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Residents in Nämpnäs recalls

Evald Sjökvist:
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Caravans and buses came along the road Österfjärdsvägen. They could turn from another road onto the road Packarvägen and drive around, so it did not get crowded down there, Evald Sjökvist at Norrgårdsbacken in Nämpnäs recalls. Those who did not witness the event can hardly imagine how large-scale it all was. Many years earlier the so called steamship wharf had been built in Nämpnäs and among other things a salt storage, and there was now a barge from Kaskisten Puutavara there with a towboat. The army could obtain watercraft and means of transport if needed.

The buses drove as near the wharf as possible. Young and older people got off – children and women and whole families. On the wharf luggage was piled up and so the barge was loaded later. There were so large amounts that it looked like piles of wood or pulpwood. Heavy cases, one and a half meter or two meters, were also carried forth.

The ”guys” did nothing. They just stood there with their briefcases and watched. The soldiers were the ones working, Evald recalls. Karl Söder’s house was taken as headquarters in Nämpnäs – Söder himself was in America. And those who rented the house, Augusta and Anton Widman were forced out of there.

-They said that he was not allowed to take the phone, but nevertheless, Anton took it under his arm when he left and the newcomers moved in instead – so said his wife, Evald recalls.

Far out in Österfjärden on deeper water in ”Rännon” (Ljusörsrännon) a bigger boat lay anchored, and there the towboat and the barge went, and made many trips. Some fishermen also assisted  – at least Edwin Håkans, Valter Sjöberg and Ivar Öhman were said to have been engaged and transported luggage and people in their fishing boats. They are now deceased. (The chief of police Antoni from Helsinki is said to have been transported on one of the boats).

Legal traffic

- They went on their way to Sweden – they were probably afraid that there would be large ”after-claims” from the Russians, says Evald about the opinion people in Nämpnäs had about what was going on.

In the book Bygdeminnen från Nämpnäs a VBL-interview with coast guard Gunnar Skomars is quoted. On September 21, 1944, he checked with the military staff in Vaasa, if the loading of S/S Maininki with ”hospital equipment” was legal and the following morning he received the answer: ”The case is legal traffic”.

- Fishermen are said to have received up to 40 000 Finnish Marks per person to transport people and luggage to ships outside Ljusören.

The weather was calm and beautiful, while everything was going on here in Nämpnäs. But immediately when they had crossed over there was a ”terrible” storm. They had the weather forces on their side, Evald Sjökvist notes.

Those who transported in private boats must have been paid well, Evald thinks. Otherwise, they would not have gone, because they did not want to help fugitives.

As early as spring 1944 there were people who fled to Sweden from the war, among others a person called ”Elis”. When he once later met sheriff Blomqvist, the latter meant that only ”ruffians” fled to Sweden.

- Gentlemen have become ruffians lately, Elias was about to answer.

But he dared not, as the police chief represented the authorities.

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Elna Andersson:

- I cannot understand that anyone wanted to live there. It was primitive. Water had to be brought from the well and there was no real WC.

- Only wooden, says Elna Andersson about a family that came to live for a while in Filip Andersson’s cottage.

The husband was in military uniform, and he came many times during the summer. (Was probably a regular from the armed forces with the task of planning Operation Stella Polaris). For a few months his wife and an aproximately 8-year-old daughter lived in the cottage before their departure for Sweden.

Elsa herself had a potato patch that she used to visit and thus she came into contact with the family. She thinks that Karl Ivar Bäckström was one of those who with their boats assisted on behalf of the local population. A person from Nämpnäs who once paid a visit to the staff in Söder’s house, saw that there were lots of weapons along the sink.

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