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Letter 1 Published in the Los Angeles Times

Freda Isaksen

I was awakened in the middle of the night by the noise. Whish, switch, whir. I rushed to look out the window and saw the star filled sky blackened by low flying propeller driven planes. I called our brother who lived in the center of town and he told us that soldiers wearing swastikas were marching in the streets. I turned on the wireless and heard the announcement that our peaceful country Norway was invaded and now a part of the German Reich.

We realized that our lives were at stake and that we must flee. Two days later I left my home and country and everything we owned and crossed the border into neutral Sweden. The only thing I carried was my unborn child. I did not know that I was on the last train that was allowed to leave the country. My husband followed when it became evident that Norway could not fight the mighty enemy. He crossed the country on skis and passed the controlled border illegally, a crime punishable by immediate death, if caught.

We did not realize then that we would never return to our home to live but would emigrate to America.


  1. See Freda’s Autobiography and her story Turning Point in My Life for more details.

Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at

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