Switzerland and Sweden were the only European nations to remain neutral during the second world war, and did not suffer the hardships the rest of Europe had to cope with. Schaffhausen, a town in nearby Switzerland built a camp and invited the Norwegian ex-prisoners to spend time there. They were too weak to cope with the journey to Norway at that point. On the 31st of May they left the living hell, called Dachau, behind and were transported to ‘heaven’ according to all the men. After a 2-3 week quarantine they were free to go where they wanted. Many trips were arranged and they saw a lot of this little country’s beauty-spots. Dinners and dances were arranged too. My father was always a stylish and good dancer and he enjoyed every moment. Many of the Swiss people they met remained in touch for many years.
Back home we waited longingly for news. I don’t know how soon after their arrival in Switzerland we actually were able to hear a broadcast from the camp, where each man said a few words to his family, but probably no more than a couple of weeks. Sadly, one man named Hans Hauge was very ill. He was carried in on a stretcher and managed to say a few words, but died soon afterwards. The wives whose husbands had died had been notified before the broadcast. I can remember we all met at a friend’s house (where the radio worked) – and the tears ran freely as our loved ones said they were all right and would soon be home.
Here they all are – Swiss and Norwegians together. My father is standing sixth from the left in the fourth row.
By now they were in good condition physically, but it took a long time to fully recover, and some never did.