News Culture Comment Video


Memorial fund set up in Swedish journalist’s name to help young women

Wednesday 1st November 2017

You may have heard of Kim Wall.


Kim Wall.
Kim Wall.

Photo: AFP/Tom Wall

Kim Wall was the Swedish reporter who was allegedly killed and dismembered by the submariner she had gone to interview.

Her friends and family want the world to remember her differently.

They’ve set up a memorial fund in her memory that aims to provide financial support to young female journalists so they can cover the “undercurrents of rebellion”.

Kim’s friend and fellow freelance journalist, Sonja Paul, was interviewed by RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme this morning. She says Kim’s family want to “reframe the narrative around her death”.

Kim, 30, was last seen alive on August 10, after leaving to interview Danish inventor Peter Madsen on his submarine. Her headless torso was discovered off the coast of Copenhagen two weeks later.

Madsen initially maintained Wall’s death was an accident and she was hit on the head by a hatch cover while climbing out of his submarine.

The police say the 46-year-old has changed his story and now admits dismembering her body, but claims she died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Independent reports stab wounds were found around her ribs and genitals. Investigators say they were caused "around or shortly after her death".

Madsen has been charged with her murder.

Kim Wall was a highly respected journalist who was published in The Guardian, The New York Times and Vice.

Sonja Paul went to Columbia University’s School of Journalism with Kim. She describes her friend as “fierce and courageous” and someone many people wanted to emulate.

“She was an extraordinary student and had the kind of potential that was very obvious to a lot, if not all of our classmates as well as our professors,” she told Nine to Noon.

“She was a very inquisitive and kind person who wanted to know about the world.”

An image from Danish media allegedly showing Kim Wall standing next to Peter Madsen on his submarine.

Photo: AFP

Sonja says Kim pursued stories that reflected a “variety of angles”, such as the positives of voodoo in Haiti and Ugandan shame about Idi Amin’s torture chambers.

Both Sonja and Kim have worked as freelance journalists. Sonja says the lifestyle is difficult, as freelancers often lack the support staff reporters for major publications have.

“By creating a memorial fund that focuses on helping young women reporters pursue the kind of stories that Kim excelled at ... it’s one of the best things we can do to honour Kim and honour women like her who are inspired to take the initiative,” says Sonja.

“Trying to reframe how the world knows her story is important as Kim was always looking for narratives beyond what most people might be familiar with.”

Sonja says what allegedly happened to her friend is “beyond unspeakable”.

“But Kim as a woman, as a friend, a daughter and a sister, was full of life and hope and optimism, so it would be a disservice to her to remember her for this sort of news tragedy.”

She says that’s what inspired Kim’s friends and family to create the fund.

“Kim constantly created opportunities for herself, in a work environment where she had limited resources and she was very much about opening up opportunities for other people, as she was for herself.”

Join the discussion »

Login to post a comment

Login or Signup


In accordance with our Comments Policy, all comments are moderated before they appear on the site. This happens 7am to 7pm each weekday.

Join the discussion

Discuss, comment and read comments about this article.