A few years ago the Norwegian author Trude Teige wrote a book called “Mormor danset i regnet”. This book´s storyline deals with the treatment and situation of the Norwegian “tyskerjentene” in Norway in the 1940s. During her research for this book Trude met Anna Deichmann, one of the few “tyskerjentene” who were still alive.
Since Anna’s story moved me very much when I heard it for the first time, I would like to share it with you here. And, at the same time draw your attention to the wonderful book “Mormor danset i regnet”, which is set in my hometown Demmin.
By researching this book a bit more I also had the honour of meeting the wonderful Trude Teige.
The below article is therefore based on the events the author Trude Teige talked about when I met her for the first time here in Bergen in 2018.
Ragnar Ulstein is a Norwegian journalist and former resistance fighter, who has written several books about the war in Norway. His influence and his recommendation to write about the “Tyskerjentene” resulted in Trude Teige using this topic later in two of her books.
“Tyskerjentene” — “the German whores” are the Norwegian women who had lost their Norwegian citizenship in WW2 and were expelled from society because they had fallen in love with a German soldier.
One of Trude`s biggest resources for her research was Ragnar`s archive in the local history museum of Akershus Fortress in Oslo. Especially the recordings in it. In the 1970`s Ragnar had conducted interviews with Norwegian “Tyskerjenter” and their husbands in Germany. These had never published. Nobody had been interested in them or evaluated them until then.
With huge determination Trude then began to research the topic of the “Tyskerjentene” and was so taken by the stories of these women that she would publish her first novel on the subject in 2012. A thriller called “Svik” — or “Betrayal” in English, which was also translated in German and Russian.
Through a radio interview after the publication of Trude´s book “Svik”, the then 89-year-old Anna Deichmann became aware of Trude and her interest in the “Tyskerjentene”. She contacted Trude and asked her for a meeting in Nordfjordeid, the place she lived in in the Sogn og Fjordane district here in Norway. She wanted to tell Trude about her own story, which turned out to be closely related to this topic.
Trude accepted this invitation and met Anna. This Anna, which will later play an important role in her novel “Mormor danset i regnet”.
Anna Deichmann was originally from Vadsø (Finnmark) in the very north of Norway, but moved southerly and served as a waitress for German officers in a regiment in Storsteinnes in the Balsfjord kommune near Tromsø. There she met Alfred in 1943, or Fred as she used to call him, a German soldier. Both fell in love and when peace was agreed in 1945, they got married. Anna followed him to Germany.
Sounds like a love story if summarised like this. But there is much more to it.
The wedding picture of Anna and Fred hung on the wallI in her apartment in Nordfjordeid. Anna had also kept the many photo albums with pictures of their life together.
She was a good storyteller. Spoke a broad Vadsø dialect, although she had lived in Hannover (Germany) for almost 70 years of her life.
After a while she got up and disappeared into the bedroom.
When she returned, she held a model ship in her hands.
“ Do you see what that is?” She asked.
“ Well,” answered Trude, “ a warship?”
“ It’s the Blücher,” she said, placing her index finger in the center of the ship. “ And here, that’s Fred.”
Alfred Deichmann, a German soldier, had come with the Blücher to Norway. This warship that shot at in Drøbaksundet, the fjord infront of Oslo and sank there.
Alfred managed to swim ashore with the last bit of strength he had in his body.
Anna spoke warmly about her husband:
“ I could have not asked for a better man, no matter where I would travel, he was the one I wanted to be with.”
After Fred´s death in the 1970s Anna remained alone in Germany and decided to return to Norway years after.
Norway was after all still her home. She had always considered herself a Norwegian, although she officially was not.
The Norwegian government had introduced a law in 1945that resulted in all Norwegian women who, like Anna, had married German soldiers, lost their Norwegian citizenship.
When Anna married Alfred, her Norwegian passport was thus invalid and she had to apply for an entry visa from the Foreign Office. So for many years if she wanted to travel to Norway to visit her daughter, she had to apply to do so.
This permission was not always given to her.
Here is the excerpt from the conversation Trude and Anna had, when they met:
“The old lady and one of the few surviving “Tyskerjenter”, spoke meticulously about her past in Norway and Germany. She showed Trude photos of her German husband Alfred. She reported how she was forcibly evicted from Norway and arrived to a completely destroyed and bombed Germany.
Now Anna had returned to Norway after almost 70 years in Germany.
Anna was not ashamed because she had married a German soldier. He was the man she loved, and when she talked about him, Trude could see the 19-year-old Anna in her sparkling eyes.
Anna told Trude that Alfred had come to Norway with the “Blücher”.
“I am such a lucky person. I mean, he survived,” she said, looking at Trude with a smile.
But that smile vanished when she showed Trude the Norwegian passport that had only recently been reissued for her.
Only then did Trude see the overwhelming sadness, powerlessness — and also that little bit of bitterness.
“I’m good enough now,” she said, before she asked Trude immediately,
“What does the word “ “tyskerjente” actually mean? Does that really mean whore?”
“But I’m not a whore,” she said firmly.
Anna became Trude’s inspiration for the novel “Mormor danset i rain” and even if the characters in the book are by no means identical, they are based on Anna’s life.
Thus the novel would probably never have been created without Anna.
Anna sadly passed away 3 months after meeting Trude.
Originally published at https://www.mikkelstante.com.