Dr. Bernhard Paus was born on November 9, 1910. Bernhard Paus graduated from medical school in 1936 in Oslo and served in the Norwegian Army in World War II. After the war, Bernhard settled in Oslo, practiced medicine, and raised six children with his wife, Brita. In 1951, Bernhard was one of two doctors tasked with establishing the Norwegian Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, called NORMASH, that was established first, at Euijeongbu and then at Dongducheon. He served as the chief surgeon in 1951 and again in 1953. His story is told by his daughter, Lucie Paus Falck, who is active in the Norwegian Korean Veterans Association after a career in politics. She shares excerpts from her father’s diary and from a Norwegian history of NORMASH subtitled Korea in Our Hearts. Lucie Paus Falck first visited Korea in 1958 accompanying her father when he worked in a Swedish hospital in Seoul. She has returned to Korea three times since 2001 and shares her unique perspective having seen South Korea after the war in the 1950s.
Lucie Paus Falck discusses how her father, and his cousin, worked with the Red Cross to establish a field hospital in Korea. They began their work in Japan buying supplies for the hospital beginning in April of 1951. The NORMASH hospital would open in July of 1951 courtesy of the Norwegian government.
Lucie Paus Falck reads from her father's diary describing the first patient he treated. The patient was a 13 year old boy named Park who was severely burned in July of 1951. The boy was transferred away to Seoul but would return when Dr. Bernhard Falck engineered his return after hearing about him from a nurse who journeyed to Seoul to see him.
Letter to His Grandchildren
Lucie Paus Falck reads a letter that her father wrote years after his service to his grandchildren. In the letter, Bernhard Paus describes his reasons for going to Korea. He did not know much about Korea, but sympathized as he lived through Nazi occupation of Norway much like Koreans did during Japanese occupation. He describes the NORMASH hospital and the early use of the helicopter to transport the wounded.
Return to Korea
Lucie Paus Falck gives her unique perspective of Korea having worked a year as an intern of sorts with her father in Seoul in 1958 and then returning on three occasions in 2001, 2008, and 2010. In 1958, she describes the country as war-torn and remembers shacks assembled from all kinds of building materials. She marvels upon her return in 2001 about the evolution of Seoul and comments on the growth of traffic! She is particularly proud of Norwegians for their work with Korea including the adoption of over 6000 Korean orphans.
[Beginning of recorded material]
L: My name is Lucie Paus Falck, and we’ll spell it. L U C I E. Next is P A U S, and finally F A N C K.
I: Could you pronounce your last name one more time for me?
I: Yes. I feel like I’m watching Viking again. And what is your
birthday? Can I ask that?
L: My what?
L: My birth, that, that’s, you mean with year?
I: Yeah, yeah.
L: Um. It’s the 8th of May, 1938.
I: May 8, 38. And where were you born?
L: Oh, small, small town here, on the West Coast of Norway where my father was a doctor/
I: So what is it, the name of, uh, city?
L: That’s Sauda. S A U D A.
I: S A U D A.
L: I have not been there since I was half a year old. So I know nothing about the [INAUDIBLE]
I: Okay. And this is just a formal, uh, questioning to identify, but, uh, Lucie, I, I believe that you are not, I know that you are not a Korean War veteran. You were not there in Korea during the War. But you are here
because your father served as a surgeon in Normash, right?
L: Um, that’s right.
I: So could you introduce him to me and spell his name and let us talk about it. So what, what’s his name?
L: Yeah. His name, uh, was, or is Bernhard Paus. B E R N H A R D P A U S.
I: Does he have a middle name?
L: That he never used. So I will, I don’t [INAUDIBLE]
I: Um hm. So Bernhard Paus.
L: Yes, right.
I: And what’s his birthday, do you know?
L: Yes, I know. That was, uh, November 9, 1910.
I: Wow. 1910.
I: Um hm.
L: I’m gonna, he has been, passed away 20 years ago.
I: Twenty years ago.
L: He was almost 90 years when he passed away.
