Sweden in World War II - across borders

Swedish aid to Nordic countries

Some of the aid organisations that started when the Soviet Union attacked Finland in late 1939, continued their work when Germany attacked Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940. [s10]

Large quantities of food was sent to Norway during the war, and was a relief for many Norwegians - especially for children and youths - as the food situation in Norway became more and more difficult [s19]. Much of the food produced in Norway, especially from the fishing and sheep farms, was taken to Germany. [s47]

Several cities and towns in Norway were bombed by Germany in April and May 1940. For example 770 of 1200 houses in Kristiansand were totally destroyed. Narvik was mostly flat after first German and then British attacks. [s13]

Towards the end of World War II in Europe, Norwegians were among the prisoners at the "Nacht und Nebel" camp Natzweiler. One day the last 300 prisoners were ordered to move to the concentration camp Dachau. "Nacht und Nebel" prisoners were meant to disappear. When they had arrived to Natsweiler in October 1943 the commander of the camp had said that the only way out of the camp was via the chimney, as smoke. But when the Norwegians came to Dachau there was a mistake, and they were allowed to send letters (on one occassion). They wrote home, to the Norwegian seaman's chaplain in Hamburg in Germany, and to the Swedish Red Cross. After some weeks the Norwegian prisoners began to receive "Svenskepakker", Swedish parcels with nutritious food. [s47]

The food situation was not good in Norway towards the end of the war. "Svenskesuppe", Swedish soup, was one aid to Norwegian school children. [s47]

On 1 May 1945 an accidental explosion in a Norwegian camp in northern Norway killed 18 soldiers and badly injured 12 others. Qualified medical treatment was needed. Two persons travelled 40 kilometres on skis during the night to a place with communication equipment. Surgical equipment was transported by plane from Stockholm in Sweden, and also a surgeon and a nurse. In lack of nearby landing fields, the delivery had to be made by parachutes. Neither the surgeon nor the nurse had ever seen a parachute, but they got a few minutes of instructions and jumped. They landed without problems. [s51] (My note: I think the surgeon was Norwegian.)

2012-10-19. www.granfoss.se. Text/pictures: Arne Granfoss