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Unconquered: Stories of Nazi Resistance in Occupied Europe

Unconquered: Stories of Nazi Resistance in Occupied Europe

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Unconquered: Stories of Nazi Resistance in Occupied Europe

Länge:
204 Seiten
3 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Dec 6, 2019
ISBN:
9781839741234
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

The Unconquered, first published in 1942, is a dramatic account of the underground struggle against the Nazis in occupied Europe in World War II. Author Robert Carse (1902-1971) describes resistance activities in a number of countries, including Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Based on true incidents and characters, the events are presented in a semi-fictionalized manner, and well-convey the bravery and determination of the people of the occupied nations in their quest for freedom from Nazi tyranny.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Dec 6, 2019
ISBN:
9781839741234
Format:
Buch

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Unconquered - Robert Carse

© EUMENES Publishing 2019, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Publisher’s Note

Although in most cases we have retained the Author’s original spelling and grammar to authentically reproduce the work of the Author and the original intent of such material, some additional notes and clarifications have been added for the modern reader’s benefit.

We have also made every effort to include all maps and illustrations of the original edition the limitations of formatting do not allow of including larger maps, we will upload as many of these maps as possible.

THE UNCONQUERED

Stories of the Nazi Resistance in Occupied Europe

By

ROBERT CARSE

Unconquered was originally published in 1942 as The Unconquered: Europe Fights Back, by Robert M. McBride & Company, Inc., New York.

• • •

To

Rudolph Leonhard and my other colleagues imprisoned at the Camp of Le Vernet d’Ariège, who have always put liberty before everything else in life.

• • •

"In a dozen famous ancient states, now prostrate under the Nazi yoke, the masses of the people—all classes and creeds—await the hour of liberation when they, too, will once again be able to play their part and strike their blows like men. That hour will strike and its solemn peal will proclaim that night is past and that the dawn has come."—Winston Churchill, in his speech to the American Congress on December 26, 1941.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS 4

I — NORWAY 5

II — HOLLAND 17

III — BELGIUM 27

IV — FRANCE 38

V — SPAIN 57

VI — GREECE 65

VII — YUGOSLAVIA 74

VIII — CZECHOSLOVAKIA 89

IX — POLAND 100

AUTHOR’S NOTE 118

REQUEST FROM THE PUBLISHER 119

I — NORWAY

THERE is an epic story of struggle in Europe today. It is the story of the fight of the small, simple people of the Nazi-occupied countries against their oppressors: it is the V-campaign. The fight is new, but the motive behind it is old as man himself—the desire for freedom. These who fight today have learned one lesson: that life lacking freedom has no worth. So in their fight for liberation they give their lives daily, nightly, refused all mercy by their enemies and expecting none.

Some of those who fight for freedom today have treated it lightly in the past, accepted it as part of their lives, like the air they breathed. Others have treasured it always, and fought for it without ceasing. But whatever the past, the present has brought recognition of the necessity for unity with all who love liberty and will strike back against oppression.

The people of Europe, trapped by the rush of the Nazi conquest and often by the betrayal of their own leaders, have been forced to seek deep within the fundamental fastnesses of man for solution of the destruction that has come upon them. For a time they were locked in an inner battle, forced to make the inexorable choice between a deadly dangerous fight for freedom and lash-driven slavery. The answer was delivered. The oppressed chose, and freedom was the answer. Today, and until the day that freedom is again theirs, they fight, to make a story heroic beyond imagining, but rooted in the truth of blood, tears, sweat, starvation, and immeasurable sacrifice.

The people of Europe fight, and among them are the Norwegians, a vigorous and sturdy nation. Theirs was a new country, but one of ancient traditions of lasting courage. Along the rocky reaches of their fjords, out in the vast hammering of the gales off their coasts and on the fir-set slopes of their mountains and the fields of their farms they took their living. Existence was never easy for them; the seas, the winds, the snows gave them a native hardiness and forthright character. Small wonder that when their freedom was assailed, they must needs be overcome by stratagem.

The hatred of the Norwegians is proud and crystal clear. They lost to interior treachery conceived by a small and corrupt class of their own nation. Too late, they recognized that their principal opponents were those they had looked upon as knavish, and possible traitors, but also as weaklings and fools.

The Nazis took their capital city within a period of hours, the country within the space of a few days. But the free folk of Norway did not consider freedom as entirely lost. They knew now who and where the traitors were; they tasted the savage terror of the Nazi rule. From the mountains, from the sea, and in the cities and hamlets the underground fighters began their struggle. The struggle is bitter, dark, bloody, but the Norwegians of free will have courage for all of that.

The people of Europe fight, and among them are the Norwegians...

...They had been waiting so long crouched in the ruins of the farmhouse above the fjord north of Namsos that the sight of the British destroyer as it slid gray, silent, and swift through the white swirling of the snow at dawn was the end of an almost unbelievable tension. Get ready, Hjalmar whispered. Now we go.

