Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Kindness of the Swedes

The, the, during the war they had refugees from Denmark, you know, they have all the Ger...the Da...the Danish Jews, they rescued--they took 'em in, in the war did you read, did you hear about it?

The Swedes took in the Danish.

All the Danish. Ninety-nine--ninety-five percent of the Danish Jewish population, between seven and eight thousand. The Danish underground they took 'em over to Sweden because the Germans want to send them to a concentration camp and, and finish 'em up. And they had the Norwegian army who, who run away from the Germans came over. They had, they, they had to build camps for them. So after the war those camps were empty. That was not barracks, you know. So they, they took us there for a few months. And there everybody was crashing and made a, a fire from everybody. In the meantime we got food and entertainment and friendship. They took us to their houses--they invited us for dinner on Sundays. They used to come over--a whole group of Swedes to a camp and take, "You two boys, you come to, to meet, you come to mother's for dinner," and things like that. The Swedish, the organizations, the youth...

How did you speak to them?

We, we, we, we caught up pretty fast. We were all young, you know. It was...

But initially?

We didn't have no, no...

Did they speak German?

Yeah, they came to visit us. They sang for us--some of them speak German. We got along pretty well, anyhow, and then they started to send us to, to, to, to have jobs. Everybody, whatever he--if some, some got trades they sent us over officials from their, from, from their employment agencies, because that is centralized over there--it's government run. They send over agents in Stockholm and they called around to factories over the places, you have to take in a few--you have to give 'em jobs. They needed the jobs--they didn't, I mean--I don't regard it--this as a favor, but anyhow. Some of 'em, some factories called up and they said, "Send us in a few people they want to learn in trades." And that's the way--that's, that's how about ten thousand of us got settled in 19...


...in 19...

Did they remain in Sweden?

Some of 'em remain 'til today. I have good friends of mine who remained 'til today. I, myself, was in Sweden from 1945 'til '57. And I married in Sweden, my daughter was born in Sweden, I still know the language.

From 1945 'til 1957. That's a long time.

That's a long time, yeah.

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