The Disgusting Swedish Torture Drink

“The truth is that torture makes torturers.” —Jean-Paul Sartre

In a Nutshell

Schwedentrunk (“The Swedish Drink”) was a form of torture used by Swedish marauders and mercenaries on German peasants during the Thirty Years’ War. It involved forcibly making a person consume a mixture of human and animal excrement (often served up boiling hot) until they passed out.

Once a person could consume no more they’d often be kicked in the stomach or beaten to compound their suffering. The torture was used mainly to extort the locations of valuables out of peasants.

The Whole Bushel

During the Thirty Years’ War, Swedish mercenaries weren’t paid very well, if at all. They were, however, told that they could take the valuables of any civilian or peasant they happened upon.

In order to extort these valuables out of people, the Swedish would create the most loathsome, foul-smelling mixture they could manage, using dirt, excrement, urine, and anything else they could get their hands on. Once this mixture was created, it was then poured down the throats of whoever the mercenaries or troops felt was holding out on them. For added suffering, the mixture was often served boiling hot.

Once a person had forcibly consumed enough of the liquid to bloat his or her stomach, the mercenaries kicked and beat them viciously until either their stomach burst or they handed over their valuables.

The torture was so horrific that it was memorialized in many paintings and works of German literature after the war. It was later referred to as “Schwedentrunk,” which is literally the German translation of “Swedish Drink.”

Show Me The Proof

Mercenaries in Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Who is this Schiller Now?: Essays on His Reception and Significance
Essays on Some Disputed Questions in Modern International Law

  • inconspicuous detective

    yea i’ve heard about this, pretty horrible stuff. makes you wonder what you’d do if you were faced with several people who seemed to wanna harm you for no real reason…

  • Lanc

    Swedish cooking hasnt really improved since.

  • Ryan

    Why is this article here? Are they trying to revive this lost art?

  • Misterwonka7

    It looks just like the meatballs.

  • Jacob Shaw

    This isn’t a evening meal in Sweden? I was tricked!

    • GuevaraChe

      Sorry man, you just had poop for dinner. 🙂

  • Ashley Renee Sutterfield

    so glad i was eating when i read this…ew…

  • asianchick

    Omg how disgusting! This is a first for me never heard anything about this. I would hand my valuables over immediately. Screw that

  • rhijulbec

    What kind of valuables did peasants have? I thought the definition of ”peasant” was ”dirt poor with nothing.”

  • Hillyard

    I think the Army’s master menu took a page from these guys.

  • TheUnknownTruth

    The Pic at the top of the article looks like something I would see on the Grill of a Taco Bell….

  • anonymouse72

    Yeah, I can’t give you money even if you must be staving, so take from other people so they can starve, too.
    The mercenaries didn’t let the peasants starve, did they?

  • Lie_Buster

    Obviously, this was why they were able to proceed until death with so many of the peasants because they had no hidden valuables to reveal to their torturers. Hence, apparently, the Swedes did this to these peasants purely for pleasure.