Remarks of Inga-Lill Hammarskj÷ld to the Commission, 9 September 2013
Thank you for inviting me to this most significant event, held in the environment that was the childhood home of my late husband, Knut Hammarskjöld. He and his brothers called The Hague home when their father, Åke Hammarskjöld, served as Registrar and later Judge on the International Court of Justice.
I am here, first of all, to thank members of the Commission and their consultants for their devoted efforts to find out what really happened to Dag Hammarskjöld and 15 others who died in Africa that grim September of 1961.
The second reason for my standing before you is to help carry out my husband´s longstanding wish that the truth finally be known about what happened in the skies and on the ground near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), the night of 17-18 September 1961.
To so many, Dag Hammarskjöld was an elegant, brilliant, self-effacing diplomat, devoted to peace in our world. At the time of his death he was
the United Nations.
But to Knut and his two younger brothers, Peder and Michael, he was an uncle, a friend, a mentor who helped them with their homework and guided their careers, and after the death of their father Åke at the age of 44, Dag was a devoted substitute father. Knut was only 15 years old when his father died. Later on Knut told me, "When Dag was killed, it was like losing my father all over again."
On hearing of Dag´s death, Knut rushed from his home in Geneva to Ndola on 19 September. There he saw Dag and the place were he had died. He identified Dag and others. Knut asked many questions and did not get answers that made sense. For the rest of his life, which ended on 3 January last year, Knut searched for the real story about what happened to Dag and those who travelled with him.
Today you have fulfilled his work.
Two years ago Knut and I were here in the Peace Palace. He was very touched and told me his deep feelings about being here and once more seeing his father´s office. It looked just as Knut remembered it. So too the park around the Palace. His father was waving from his window to his boys playing in the garden.
Now I can say that Knut´s circle is completed.
I feel that he is with us here today. He knew so many of you—and I know how much he appreciated your herculean efforts.
From both of us, many thanks for your devotion and courage in carrying out this monumental task.
Back to News