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Escapes from Forced Deployment to Sweden

23/03/2021

Hard work, harsh climatic conditions, poor security and a reluctance to serve the Germans have led many to be forced to escape. Only individuals were released legally, especially by dismissal for serious health reasons. Several dozen took advantage of the holidays they were forced to flee after half a year of work.

Another way to desert from work was to escape directly in Norway. The forced deployments could count on the active help of the Norwegian population, who could not provide them with longer-term shelter. However, the relatively close border with neutral Sweden has become a great attraction. Some disembarked on Swedish territory from a train or ship in an unguarded moment, transporting them to new jobs on the Norwegian-Finnish border, but such an opportunity arose for only a few individuals. Most crossed the border on foot, which was a very risky business. The Germans guarded the Norwegian-Swedish border along its entire length, and the fugitives were threatened with severe punishment if they were detained. Although the difficult terrain made it easier to hide, the march, especially in winter conditions, placed great physical demands on the daredevil, and sometimes it was literally about life.

Not all escapes were successful. Some fugitives failed to cross the border, either running out of energy or getting lost. If they were lucky, they returned and the Germans did not know of their intention. However, some were captured and subsequently sent to a disciplinary camp in Falstad for an attempt to escape.

The first escapes to Sweden took place as early as 1942, but in the following year they were rather exceptions. Most of the conscripts decided to flee across the border in 1944. Memoirs and diary entries of the conscripts show that after a long job they were exhausted, and in the escape they sought a way out of long, stereotypical and hard work in deteriorating conditions. Undoubtedly, however, the general international situation also played a role, when it was already clear that Germany would lose the war.

Forced deployments usually fled across borders individually or in pairs. However, the mass flight of ten Funke & Co. employees who were deployed in the construction of the railway in the Mo i Rana areas is also documented. They deserted on December 5, 1944 and reported to the Swedish authorities (for reasons not yet known, however, the Todt Organization did not record the date of their escape until March 26, 1945).

The file of Czech workers of the Todt organization in Norway includes data on a total of 30 registered escapes. Many other such cases have been documented from other materials. We now have confirmation that of all Czech forced laborers in Norway, registered in the Todt organization's file, 57 people fled to Sweden.

 

List of Czechoslovaks who fled to Sweden:

Surname Name Year Place of birth transit to Sweden according to OT card files transit to Sweden according to other documents
Anderle František 1921 Holašovice, okres České Budějovice 29.5.1944 ?
Bastl Rudolf 1922 Řevnice, okres Praha-venkov escape not registerd ?
Bayer Václav 1922 Bernartice nad Odrou, okres Nový Jičín escape not registerd IX.44
Bedřich František 1923 Karlín, okres Kyjov 26.3.1945 5.12.1944
Berný Josef 1922 Vysoké Veselí, okres Nový Bydžov escape not registerd 3.4.1944
Blaha Miroslav 1922 Crhov, okres Boskovice 12.5.1944
Brada Miroslav 1922 Holice, okres Olomouc 6.12.1944
Böhm Emerich 1922 Brno 26.3.1945 5.12.1944
Buchnar Karel 1921 Brno 26.3.1945 1944-12-05
Buriánek Miroslav 1923 Praha escape not registerd 1945-02-06
Čejka Miloslav 1910 Kolín, okres Kolín escape not registerd 1944-08-
Čepa Antonín 1921 Bratislava 26.3.1945 1944-12-04
Daňhel Jindřich 1916 Brno 26.3.1945 1944-12-05
Ficnar Eduard 1922 Hamburk-Altona, Německo (přísl. Zábřeh, okres Zábřeh ) escape not registerd 1945-01-12
Genzer Mojmír 1923 Tichá, okres Místek escape not registerd 1943-09-07
Houska Václav 1921 Žehušice, okres Čáslav escape not registerd
Houska Vojtěch 1919 Tučapy, okres Tábor 20.5.1944 1944-05-19
Chmelař Oldřich 1923 Koryčany, okres Kyjov 26.3.1945 1944-12-02
Jansa Jan 1923 Cizkrajov, okres Slavonice 26.2.1944 1944-02-24
Janů Peter 1919 Rovensko, okres Zábřeh 24.9.1944
Jetelina Miroslav 1924 Hodonín 8.10.1944
Jirásko Ladislav 1922 Nová Paka escape not registerd 1944-07-
Juchelka Jindřich 1921 Svinov, okres Bílovec 24.9.1944 1944-09-25
Klč František 1921 Břeclav, okres Hodonín escape not registerd 1944-10-01
Kolář Karel 1922 Michálkovice, okres Frýdek escape not registerd 1944-
Kordina Petr 1902 Olešnice, okres Trhové Sviny escape not registerd 1944-09-
Kowarik Franz 1914 Vídeň, Rakousko 10.9.1944
Kozler Václav 1920 Zderaz, okres Podbořany escape not registerd 1944-08-20
Kučera Josef 1922 Brno-Židenice 5.8.1944 1944-08-05
Kukla Antonín 1922 Brno 25.9.1944
Kupčík Karel 1920 Moravská Ostrava 24.9.1944 1944-09-25
Matuška Josef 1920 Rodov, okres Dvůr Králové nad Labem 5.9.1943
Mlčoch Zdeněk 1923 Český Rudolec, okres Dačice escape not registerd 1944-07-20
Müller František 1912 Hrabenov, okres Šumperk escape not registerd 1944-10-14
Musil Milan 1922 Vanovice, okres Boskovice escape not registerd 1944-11-11
Novotný Karel 1923 Kobylí, okres Brno 30.12.1944 1944-12-05
Nowotny Boris 1922 Brno 25.9.1944
Odehnal Ludvík 1921 Brno 26.3.1945 1944-12-05
Orság Rostislav 1922 Žádovice, okres Kyjov 15.7.1944 1944-07-
Ožana Miroslav 1923 Michálkovice, okres Frýdek escape not registerd 1944-
Pačes Vilém 1911 Vyžlovka, okres Český Brod escape not registerd 1944-04-
Pilnáček František 1920 Bohutice, okres Moravský Krumlov escape not registerd 1943-09-
Pišan Jan 1904 Brno-Židenice 26.3.1945 1944-12-05
Plavec Jaroslav 1914 Kněžice, okres Jihlava escape not registerd 1944-08-06
Polák Lev 1923 Opava, okres Opava escape not registerd 1944-08-20
Romany Václav 1920 Jičín, okres Jičín escape not registerd 1945-02-03
Ságner Josef 1922 Kyjov, okres Kyjov 26.3.1945 1944-12-02
Schettel Rudolf 1919 Loděnice, okres Mikulov escape not registerd 1945-02-05
Sirotek Jaroslav 1922 Solopisky 5.8.1944
Sluka Antonín 1906 Syrovín, okres Kyjov 16.9.1944 1944-
Šindelář Jan 1910 Brno escape not registerd 1945
Šťastný Václav 1921 Polná, okres Německý Brod escape not registerd 1944-09-20
Šustr Karel 1921 Křetín, okres Boskovice 5.8.1944
Václavínek Ludvík 1926 Ostravice, okres Místek escape not registerd 1944-08-
Vaněk Antonín 1922 Bělice, okres Benešov escape not registerd 1944-04-03
Voler Josef 1921 Líně, okres Stříbro 5.9.1943 1943-09-
Zoubek Franz 1923 26.3.1945

The names highlighted in red have a click-through on the runaway's story.

 

Prepared by dr. Zdenko Maršálek.

 

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