Sunday, October 19, 2014

Escapers: Jan Baalsrud; Norway

This is a chapter in the book Incredible Journey by Readers Digest.  Jan Baalsrud was a member of a group of four men, who were of Norwegian descent.  They were places in Norway by the British in hopes of disrupting Nazi occupied Norway.  Instead, they were confronted upon landing, and all but Baalsrud were killed.  Baalsrud was able to escape up a draw in the snow away from the ocean, by killing a Nazi officer and wounding another man.  This was the start of a harrowing journey of escape, which endangered the lives of all those who helped him; but they still did help him. He was forced to swim from island to isand, until he came upon a situation where they could take him in.   He finally made the mainland.  He had been given a pair of skies to move more quickly.  His goal was to cross the Lyngen Alps.  However he was unsuccessful and was found delirious by Marius Gonnvold, who nursed him back to health.  He was placed in a hidden hut, which the nazis did not know of, to recuperate.  However a hut trapped him in the hut, without assistance for several days, and he almost died.  His goal was to make Sweden.  He had to cross a plain, and he set out with the promise of men meeting him.  However a bad storm trapped him.  He was placed behind a rock which provided some protection form the storm.  The men left him, thinking the men would come to get him.  However they did not come, they were delayed by the Nazis who were looking for Ballsrud.  he was buried in the snow.  All of his toes froze.  He did self amputations with his knife and brandy as anesthetic.  He was able to breath under the snow because it was fresh and not compacted.  Groonvold again found him where he had been left.  Baalsrud could not travel of his own accord.  He was placed in a sled and taken across the field to Sweden.  They had to cross a dangerous lake (ice not thick enough) as they were chased by Nazis.  They eventually made it to the men they were looking for who were to take him to Sweden as the migrated their herd of reindeer. 

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