Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


The Founder of Ace of Base’s Nazi Past

I don’t think any of us saw ‘The Sign’

Print Email

My Wednesday was off to a good start. It’s 64 and sunny. My jetlag is wearing off. I had an onion bagel that was perfectly toasted for breakfast and no subway buskers performed “The Girl from IPanema” on my way to work.

Then, Friend-of-Scroll Jason Diamond sent me the news: Ulf Ekberg, founding member of Swedish group Ace of Base, has a secret Nazi past. Not just a secret Nazi past, a not-so-secret Nazi past…in a Nazi punk band…called Commit Suicide.

In 1998, a small Swedish record label called Flashback Records released Uffe Was a Nazi!, a limited-edition collection of Ekberg’s output with Commit Suiside. The cover is a photograph of Ekberg giving the Nazi salute. Although only 1,000 CDs were produced, it was an extremely damaging attack on Ekberg’s Nazi past and has become a major collector’s item. Uffe Was a Nazi! includes five songs, like “Rör inte vårt land,” which translates to “Don’t Touch Our Country,” and “Vit makt, svartskalleslakt!” which translates to “White Power, Black Skull Slaughter.” It also, amazingly, finds the band rethinking the white-power, skinhead-punk act Skrewdriver’s “Smash the IRA,” translating the lyrics to German and renaming it “Smash the VPK.”

Eventually Ekberg helped found Ace of Base, sold 30 million records, and made millions of dollars making millions of people endlessly happy in the 1990s. All the time were we ever suspicious that beneath that placid Scandinavian veneer and within those addictive and cloying tones Ace of Base had a National Socialist molten center?

I wasn’t. But looking now at their songs, maybe I was blind. Consider one of the band’s biggest hits “The Sign”:

I,I gotta new life
You would hardly recognize me I’m so glad
How could a person like me care for you?
(Why?)Why do I bother
When you’re not the one for me
Ooooo, is enough, enough?

Is this about a relationship or a protest song about the Treaty of Versailles?

Also, it seems possible that their other major hits may have been abridged for an American audience. After all, how can we possibly know that “Don’t Turn Around” wasn’t originally titled “Don’t Turn Around. Seriously.” Or that the song title “All That She Wants” had one of those parenthetical additions to read “All That She Wants (Is A Pure Blood Aryan Like Me)”

We may never know.

Ace of Base’s Secret Nazi Past [Vice]

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Platinum Blondes with symbols and flags. Makes a Jewish boy like me nervous.

Afrayedknot says:

I thought this was old news. I seem to remember hearing about it years ago…maybe on Behind the Music?

This is old news – we used to have activities at camp (in the late 90’s/early aughts) analyzing the song lyrics, watching the video, and learning about the band’s past. I guess now it’s just “official” news?


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Founder of Ace of Base’s Nazi Past

I don’t think any of us saw ‘The Sign’

More on Tablet:

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

By Lee Smith — Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose