JULY 31, 2018

Today I spent 5 hours perusing materials I had pre-ordered to have pulled for me from the National Archive in Oslo (https://www.arkivverket.no/om-oss/besok-oss/riksarkivet-og-statsarkivet-i-oslo). I took a lot of photographs of pages that might have some interesting information - but I will have to translate both Norwegian and German text when I return to the US. I looked at hundreds of pages of documents stamped with the word "Geheim":  Secret.

At the of the day I went back to the Airbnb to rest, and consolidate papers and notes. (I might add the temperatures here in Oslo are stifling hot/humid and since there is no air-conditioning or fans, the archives were really hot). I decided to treat myself to a foot massage at a wellness center nearby. When I was done and paying, I struck up a conversation with the receptionist. Turns out this was a very interesting conversation.

First of all, her mother's name is Randi. Second, her brother's name is Thor.  Third, her mother is the exact same age as my mother - and both grew up during the occupation of Norway. Her mother and grandparents story is a bit different however from my family's. During the war the Nazi's took over her grandparents home in order to turn it into a hospital. Their family had to flee the town at that point - parents and 7 children. When they returned after the war, they encountered a horrific scene at home. Because it had a been a brutal winter and the home had been used as a hospital, they discovered severed fingers, arms, legs and more in the straw where the wounded had slept. Her grandmother had to clean out all of the gruesome remains before they could move back home. In addition, after standing outside and looking at the sea (it was a coastal town which I leaving nameless for now), her grandmother noticed something odd about the shoreline.  When she went to investigate, she found the shoreline was nothing more than dead bodies all along its edge.

View of Sognsvann area outside of the archives, Oslo

View of Sognsvann area outside of the archives, Oslo