He came down from where he had rested prone on top of the cellar wall and touched Anna Toht’s shoulder. You know your job? he asked her.

With the wounded until we meet the Commandos, Anna answered. Then she rose, numb from the cold and trembling, to help lift the men who lay on the crude birch-sapling stretchers.

There were six wounded men: three British, two French, and the Russian who had escaped from the prisoner gang at Narvik. They made no sound as they were carried out and down the slope, although their pain was intense, but gripped the stretcher sides, staring at the destroyer and the town.

As the stretchers moved toward the beach, the German sentries along the beach, and on the bluff above, gave the alarm. Whistles screeched at the barracks in midtown, then a siren sounded. Still lying well out, the destroyer spoke with gunfire and the German land batteries answered from each side of the steep-walled, winding fjord.

Now the beetle-shaped Commando landing barges could be seen, blunt, dark, moving toward the snowy shore. Minutes later the silver slash of a Very rocket told that the British had landed, and the destroyer’s shells fell in increasing salvos among the wooden German barracks, some of which caught fire. Their flame shot up in ominous scarlet backed by wind-caught smoke. Sparks from the fires drifted lurid across the slanting street.

Anna Toht became calm, her strides steady in the crusted snow as she saw the British Commandos coming up the street, certain and swift in their movements. Here was an ally who knew how and when to fight. The Commandos wore helmets that were flatter than the Germans’, short jackets, trousers pulled close at the ankles. One of them, among the first up the street, had a bagpipe and played it as he advanced. The others carried automatic rifles, pistols, and grenades.

The Germans swarmed out of the houses to meet them, and Anna Toht and the other Norwegian girls hunched beside their wounded at the corner of a house—watching, immobile, but whispering words of hope and eagerness, asking for victory. The men of the Free Norway Corps, following Hjalmar, dodged forward from house to house to join the Commandos.

Most of the Germans had still been in bed at the time of the alarm. Thick flannel underwear bulked about their legs and buttocks, and they looked ludicrous, like oversize and startled children. But they were resolute, armed fighters.

Automatics ripped into a high whine, a metallic yammer in the street. Grenades arced to where the Germans ran from the blazing buildings, their forms black and big against the pattern of flame. A Commando swiftly entered the doorway of a house that had German lettering above the portal. He came out staggering, his pistol down, his hands pressed to his body.

This house was Nazi headquarters, and picked Nazi guards were in there. Now they emerged, fully dressed and armed, shooting at the tall Commando on his knees in the snow.

But the Commando had a grenade in his blouse-like coat. Pulling the pin, he made a sidewise, jerking swing and pitched the grenade at the Nazis’ feet. It roared a great, red-cored blast. Anna Toht heard the whickering flurry of the fragments, saw that the Nazis were no longer there and that the Commando officer lay still, dead. You’re dreaming this, she thought.

In the street Commandos charged the Germans with bayonet and grenade. Men grappled together, dragged themselves free, rose, fired, bayoneted, fell again. It was a scene too swift and furious for Anna Toht’s full comprehension. All she knew was that the Commandos were slowly clearing the street, that Hjalmar and the Free Norwegians were moving on the Germans from the rear, while around them timbers in the blazing houses buckled and dropped into the street. Men scrambled under and over the debris—Commandos and the Free Norway men.

The Germans who remained alive put up their hands as prisoners.

Hjalmar came back up the street to the girls with their wounded, a powerful man in the uniform of the Commandos at his side. He pointed to Anna Toht and the rest. They go with you, Hjalmar ordered in the English he had been practicing for months. They’re the lot for the school.

Good, the British officer said, unsmiling. But we’ll have to move fast. The destroyer can’t wait much longer under the fire of those batteries.

Commandos carried the wounded down to the beach and the barges, moving at the double so that the girls were forced to run. Shells from the German batteries were falling on the beach among the barges. The people of the town stood along the lower part of the street to thank the Commandos, who had given them cigarettes, food, and chocolate as they landed. Some of the older women were crying for joy, and the sallow, skinny children munched furiously at the chocolate.

We thought you were the Americans, come to save us, a shawled old woman said. My son’s in America—Racine, Wisconsin. Can’t you stay with us?

Later, the British commanding officer told her, counting the barges that the German shells had left and those he had to send in them. He turned and spoke quickly to Hjalmar. I can’t take your lot, I just can’t risk it. We’ll get shelled out there in the bay, and they’ll drown. My men are picked, specially trained; I’ve orders to bring them back before anyone else.

I understand, Hjalmar said. Your orders are right. We were supposed to help you in this action, then embark our wounded and the others if we could. I’ll find a boat for them, some sort of sailing craft, and they’ll get out to England. Good luck, and goodbye.