I: And where, he, was he born also in Sauda?
L: No, no, no.
I: Where was he born?
L: I, I’m not quite sure.
I: You don’t know?
L: He grew up in [Tunspur]. I don’t know where he was born.
L: He grew up in a town called [Tunspur] which is about an hour South of Oslo.
I: Hm. And tell me about his educational background, uh, including any schools that he went through if you remember.
L: You ask me things that I do not know really.
But I know that he grew up in [Tunspur]] and went to school here, and high school I suppose that’s what. And then he started his medical education.
L: In Oslo. But, uh, I think he was, uh, I think he finished in 1936. Thirty-six, his medical education.
L: In Oslo. And when he finished, he was a doctor.
I: School you mean, univers
L: He left University of Oslo.
I: Um hm. So he got the degree from University of Oslo in 1936, right?
I: Yeah. And what was his specialty?
L: Oh, I, I don’t think, he didn’t have any specialty at that time.
I: Um hm.
L: It was later.
L: And all that. Then he became, you know, first a surgeon and then an orthopedic surgeon.
I: Orthopedic surgeon.
I: Um hm. And after
he graduate from the University of Oslo, what did he do?
L: You should have told me before that you were going to ask these questions because I really do [INAUDIBLE] know everything.
I: I will, I like surprise.
L: Uh, I, I don’t, uh, I don’t actually know everything he did during those years. But, you know, they have a, uh, one year that they have to go somewhere in, uh, in Norway
L: all the medical students, or all the new medical doctors
had, have to, uh. Then he was up in the middle of Norway somewhere where he met my mother at a bartender.
I: What’s her name?
I: Brita. B
L: B R I T A.
I: Brita Paus, right? Yeah.
L: Yeah. And they married in 1937.
L: But then I think they were moving, you know, young doctors at that time
had to move around very much. So I don’t know actually where he was all the time. But I, as we said, in May, May 1938, they were in Sauda. That’s when I was born. And my next sister, she was born in [SALANGI] which is also in, that was 1 ½ year later, yeah.
I: And what did he do during the World War II, do you know?
L: Yes, I, well I don’t know all the places he was. But he was
working as a doctor all the time.
I: For the military?
L: No, no. They, they were, he was working as a doctor. He was a young doctor then, you know, they had to get more, uh, knowledge all the time. So they were moving around a bit , and we stayed in Oslo for some years until, until Spring ’44 I think.
I: Um hm.
L: I think it was Spring ’44.And then we moved to Tromso which is
North here in Norway.
L: And, um, and were there the last period of World War II and some years later. Um, in 1947 the family moved back to Oslo and stayed in Oslo after that. But we’re moving around a bit in Oslo.
I: Um. I
L: By that time, uh, what, when we moved back to Oslo, we, I had four siblings,
um, number six in the family, he was born ’58.
I: I’ve been to some part of, uh, West Bergan and Balestrand, Fram, Myrdal. It’s a beautiful country. But I never been to Tromso, and how was it?
L: Well, you know, I was 10 years old, nine when we moved from Tromso. And so, um, yes, I have been back. But I mean now it’s a, almost a Capital city [INAUDIBLE] of Norway.
Lots of tourists touring there and, uh, I think very, a very nice place where you get to live.
L: But as I say, I was a small child when, I cannot remember very much. Started school there, yeah.
I: So then tell me about how your father, uh, came to decide to go to Korea.
L: No, that I couldn’t not tell. I was 13 years at the time
L: when he died.
Of course, I don’t know why he decided. But I know that he and his, really his cousin, that must have been quite a, strange in a way. But they were surgeons, both of them, and t hey were asked, I think, by Red Cross, to be the first ones to go out to, uh, establish the, um, the field hospital.
I: Um hm.
