, Frankfurter Allgemeine.  In France in Paris Match.  In the Anglo-Saxon world … theme: ”The state that snatches its children”.

 

The world famous psychiatrist Ronald Laing learnt of our case.  He had worked a lot on problems and crisis arising in families and he contacted us.  We invited him to Sweden and to stay in our spacious home.

 

Ronald now decided to hold a seminary in Stockholm and as he understood I was a media worker he asked me to take care of the details.  I chose Karolinian Hospital as a worthy frame and their collaboration was complete: we could have our meeting in their great auditorium.  There came participants from whole the realm, probably from the neighbouring countries, too.

 

In spite of all that above described activity, the front of the dark forces was unbroken.  Three or four years had passed, without a whisper of Alexander was heard.

 

- He is dead, cried Eva.  – They have caused an accident with lethal outcome.  This total silence is to cover their crime.  They killed my child!

 

When the angel lands or prisoner no. 6001
There are a few personalities on this planet that stand tall as beacons to light the route for the  rest of us.  One of them is Mrs. Birgitta Wolf, known as the Prisoner’s Angel.

- You have been allowed to visit every given prisoner at your wish over the whole planet, without exception, says Eva.  Six thousand of them I have heard.  Perhaps they will let you visit, this your prisoner no. 6001, too. 

They didn’t.  However Birgitta never takes ”no” for an answer.

- I’ll contact the Prime Minister.

Birgitta Wolf knew all the people you should know.  Even some weirdoes like Hermann and Adolph, during the war.  She sent a telegram to Mr. Olof Palme, the then Prime minister of Sweden.  She was allowed an audience.

 

-Master Olof, your info Department must have been sleeping sweetly.  I brought a big bunch of foreign papers with me, for you to see.

 

For our Prime Minister, the whole spectacle is a complete surprise.  He didn’t know anything.  So he says.

 

- I’ll have my own press conference.

 

This turns to an Alexandergate. A Nordic kingdom gathers the journalists to assure them that we do not kidnap our under age citizens at all!  The headlines soon will reveal the contradiction.  Scandal!  Mega size.

 

The high society steamrolls on regardless the opinions in the big nasty world outside.  In May 1984 (!) there will be a court case in the rural town of Strängnäs with the aim of removing Eva’s legal custody over her own child and pass it over to some stranger.

 

We drive to Strängnäs to court.  Now this happens.

We are sitting in the Volvo outside of the Courthouse and eating our sandwiches.  Alexander is standing inside the building and sees us.  It is now he makes his decision.  He’ll run.

 

 

The terror

What had really happened that May day 1979 and after?  Alexander tells us.

 

The two policemen that seized him hated their task but they had an order to follow.  To walk into a school class in the middle of a lesson, taking a ten year old pupil hostage, screaming, fighting for his freedom just doesn’t feel like an honourable mission.

 

Alex was declared foster child without the right to meetings with his family and placed on a foster home.  This was an old dairy farm, remade to a … home.  It was situated on a tiny island called Stallarholmen, somewhere in the great Swedish lake system Mälaren. 

 

The supreme head, the foster father, was Mr. Sture Svensson, the motherly care came from his fiancée Marianne.  There were two or three other foster children, the composition of this ”family” was variable.

 

Sture was one of those "les misérables" that got everything wrong.  He landed in a foster home when he was very young.  Followed small crimes and an institution.  There he learned smarter crimes and was honoured with bed and breakfast and all in an ordinary prison.  At top of his career he was an expert in blowing safety boxes but was placed in one: His Majesty’s maximum security unit, called Kumla.

 

With his six feet,  220 pounds and hot charm, he was the guaranteed Alpha male in his gang.  Still he got bored with that kind of limited freedom and decided he wanted to quit his criminal career.

 

The High Society assisted him, of course.  They found a suitable job for him.  As a foster father.

 

 

Devil’s island

Why didn’t Alexander escape from his prison?

They had a daily routine.  The main activity was rebuilding a steel hulled small tugboat to a cruiser intended for West Indies.  The work was very heavy, and young Alexander was obliged to carry objects (ballast) weighing approx. 160 pounds a piece at times.  His vertebrate is damaged for the rest of his life. 

 

Sture Svensson did beat the children.  ”Beat” is a nice description of his abuse against his protégés. 

 

He could hit the boys with planks, smash them with boat wire.  Alex still carries scars of this wire on his back. 

 

There was a girl, we call her Suzanne.  One day Mr. Svensson smashed her right over her face.  Her spectacles were destroyed, her eyesight … not.

 

Says Alexander: -I was beaten, beaten, beaten…regular  brutality!

 

There was a boat on the island, but the oars were locked up.  Besides: Sture told Alexander that the day he even dreamed of running away he could count himself as dead, alternative wishing he was.  Alexander knew this was no joke.

 

When Alexander saw us that Spring day outside of Stängnäs Courthouse, he understood this was the ultimate maximum range turning point.  Now, regardless the cost - or never.

 

That night, he "borrowed" Sture's boat and paddled with his arms and hands to an island where he knew they had a pair of oars. Then he rowed to Strängnäs small harbour, tied the boat and found a coin telephone box.  He had a quarter or two in is pocket so he could  … call home.

 

Twenty years have passed now so this is history.  Or is it?  For us involved, the answer is "No".  We’ve got to live with this to the end of our days, especially Alexander, the terror victim.

 

Want to read the details?  They will come.  I have written a book of the way we were, it is in for examination before I turn it over to my publisher.  It is in Swedish so far, ”Vitsippornas tid” (”Anemone season”), some 300-400 pages.  It is a cruel story and I hate it, but it was a must.  A message to be delivered. 

 

Alexander now lives in Norway with her beloved Mona.  Eva and I still live on Lidingö and I write books.

 

Eva, the celebrated Scandinavian journalist and traveling writer, does not write any more.  In the end, the above told caused her good health to collapse.  As I write this, the woman thou gave me sits at my side as  always, in her wheelchair.

 

O Lord, forgiveth them their deed.  I DO NOT.

 

 

Lidingö, August 24th 2003.

Martin Hongisto

Member of NCHR

 

The Alexander Case - A confiscated child
Preface by Brita Sundberg-Weitman
  

The Alexander Aminoff Case
by Sven Hessle
   

Alexander Aminoff's linguistic proficiency in childhood
by Marianne Haslev Skånland
 

Spectre of Children's Gulag haunts Sweden
by Chris Mosey
  

Swedish couple enduring USA poverty to keep son
by John Brinkley
 

A Family's Flight From the Welfare State
by Jacob YOUNG with Joan WESTREICH in New York and Donna FOOTE in London


The Enerström Case: A Disgrace to Swedish Democracy
By Britt Arenander


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