Axel Napoleon OLSSON [1920-1950]

Submitted by AWD on Thu, 12/28/2023 - 13:10
Axel Napoleon
Birthplace (town, state)
North(?) Korea
Died in (town, state)
Hong Kong
Died in (country)
Hong Kong
Cause of death

After reading the excellent Fighting for Two Kings: Danish Volunteers in the Defence of Hong Kong 1941 by Frode Olsen I (being Swedish) started to think if there were any Swedes in Hong Kong during this time. 

Reading several other books on the topic and time period there are several mentions of stranded sailors (some murdered by looters!) and the crew of the ship Gripsholm (which the civilians of Stanley Internment Camp were transferred to and transported on), but not much more...

...until I started browsing Juror lists from the time seeking Swedish sounding names. And there one was - 1941 Olsson. Digging a little deeper and cross-checking names I found some more intriguing info on the name Olsson. An Axel Olsson (Warehouse Foreman) witnessed in the Military Court for the Trial of War Criminals No. 7 against Sgt. Major Matsunobu Shigeru amongst others accused of torture. Reading the protocol from the trial I found that he was not only a witness, but also accuser. The Sgt. Major had interrogated and strung up him up with his arms behind his back. This would be the only (?) case of a Swede being tortured by Japanese in the WW2 Pacific Theatre!

Unfortunately Axel passed away shortly after the war in HK at the young age of 30. He was buried at Saint Michael's Catholic Cemetery. Government Record Service has some info on the death, but not much more adding to why. There is some info on his marriage to Maria Luiza Thereza De Souza and his father Axel Fridolf Olsson passing away in Burma.

The Olsson family in general was an interesting find digging into Axel's life. The father Axel Fridolf (possibly/likely the one in Juror List) married a Korean woman Pauline (another link) and they had several children across their homes in Asia (Korea/Shanghai/Hong Kong).  

I would like to find out:

  1. Was he really Swedish? 
  2. What happened to his young son Sluggo?
  3. Is there any other document case of a (potential) Sweden being tortured by the Japanase?


Axel Napoleon Olsson
Axel Napoleon Olsson, by AWD

I do not have a relationship to the Olsson family, however after spending time researching I feel close to Axel even though 70+ years has passed. 

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