L: When, when the Red Cross in Norway, um, the authorities had this idea that
Norway was going to send, uh, hospital So the two, two cousins. They were, uh, they were, uh, together for, I think, organized a lot and, uh, they were in Japan first because I think they had to buy everything from the United States which was from in Japan. But of course, I don’t’ have the whole history, uh, of the beginning of, uh, Normash. But uh,
and, you know, I have his diary. But to read his diary that a doctor’s writing, and it’s very hard to read, pretty cool to read. But, uh, anyway, they were the first ones and, uh, I think they went there in April maybe or May. I would, so then.
I: Nineteen fifty-one ?
L: Fifty-one, yes.
I: Um hm.
L: Fifty-one. And, uh, then the, uh, the, you know, the rest of the delegations from, uh, from Norway came, uh, when did they come, in June
I think. They came later. I mean, the hospital opened in July.
I: So he was the first two of those doctors
I: who prepared everything to open up.
L: Um, right.
I: and in July. Wow. So
L: Oh, I think they, when more people coming before, before all their, all those who were going to work in the hospital. There were more, you know, high standing people from, uh, I think maybe
from the forces? I’m not quite sure. But from, uh, the authorities in Norway and from Red Cross because they were not doing this all by themselves all the time. There were other people coming to decide who could make decisions and economic dispositions, of course, uh. I don’t think that, uh, that my father had, uh, well, he could not decide all that.
I: But let me ask this question. So, Norway gov,
Norwegian government paid for these things, right, not by the United States, right?
L: No, that’s not, Norway paid for it.
I: Right. But, uh, so that equipment was the American
L: It was, I don’t know if, if it was bought or rented in some way.
L: I think it was American.
L: I think so.
I: But it was all paid by the Norway, Norwegian government
L: Yes, yes.
I: That’s very nice.
I: And at the time, the Secretary General in the United Nation was from Norway, right?
I: And his name is Trygve?
L: Um. Lie.
L: Lie. L I E.
I: L I E, Lie.
I: Right? And can you tell me something about him also?
I: But he encouraged
L: He, I mean, he had been a minister during the, uh, [INAUDIBLE]
I: Foreign minister, yeah.
L: Yea, during the Second World War and was in the, in the ministries in Norway and, uh, I think, I mean,
he was the first, the first, uh, Secretary General in, uh, in, uh, the U.N.
I: Um hm.
L: Um hm.
I: And he was really passionate that Norwegians should go to help the people in Korea.
L: Well, I don’t, um, [INAUDIBLE] I don’t know if he exactly said something about the Norwegians. But he said that the United Nations was to, uh, help, uh, South Korea.
L: And I think that, well,
I’m just been told and we have some in the book, you know, that, uh, that, uh, that meant something to the Norwegian government, that, uh, the U.N. was going to help out. And very soon, I think, they decided that it should be medical equipment to, uh, be their contribution.
I: Maybe the facts that the Norwegian, uh, Secretary General in the United Nations might have been a
factor for your father to decide to go, to help.
I: He didn’t,
L: Um, well, I couldn’t tell you.
L: I couldn’t tell you.
I: So he
L: I think he, he always, he didn’t like us to, um, to believe that the, it was adventure seeking that made him go. It was idea [INAUDIBLE]
I: It’s not adventure but idea, right, to help?
I: So he, when did
he arrive in Korea and where and how? Do you know? You said that he was in, uh, Japan in April of 1951?
L: You know, I, really, I have to look in his diary.
L: Maybe I find it.
L: But it’s so, it’s, it’s difficult to, uh, to read, you know. This, doctor’s writings are very difficult to read.
L: Um um. Yeah. He starts his book from, um, Tokyo
I: Uh huh
L: seventeenth of, um, April, ’51.
I: Um hm.
L: So by then they have come to a, to Tokyo.
I: So he was there in April 17th, right?
L: Yeah, 27th of April. That’s when he starts his book.
I: Twenty-seventh. Where? In Japan or Korea?
L: In, in, Tokyo.
L: Um, in Tokyo.
I: April 27 you said.
I: And then, do you know when he arrived in Korea?
L: No, I don’t.
I: Okay. We will find it out later.
