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snow treasure

Post  abetc55 on Tue 12 Jan 2010 - 19:21

I am trying to find information about the book Snow Treasure which is about the transport of gold out of Norway by children on sleds. First, is the story true and if so how much of the account is true? Are there any internet sites where I can get accurate first hand accounts fron the actual participants? Any other sites where I can get more information about the event? Thanks.


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Re: snow treasure

Post  AltforNorge on Tue 12 Jan 2010 - 20:38

But, it i a good story Laughing

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Snow Treasure

Post  Bob Pearson on Wed 13 Jan 2010 - 0:29

The story by Marie McSwigan is fiction, but very loosely based on fact. The real gold transport was carried out by 1 officer, 2 NCOs and 30 soldiers of the Norwegian Army; the leader of the transport was Fredrik Haslund, an engineer who had close ties to the Norwegian Government.

Basically, the majority of the gold had already been shipped abroad prior to the German invasion of Norway (April 9th 1940). This was, with amazing foresight, instigated by the head of Norges Bank - Nicolai Rygg. The Germans invaded several points in Norway and initially were very successful, however with the sinking of the Blucher by the Norwegian soldiers of Oscarsborg Fort (led by Colonel Eriksen) in the Drøbak Narrows, delayed the taking of Oslo. With this window of opportunity the Norwegians managed to get the rest of the gold holdings out of Oslo, along with the Royal Family and government. The gold was taken to Lillehammer by trucks and kept there for some days, but with the Germans making rapid advances inland the descision was taken to move the gold to Aandalsnes for transportation to the UK by the Royal Navy. 200 boxes of gold were taken by HMS Galatea. The remaining gold was then moved to Molde where the vast majority of it was taken by HMS Glasgow, but whilst under attack from the Luftwaffe she had to leave some of the gold reserves behind. This was then taken by various boats to Tromsø whereupon it was loaded on to HMS Enterprise and taken to the UK.

All of the gold was initially stored in the Bank of England, save for a small amount which was retained by Norwegian officials. The gold was later shipped out to Canada and America where it remained (apart from what was used) until recent times.

Marie McSwigan's story focuses on children rescuing the gold and hauling the metal off by sled. This of course would have been physically impossible, but it is an interesting story all the same and fun to read. The book is widely read in American schools and is often considered to be factual, which is catergorically not the case.

Currently, there are two books that have been written specifically about the gold transport. Both are Norwegian: Per Arnt Harnes: 'Gulltransporten - dramaet dag for dag', Romsdal sogelag, 2006
and Asbjørn Øksendal: 'Gulltransporten', Aschehoug, Oslo, 1974.

Another book has recently been completed on the gold transport and is currently at the publishers - Dinamo Forlag (Oslo) and is due to be published in the spring. The book focuses on all aspects of the transport with new and previously unpublished documents and information. I will mail the forum with the full title and release date when known. Again, the book will be published in Norwegian.

Finally, it would be selfish not to mention that many others, civillians mostly, assisted where they could to make the transport successful. Often they knew not what the task was, but that it was important and without their generous help the task of transporting the gold would have been nigh on impossible. The end result was that Norway was able to finance her way throughout the war.

In Molde there is a small museum dedicated to the story of the gold transport and at the Rica Hotel in Molde is the 'Glasgow Salon' - a very pleasant and most informative room dedicated to the sailors of HMS Glasgow who helped save the King and the gold

Hope the above is of some help.

Kind regards,

Bob Pearson - England
Bob Pearson

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