The families they left behind.

After my father’s arrest, and that eventful day he was sent by train into the unknown, we settled down to some sort of normal life again. The future was uncertain and times were hard. Rationing was really biting by now -1942 – and money was, for us, in very short supply.

I loved my grandparents, and was particularly fond of granddad Ole, my father’s dad. He was jolly and kind. He also had a lovely voice and I often sat by his side when he sang to me. But it was my mother who had to take charge of the household and make all the decisions after my father ‘s arrest.  The Germans treated us reasonably well, as long as we ‘towed the line’. It was forbidden to keep a radio in the house, so my grandfather buried our set near a big tree in the garden. It never worked once it was dug up after the war. So, you see, we had no idea about world events and how the war was going, except for those brave souls who listened to shortwave radios in secret and related the latest news. 

My aunt Selma, who was in charge of a hotel in Stavanger, asked my mother to help out during the summer holiday in 1942. This hotel was occupied by German officers, but my aunt and all the staff were ordered to remain. She did her best and found that some of the officers were kind and understanding and were not Nazi-friendly. In fact many hated the war and lost their own families during the numerous bombing raids over Germany.

 Late one evening my mother and I boarded a ship in Bergen and sailed overnight to Stavanger in convoy. All went well but I was very ill. For days before we departed I was in bed with a high fever. It turned out that I had contracted diphtheria. As soon as we disembarked  it was straight to hospital for young Elin, and there I remained for three weeks. The isolation ward I was in was full of sick children, and some died. I was lucky and had no lasting problems afterwards. We stayed in Stavanger for several weeks after I had recovered. My mother worked hard but we loved being with aunt Selma.

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