Skillingmark


Shortly after the Germans invaded Norway in april 1940, the norwegian resistance movement began to seek contacts with swedes who lived next to the norwegian border. From the Norwegian side they were looking for a cottage or a farm where refugees and resistance men could stop to get food and recover after crossing the border. In the area of Skillingmark in western Varmland there was a remote farm called Mörkerud. The farm was owned by siblings Ola and Lina Olsson and during the war became an important courier link between the Norwegian resistance movement (Milorg) and its contacts in Sweden.

In the upper floor of the cottage, both refugees and resistance men could stay overnight before continuing their journey, sometimes further in Sweden and sometimes back across the border to Norway. In addition to resistance fighters and refugees, intelligence, money and equipment were also brought in both directions, mainly to or from the Norwegian legation in Stockholm. Ola acted himself many times courier for the pick-up and drop-off of ”Courier post”. In the summer of 1941, the Soviet ambassador, Aleksandra Kollontaj, who had to leave Norway after Germany invaded the Soviet Union escaped through Mörkerud. From the autumn of 1943, Mörkerud also housed members of the Norwegian agent group Hector

In december 1944, germans, swedish authorities, local country fishers and chieftains were the farm on the tracks, some german-friendly, others not. Carrying out courier activities was not always associated with Swedish legislation and it happened that Norwegian citizens were convicted of spying against foreign powers (implicitly Nazi Germany). It was then quickly forced to move the business from the farm and move it to a ravine called Nissedråga, only about 300 meters from the Norwegian border. Here they lived in unheated tents and in primitive conditions.

Nissedråga was even more secluded than Mörkerud and the place could only be found with local knowledge. The fear of anxiety was always present and the ski tracks created a concern that they would be discovered. However, the site was never discovered and the agent business could continue undetected until the end of the war in May 1945. About 500 meters from Nissedråga is a cottage called Långebäck which also became a stop for people who crossed the border. Among other things, the German deserter Willi Jutzi spent the night in the cottage together with his sweetheart in 1941.

Current status: Preserved with information board (2020).

Location: 59° 50' 44.89" N 11° 51' 45.72" E (Nissedråga).

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Nissedråga is located along a refugee route that starts in Norway and is one of the refugee routes used during the war. The gorge is located about 300 – 400 meters from the gravel road and is easy to find if you follow the trail. There is a small information board on the site and actually there is some rusty canned food left at the ravine as a reminder of the events that took place a little more than 75 years ago. Mörkerud is also left but is located within private land and the cottage Långebäck is rebuilt.

Follow up in books: Gilmour, John: Sweden, the Swastika and Stalin - The Swedish Experience in the Second World War (2011).