Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Norwegian and German love story from World War 2

Adam from Visit Sørlandet got a very interesting story whilst out on the streets of Kristiansand for the Humans of Kristiansand project.

Every other day I walk around the streets of Kristiansand hoping to get a nice picture and story from people and today I met a man with a very interesting story from World War 2.

"My goal in life is to make a movie about my grandparents. We have war history here in Norway from World War 2 when we were occupied by the German forces from 1940 to 1945.

My grandmother (father's mother) wanted to be a doctor but she could not do it because of a high school teacher that did not like her. Apparently she really hated her. This teacher gave her bad grades in one subject which prevented my grandmother from going to medical school, so she decided to become a nurse instead.

That made her angry because she was always the best at everything including various types of sports: skating, kayaking etc. Eventually she became content with being a nurse and then the war came.

I am not too sure about the details, but she met my grandfather during the start of the war who was in the German SS Panzer division called 'Totenkopf'. They fell in love and got married and Himmler went to their wedding to bless it. This was common practice in the early stages of the war with SS officers but it was known as the perfect wedding because a blonde haired, blue eyed pretty Norwegian girl was marrying a German. An Anglo Saxon wedding.

She then joined the Red Cross and went to Germany where she worked in the countryside of Germany from 1942 to 1943 and later she worked in Berlin. During this time he was away fighting in different parts of Europe and Russia, so they would meet up when they could. The last battle he fought was against the Americans when they entered Germany.

There is a ten page letter she wrote on the 27th of March 1945 to her family here in Norway. She wrote about courage because at that time the war was coming to an end and the Russians were almost at her door step at the hospital where she worked.

She wrote about being a nurse at the hospital with a lot of responsibility being in charge of her ward and transport of wounded soldiers. She also carried a leather bag full of syringes that contained poison. She was instructed to kill all of the wounded soldiers that could not walk if the Russians were to come. This also included officers that had could be tortured and release important information to the Russians.

She wrote that she has accepted that she may die and she is not afraid anymore.

She survived the war and I am not sure if she had to inject any of the soldiers. What I do know is that she managed to escape from Berlin with my grandfather who was injured and deserted his post. He paid some SS guards with gold and diamonds that my grandmother had from her family, so they let them through the road blocks in an ambulance.

They hid in the western part of Germany where the Americans were and lived there for a little while after the war. There, he was imprisoned for 3 months by the Americans because he was a German soldier.

They stayed together and lived amongst the rubble and what was left over of the buildings there until they moved to Norway in 1946. My grandmother was considered German by the Norwegian authorities because she was then a German citizen and married to a German.

They had a hard time back in Norway from the local people but they lived in Drammen where many citizens had helped the Germans during the occupation, so they simply did not talk about it. A lot of people had something to hide at that time.

My father did get a hard time at school and got into many fights. In the end he carried a knife around to defend himself.

The other side of my family is my mother's mother. She fell in love with a Norwegian doctor and she had been raised in both Italy and in Wales and because she had British contacts, british intelligence contacted her to work for them within the Norwegian resistance.

She was to deliver a note to a bookshop in Oslo. The note contained the name of a doctor who was responsible for delivering the names of over 200 Norwegian jews that were transported out of Norway to a concentration camp.

He was to be killed.

The Gestapo was after my grandmother and grandfather, so they fled the country and ended up in Sweden. He ended up working as a doctor there and was the first doctor to meet with the survivors from the Bergen-belsen concentration camp.

So that is a different story from the same family. Two different women struggling with love and life during the Second World War.

She died in Norway in 1953 of cancer leaving behind 3 small children. My grandfather moved back to Germany after that with the smallest child and left the others with my grandmother's family.

It shows me that love conquers all. That was the most intense period of time in European history and through that war and misery, they found each other and found love even though they were representing common enemies at the time. So to me it is a love story."

1 comment:

  1. This blog is further than my expectations. Nice work guys!!!