L: I, I’m sorry. But I
I: No problem.
L: Uh, I never thought about that, exactly the dates.
I: Um hm. So how long did he stay there in Korea?
L: He stayed there only until, um,
August that year. That was one month before he was going to leave. That was because his own mother had just died
L: which was very sad. And his wife, my mother, was, uh, entered the hospital because she was quite sick with her child number
L: six. So he found here, yeah, I think he asked
I: To leave.
L: to leave a month before he rally was going to. And, uh,
but he was back in ’53 for a half year.
I: So in 1953, he went back to Korea.
I: For how many?
L: And then it was for six months. But I am not quite sure which month really. I think maybe from May or something and a half a year.
I: Oh, six months.
I: Stayed in Korea.
L: In hospital, in the field hospital.
I: Um hm. And then,
did he went back, did he go back to Korea again to work on the Scandinavian hospital stuff?
L: No. Uh, they, no. I think they were not very much in Korea to work on this. That, it was a, it was a group, uh, of people in the Scandinavian countries
L: that were, that were working, yeah, on, on the building
I: Um hm
L: of the new hospital. Um. And, uh, I know that the Scandinavian countries, I think, everybody I saw [INAUDIBLE].
But the Scandinavian countries, um, started their discussions already in, um, why, during the Korean War
L: about what to do next after the War.
I: So tell me about, you told me about the first day of his operation was
I: something that you want to share with us, right?
L: Well, in a way, yes, because I found in his diary
that he writes about this young boy. He was not a military. But, uh, it was a young boy. It was, I think, 27th of July. I have that, I had it written.
I: Twenty-seven of what?
L: July ’51. That, um, came severely burned and, uh, they started treating him, uh, no, sorry. It was 18th of July.
L: Eighteenth of July. And
I: That’s ’51, right?
L: This is ’51. That’s, that’s when the hospital, um, started taking patients.
I: Um hm.
L: So this was the first patient. And, um, and they were treating him, of course, and I found pictures in it, in his album that really shows the boy the day he came in, and then, I don’t know why and I think he didn’t know why. Some of the, uh, other people in the hospital sent the boy, after a week or so, to a
hospital in Seoul.
I: Um hm.
L: And, uh, and then there is a story of a woman, the nurses at Normash who went to Seoul and went to see that hospital and where this young boy, Pock, Pock. When he saw her, he started, you know, crying and jumping and wanted to get into the car and go back to Normash.
L: And my father said when he heard about that, he asked permission to bring the boy back.
L: And then there is the story of the day that he
comes back to, uh, Norway. And, uh, I have translated that to English so, I mean, you can, I cannot read the whole thing.
I: That’s a wonderful story. So he came to Norway.
L: No, no, no. He came back to Normash.
L: He, he came back to Normash from another civilian hospital
I: Yeah, yeah.
L: in Seoul.
I: Um hm.
L: And the, he was so happy. So that is what my father, you know, says in the end here. I believe we made that boy very happy today.
That’s in his, uh, his, uh, diary.
I: Um hm.
L: And, uh, yeah.
I: What a story. But
L: It’s, it’s a sweet story in a way.
L: And when you see the pictures, I don’t know if you, you tell me if you want to see the pictures.
I: And I read about the, uh, the activities of Normash in Korea, and most of them, uh, treated was American soldiers. There were also British Commonwealth, too. But also another significant percentage,
more than 30% was Koreans.
I: But what I am hearing from other veterans is that during the War, they were not permitted to treat Korean people, civilians. Is that right?
L: You know, I think you have to ask, that you have to get from the veterans who were there.
L: And I, I couldn’t really tell you. But, uh, at, at least after the War and the, there were many civilians, many Koreans.
I: But the case of
Korean boy, Puck
L: Yeah, that was the first patient.
I: was the first day of the operation of Normash.
I: And so it was a Korean patient.
L: It was a Korean 13 year-old boy.
I: Wow, that’s, so your father has authority to, to treat this.
L: To treat, yes. But, uh, he had to ask permission
I: Um hm.
