In 2015 the President of the Norwegian Red Cross, Sven Mollekleiv, protested about the treatment of about 450 “Eastern Front Sisters” who had been sentenced as traitors after the Second World War. These were trained nurses and volunteers who worked with the German Red Cross on the Eastern Front.
Nobody should be punished for giving medical help on either side of the front line in time of war. To the injured soldiers needing care in various field hospitals, the Eastern Front Sisters seemed like angels. However, because the Norwegian legal system regarded their service as assisting the enemy in time of war, they were tried and sentenced. They were deprived of their civil rights for ten years and had to pay back what they had earned in the service. In addition to this, they suffered lifelong scorn.
In this book, Vegard Sæther tries to cast light on the Sisters of the Eastern Front – where they came from, how old they were when they signed up for this service, what motivated them to serve as nurses at the front, where and how did they serve, and what awaited them when the war was over?
This is an unusual story about the role of women in the Second World war. By drawing attention to the consequences of the war-time stories, and especially relating what was taboo, it can stimulate debate about a theme with which many people can identify.
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