Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg was the first newspaper editorial writer in Sweden. She was proactively against the Nazis, racism, and intolerance. She devoted her entire life to fighting for freedom, peace, and equality.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg was born in Lund. She was the daughter of Professor Torgny Segerstedt, an expert of religions and a journalist who was known for his anti-Nazi views, and Augusta Wilhelmina Synnestvedt. The family moved to Stockholm shortly after her birth and then on to Gothenburg where her father became editor-in-chief of the Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfarts-Tidning newspaper in 1917. In 1934 Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg married Anders Wiberg, a civil engineer, and they had a son together. During the Second World War the couple took in a young refugee girl whom they subsequently adopted.
In the mid-1930s, as Hitler was preparing to go to war, Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg had already set up a children’s home for Jewish children who were arriving in Sweden. During the post-war years Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg worked as a refugee counsellor. She was also the assistant editor and later publisher of the Världshorisont journal. She frequently engaged in polemics and wrote a lot of articles. In 1955 she began to write for the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper, for which she later supplied the editorials until 1993.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg served as a member of parliament for the Liberal People's Party during several parliamentary sessions. From 1960–1970 she sat on the constitutional committee. She was particularly engaged in social policies and matters relating to education, immigration, and refugees. She also put a lot of time and effort into the campaign for peace and disarmament. She resigned from the Liberal People's Party following the party’s decision to support joining NATO in 1999. However, she subsequently rejoined the party in 2005 and, along with Bertil Hansson, she proposed a motion to set up a humane refugee policy. She was also one of the driving forces behind the Rosengrenska foundation in Gothenburg, which was a voluntary network of doctors and care personnel who provided medical care for undocumented refugees from 1998 onwards.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg’s involvement in the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom formed a large part of her activism. In 1955 she had already served as the organisation’s representative at meetings in China where she spoke about peace and disarmament. From 1975–1981 she was the chair of the Swedish section whilst frequently also serving as a representative for the whole organisation in various major political contexts. In 1990 she was part of the “Time for Peace 1990” delegation in Jerusalem. A significant portion of her activities also concerned the UN. She was the chair of the Swedish UN association from 1968–1973.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg’s name was included on the Swedish secret service list of individuals considered to be security risks. She, along with the sporting celebrity Bengt Frejd, successfully prosecuted a case against the Swedish state in the European Court in order to gain access to her papers.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg wrote a large number of books related to her political work, such as the 1954 Världen är vår, Provstopp nu published in 1986, and Min mot-bok from 1999. She also wrote a major biography of her father, and one on the Göteborgs-Posten editor-in-chief Harry Hjörne, to whom she was close.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg received many prizes and merits, including the Norwegian Frihetskors in 1946, the Eldh-Ekblad peace prize in 1980, and the Serafimer medal of the eighth degree in 1986. In 1981 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Gothenburg university. Since her death in 2010 her status as a representative of free speech and humanity has almost assumed iconic form.
Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg died when she was 99 years old. She is buried at Kvibergs kyrkogård (Kviberg Cemetery) in Gothenburg.