My family and World War II
To my knowledge, Skjervøy was the
island furthest north that the Germans did not burn at the end of WWII.
On Arnøya, where my family comes from, almost all houses were
burned down, to make the Soviets unable to find shelter and food. The
Soviets liberated Norway from the east and forced the Germans to
retreat west and
It was not written much about the evacuation of people and
burning buildings in northern Norway in schoolbooks when I was
And it's still not so much talked about. Many school children on
Arnøya had not heard about the burning of the island, until they
had two weeks in 2006, where the school focused on northern Norway
and the war.
Now there are a lot of Internet sites about WWII and the
withdrawal from northern Norway, but few of them tell much about what
really happened in Troms and Finnmark. It's written a lot more about
war in Norway's southern parts. One site I found, which had a bit more
than one sentence, is an Icelandic site, look here.
None tell that there was no compensation given to all those people who
lost their homes to the flames.
My father and his family lived in Honningsvåg, in North
Cape county. According
the evacuation order, they had appx. 6 hours to pack and leave - in
October, at 71º N (further north than Alaska). My mother and
family got a whole week's notice. My kin
has no object older than from 1945, except a few photographs. I have
them available here as I sit and write this. So I borrowed a picture
the county authority of Finnmark. Photographer is not given.