Liberated 1945

I was there.

Klara Tixell and her family were eventually liberated in 1945. At liberation, they were brought by the so-called white busses to Sweden.

Klara was 15 years old when she left Sweden and returned to Denmark. She experiences many difficulties in finding a way to lead a "normal life".

Klara Tixell (1929), Denmark

Klara Tixell (1929), Denmark

Consider here how Klara describes the liberation and her arrival in Sweden

The Liberation

Klara talks about the liberation

1) Listen to Klara as she talks about the liberation. Read the Red Cross report on the event. Then answer the questions.

Red Cross Report

”The Scandinavian Jews in Theresienstadt are fetched on the 12th of April 35 buses departed from Friedrichsruh to fetch the Scandinavian Jews in Theresienstadt, located to the northwest of Prague. Captain Harald Folke was head of the operation. On the road to Theresienstadt the column took care of 400 Frenchmen that had been released by the Germans from Neuengamme.

The plan was to leave the Frenchmen in Flossenburg but when they got there it turned out that the situation in the camp was too chaotic. Therefore it was decided that the French should be brought to Theresienstadt, where they were subsequently picked up and taken to Switzerland.

The Danish physician John Holm and Obersturmbahnführer dr. Rennau put a lot of effort into arranging the transports to Theresienstadt. Dr. Rennau explained that although Himmler had given permission to the retrieval of the Danish Jews, there was a massive resistance among the subordinates. The head of the security service, Kaltenbrunner, strongly opposed to the transport and didn't really want to allow the retrieval of the Scandinavian Jews. In the end, however, he authorized to bring them out of the camp. The column with its 423 passengers reached Lübeck on the 16th of April. From there they were taken to Malmö, where they arrived two days later. In fact, they were all Danish Jews. The majority of the Norwegian Jews had been murdered or died shortly after the deportation to the camp. Only a few of them were still alive.”

”According to our calculations the Bernadotte expedition rescued about 15 000 people from the concentration camps, including the last inmates that were transferred out of Germany. Just about fifty percent of these, around 7 800, were the Scandinavians.”

  • 1a. Compare how Klara describes the transport with the description in the Red Cross report. What are the similarities and differences between the two accounts?

  • 1b. What did the Germans plan to do with the camp inmates on May 10th?

  • 1c. On 17 April the bus transport with Klara and her family arrived at Padborg at the Danish border. From there, she and the others were transported through Denmark and then by boat to Sweden, where they stayed during the first period of time. What catches your attention the most in Klara's story about the liberation and the first time in freedom?

  • 1d. How was the reunion between Klara and Kamma? Describe Klara's feelings.

The Beginning of a New Life

Klara talks about what it was like for her to try to adapt to a "normal life".

2)  Listen to Klara as she talks about "the beginning of a new life". Answer the questions.

  • 2a. Klara was 15 years old when she left Sweden and returned to Denmark. What was it like for her trying to adapt to "normal life"?

  • 2b. What difficulties did Klara and the family members face?

  • 2c. Klara tells that the family was not offered any help when they returned, and she felt disappointed. What did she miss the most?

  • 2d. In what way did Klara's life change when she left home and started at the university?

The End of War and Liberation

A slideshow about the end of war, liberation and aftermath.

Extra Material