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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Narvik On My Mind

Swedish volunteer Jan Danielsen back in Narvik two years ago, with local reenactor John K. Johnsen. Jan wore the same uniform in 1940.

Today I am preparing for this Sunday's speech at the Defence Museum in Boden about Jan Danielsen, one of a dozen Swedish volunteers who fought at Narvik in Norwegian or French uniform.

All in all some 300 Swedes went over to Norway in 1940, all to join the Norwegian Army and none to fight for Germany. There would have been many more if the Swedish government had not suppressed this volunteer movement. There were hundreds, if not some thousands, in the SFK, the just disbanded Swedish Volunteer Corps for Finland that Jan had also been in, that were eager to also fight for Norway. But the Swedish government virtually stopped this from happening.

I just spoke to Jan a few moments ago. This is something I really appreciate - because not only is he the last surviving Swedish volunteer, he is simply a wonderful person that inspires me with his vitality and ideas. And he is soon 95.

Thanks to veterans like Jan I much better understand how rich life is with possibilities and how very small most of my "problems" are. Therefore I am currently writing a book about Jan, I have worked on it for two years now alongside other projects. On Sunday, in Boden, I will provide more than a glimpse into this project.

I am also, as always, very eager to do at least a few days of hiking around Narvik this summer and will then also for the first time visit the brand new book shop of my friend Trond Kristiansen. I can see from the photos he just sent me (below, with permission) that he even has managed to find some older Narvik books that I do not yet have!

The book shop is not in central Narvik but in the southern outskirts of Narvik in an area called Ankenes. For more info check out Trond's website. I have previously written about one of the latest books published by Trond, Slaget om Narvik, Sydfronten, that is simply essential for hiking in the WWII history of Narvik.

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