born June 19, 1957 in Stockholm, Sweden
assassinated September 11, 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden
20th anniversary of her death on September 11, 2023
When her role model, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, was shot dead in the street in 1986, lawyer Anna Lindh had already been leader of the Social Democratic Youth League for two years and a member of parliament for four years. She became city councilor for culture and the environment in Stockholm and chairwoman of the Stockholm City Theater in 1991; in 1994, she was appointed minister for the environment; in 1998, minister for foreign affairs; she chaired the EU Council during the Swedish presidency of the EU in 2001. But when there was talk of her as successor to Prime Minister Göran Persson, she dismissed the speculation: “No, no…my private life suffers enough from my job as foreign minister. And as prime minister, it would be ten times worse.” Intent on shielding Bo Holmberg, whom she had married in 1991, and their two sons from the public eye, she commuted 100 kilometers from the family home in Nyköping to Stockholm every day.
As a politician she was known to be frank, outspoken and trustworthy. Journalists praised her relaxed approach to the media; Swedes voted her the country’s most popular politician. “I have to be able to say what I think, otherwise I don't feel comfortable.” As foreign minister she condemned Bush's war against Iraq as a breach of international law, supported the independence movements of the Kurds and Palestinians and was unwavering in her criticism of the right-wing governments of Turkey and Israel as well as of Italy during Silvio Berlusconi’s tenure.
Anna Lindh represented the modern Swedish woman who could successfully combine a career with a family. The eloquent, skilled, and appealing politician was highly regarded not only in Sweden, but also internationally.
Lindh experienced a setback while advocating for the adoption of the euro prior to the Swedish referendum in 2003. She fiercely argued for Swedish membership as her country's contribution to the European peace project. For the left, she had thus switched to the side of the entrepreneurs.
The unpretentious, approachable politician who preferred backpacks to handbags was shopping on her own for a new dress to wear for a televised debate on the issue scheduled for September 11, 2003. Like Olaf Palme, she was without a bodyguard. She was fatally wounded by an assassin with a knife and died the following day.
(Text from 2013; translated with DeepL.com; edited by Ramona Fararo, 2023)
Please consult the German version for additional information (pictures, sources, videos, bibliography).
Author: Susanne Gretter
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