Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Letter from Magnus Forsmo to Tom Fossmo - 1945 just after WW2

This was translated from a photocopy of a letter written in Norwegian to Tom Fossmo by his brother Magnus Forsmo, who had stayed in Norway.  It was written just months after the end of World War Two and is very interesting. 

Letter from Magnus Forsmo to Tom Fossmo
27 Aug 1945. Forsmo, Mosjoen, Norway

Inflation rate is high, goods for purchase are scarce.  Jobs are hard to find.  Magnus is working for Railroad in Mosjoen.  Food is rationed still.  He makes 100 Krone per day, but 20 goes to tax.  Would have made 70-80 Kr per day working for Germans, but he didn't even consider that.

Now possible to go to Oslo by train, soon will be able to go to Bodo and Norvik.  The valley has developed much: railroad tracks everywhere and a station near the cemetery.  Germans did many things to the area: cut down forests that were previously protected, they build many new roads and bridges (Gjerdiakun Bridge, Voldakun Bridge).  German soldiers overtook Gamlehaugen.  In winter, the German Army came through with cars and horses from November (1944?) until end of war.  Soldiers' horses were eating wood off the new houses, many were destroyed.  Things were stolen. 

Fourteen German Army soldiers were stationed at Forsmo to watch the bridge (from 19Dec44 to 15May1945).  The Germans were kind, but stored their belongings in the kitchen.  The family was only allowed to cook in the evening, if they had anything to cook. 

German occupation was a nightmare.  Mosjoen became a military town: they built bunkers and barracks.  The Norwegians lived with violence all around, many jailed and beaten worse than wild animals.  Large mess to clean up the town.  After war, Nazi sympathizers were jailed (150-160 men and women).  German soldiers fathered a number of illegitimate children with Norwegian women.  Things will never be the same and life is looked at differently now.  Communism is more popular, especially with the young, but Magnus is against it.  Unemployment is a problem.  The old political parties are trying to restore power but the Workers party may join the communists for the October 8th election.

Magnus has been at Forsmo since the fall of Norway in 1940.  He traveled down with Erling from Arnes.  Erling was near Oslo for 1 year.  Magnus started Railroad work when he arrived.  Erling had an accident with a handgrenade, it is a miracle that he and Mom (Mathea) were not killed.  She lost her hearing and he hurt his hand (lost use for a while, a finger is crooked now). 

Magnus is not sure how long he will be at Forsmo, his family is in Tonsberg south of Olso and hasn't been there for 2 years.  Will try during summer vacation but hard to get time off.  Weather has been wet.  Sara and John visited 2 weeks ago, they drove from Korgen (Magnus hasn’t been there for 20 years).  Shortage of tobacco, no pipes to purchase so Magnus made his own.  Shoes and working clothes will not be available for another year.  

Will you (Tom) and Asger ever come back to visit?

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