German shells put up menacing black columns of water as the gray-painted, flat, high-sided barges headed clumsily out upon the waters of the fjord. The crack and roar and smash of explosions sounded all around them, but the barge pilots were Norwegians, fishermen who in the early days of the war had made their way to England. Experts at the helm, they zigzagged the barges back and forth between the shell bursts. Waiting sailors sent the davit falls outboard as the barges neared the destroyer. Deck guns slammed back at the shore batteries while cargo nets were lowered and the Commandos swarmed up them and aboard as the falls were hooked in the barges. The destroyer got under way while the men still swarmed the nets, the barges swinging inboard from davits. She held on, white spray widening at the bow, into the brassy rise of the sun where the fjord gave onto the open sea. The German batteries were silent now, out-ranged. The British were safe.

Anna Toht felt her hands sweating inside her worn mittens as she glanced from the distant, slight shape of the destroyer to Hjalmar. It would have been impossible to get the wounded aboard that way, she said. I’m glad we didn’t try. But, what do we do, Hjalmar? What happens to us now?

We go back up to the farmhouse ruin where we’re safe a little while longer, Hjalmar answered. His hand was strong, reassuring on her shoulder. Then we’ll steal a boat and send you people on your way to England.

Which boat, and how? Anna Toht persisted. Her nervous glance was on the five wounded men. Their faces were tight and gaunt with despair, their eyes were shut. None of them moved or tried to speak. It had been their one hope, to get out to England. They needed warmth, food, doctors, a hospital. Here for months they had lived in caves or in the ruins of burned farms and the open forest. Hope had kept them alive, and now it was gone.

The German artillery outfit over across the fjord has a boat, Hjalmar said in his steady voice. They use it to come from the battery to the town for their supplies. It’s a fishing boat, stout and sail-rigged. They use it rather than the road. Tonight we should be able to get that. But our job now is to carry our folks back to the mountain. The Nazis from the posts around the fjord will be in the town in a few minutes. Are you ready, Anna?

Yes, Anna said. She moved in unison with him to lift one of the stretchers. I’m sorry I got discouraged. Hjalmar smiled. Freedom, he said, isn’t an easy thing to win back, once you’ve lost it.

They stayed quietly out of sight and well hidden on the mountainside during the rest of the day, for Nazi patrols came into the town from the shore batteries and the interior. The radio masts wrecked by the Commandos were raised again and the swastika hung on the pole in front of the new headquarters. Then late in the afternoon a bugle blew, the notes faint to those on the mountain.

A declaration from the Nazi commander to the people, one of the Free Corps men said. I know. I was in Stavanger a few months ago when the same thing took place.

Quiet, Hjalmar ordered. He fingered the action of his rifle, lips drawn back in a rigid expression.

There was a volley of rifle-fire from the town, then another, and all the Free Corps men except Hjalmar cursed. Watching them, Anna Toht understood. A dozen or more of the townsfolk had just paid with their lives for this morning’s action.

Anna put her head down upon her snow-covered knees and soundlessly wept. Norway, Norway, where was the end, where the victory? People could stand no more of misery, of starvation, of criminal, brutal death. Her country struggled like a drowning man, always deeper, with each descent less hope. Despair and exhaustion combined in her and she lay back motionless against the fire-cracked stone of the farmhouse wall, asleep.

Hjalmar brought her awake. He had food: herrings, a piece of potato, a scrap of bread. She ate at once without a word while he sat watching her. They were alone; the others had left the cellar, and it was dark, chill with the night wind.

About the boat, she asked, and England?

He moved his big body and stood to look down at the fjord. The others are on their way to the southern side of the fjord. They will wait among the bunch of pines beyond the big rock where the road turns. That’s right beyond the German battery. You and I, if you’re willing, must go down past the battery to the shore and the boat.

I’m willing, Anna said. Of course, I’m willing. But have we a chance to get the boat, Hjalmar?

I’ve been down there, Hjalmar said. Just came back. The boat can be reached. Only one sentry guards it, between the battery and the shore. There’s food aboard, and water which they keep for themselves if they should want to sail out along the fjord to the other villages. We have more for the people who will go with you. But to get the boat away from the beach, the sentry must be taken care of, and that’s your job. Tell the man anything you want, but make him arrest you and take you with him towards the battery.

How will I get away?

I’ll see that you get away. Hjalmar’s teeth showed glinting in his wind-brown face. You’re going to Commando school in England, not to a Nazi prison or firing-squad. We count a lot on you, Anna. You’re the strongest and the smartest of the girls, and the one to navigate the boat to England.

But I’m not strong, Anna said. Not as much as that.

You will be, Hjalmar said. He gave her his hand and brought her to her feet.

Without sound they walked down the mountainside and then through the pine clumps along the snowed-over road flanking the

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