Doverstorp


About ten kilometres south of Finspång is Doverstorp and there on a promontory at Lake Glan lay between 1944 and 1946 a refugee camp. The first refugees came from Estonia in the autumn of 1944 when they fled the Soviet Red army that was jerking west. The camp quickly expanded and consisted of about a hundred barracks and reminded more of a smaller city than a camp. In addition to residential barracks, there were also dining rooms, waterworks, laundry rooms, bathhouses, camp expedition and employment services. Many of the refugees who came to Doverstorp got work in. Finspång and Norrköping. The standard at the camp was easiest possible and neither water nor electricity was provided. Water was collected from tap taps that were scattered over the camp area and the barracks were heated with the help of stoves. The camp was not fenced either. Until the spring of 1945, about 6,000 refugees from Estonia passed through the camp.

In the spring of 1945, the camp became a refugee camp for Polish-speaking women rescued/exempted from German concentration camps, including. Auschwitz and Bergen – Belsen. They came to Sweden thanks to the Red Cross and the so-called white buses. It was the Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte who through negotiations with SS chief Heinrich Himmler managed to get permission to bring out prisoners from German concentration camps. The first group of refugees to Doverstorp arrived by train to Norrköping on May 6. They were emaciated and in very poor condition. To this end, emergency hospitals had been set up in two schools. Some of the refugees had infectious diseases such as typhoid and tuberculosis. Many of the refugees, however, could not be saved but died from the ailments they suffered from. Due to the risk of infection, barbed wire fences were established around the camp to prevent the spread of diseases.

Until the summer of 1945, between 1500 – 2000 Polish women, about one third were Jewish, ended up in Doverstorp refugee camps. From Doverstorp they were then passed on, some chose to stay in Sweden, others chose to emigrate abroad, including to the United States and Israel. In 1946 the camp was dismantled.

Current status: Demolished (2016).

Location: 58° 38'30 N, 15° 51'18 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

There is not much left of the camp and what is left is inside the forest. All the barracks are long gone but the foundations that they stood on are partly left and can be found anywhere in the forest. Also some tap cranes that were deployed on the camp site are still there. A barrack has been marked with the help of laces to give a visual impression how big a barrack was. The former camp office, the employment office and two dining rooms have also been marked out. But to understand what these laces/markings mean, you have to know what was there. However, what is preserved, albeit in the form of ruins, is the former bathhouse and waterworks and the potato cellar that is preserved in its entirety. There are still some ruins left, which I have not been able to clarify what it could be. As a whole, these physical remains make the place worth a visit.

The general knowledge of the camp leaves something to be desired and few seem to know that it even existed. This is a pity because there is a direct link with the more famous concentration camps in Germany and Poland, albeit their aims were of a completely different nature. What would be good would be if an information/orientation board was set up on the site with some overall history and what is left to see. Hardly think more people would visit the place but it would in any case make it a little easier for those who find it.

Follow up in books: Shepard, Ben: After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 (2005).