L: uh, from the, you know, the leadership in the hospital to get the boy back from the civilian hospital in Seoul.
L: Yeah. I think he was very, very sad when he heard about, that the boy had been there, you know, that he wasn’t there anymore.
I: Um, yeah. Um, so what was his, did he belong to American military unit, or was he independent Norwegian surgeon at the time, when he opened the operation.
L: That I could not tell you. But I think the whole hospital was, uh, was part of the 8th Army, wasn’t it?
Eighth Army, yes, yes, yeah, yeah.
L: So, uh, they were Norwegians under American, uh, yeah, [INAUDIBLE]/
I: At the time when your father was there, how many do you have some ideas about how, what is, what was the skill of Normash operation in terms of number of doctors and nurse and all other people together?
L: I could not tell you.
L: Tell. But it’s in the
L: It’s in, it’s in the book, yeah. But that’s for the whole period.
I: Can you, pick up your book, the book, and, to explain about it? Show it to the camera. So hold it up to the chin.
L: This is my book. That’s why I have all these little papers.
I: Yes. Yes.
I: So that’s Normash, Korea, and what is it?
L: Korea in our hearts.
I: Korea in our hearts.
I: And that is the subtitle
of the book?
I: Could you tell me when and when did you publish it? Who did and so on?
L: Eh, after many years of work, really, the reference, uh, finally published this in 2010.
L: Yeah, so it’s, I mean, it’s some years ago now. But it’s, uh, yeah. And it’s much, uh, history. But of course, it could have been very much more history in, uh, if, if it was today,
it might be, something might be different. Well, not different. But I think more because, I mean all this here are various stories from people, from all the people that you could not meet anymore.
I: Um. hm.
L: They, uh, they don’t exist anymore.
I: So it was written by all those veterans and the doctors and so on by some, right?
L: By some.
I: And who published it?
L: We did. I know I would
I: We means Korean War Veterans Association
L: Yeah, yeah. Yes, yes.
L: Yeah. It’s, I mean you have the book in Korean also. It’s published by Norwegian Korean War veterans.
I: Very good. And then you have a, the version in Korean, right?
I: Yes. Can you show that, too? It’s in the bottom. Yes.
This is beautiful, uh. [SPEAKING KOREAN} So Korea placed in the hearts of ours. That is the subtitle.
L: Yes, that’s the subtitle there, yeah.
I: Yeah. That’s beautiful. And I think, you know, the there are three Scandinavian countries that send medical, uh, aid teams, mostly it’s the Red Cross. It’s, uh, Sweden, Norway and Denmark and then Germany sent,
- after the War, 1954 to ’59.
I: So they just been added to one of the other countries that participated in the Korean War. But I think, this is the only country, Norway, that has a real good publication about the whole thing.
I: That’s pretty good.
L: And then, um, added to the Scandinavian countries, India and Italy.
I: Italy, yes.
L: that, uh,
I: Um hm. Uh, is there any picture that you wanna show about your father in the book? Yeah, let, let’s, uh, look at the, your father’s page. Is there your father’s page, about your father?
L: Uh, well, I mean, he was, he, he was dead when this was published, when they made it. So it’s through me and this guy over here and letters.
You know he wrote the letter to his grandchildren which, which, um,
I: Show it to me.
I: So he’s,
L: which we have in the book. This is during the, you know, the person that helped us publish. He, he really put together all the things. And so you will find this in the Korean War [INAUDIBLE] I suppose.
I: Um hm. So, could you show a little bit, yeah, that’s good.
Uh, because of the lights, it’s hard to see. But we will take a picture later, and he was in the 38th Parallel, right, assigned?
I: Yes. Thank you.
L: So, um, I don’t remember when, um, you know what? Here we have written when he was there. I didn’t realize. It, um, do you, and that was from the 17th of April
to, um, the, uh, 11th of September.
I: Um hm.
L: And, uh, from the 30th of April to, uh, first October in ’53.
I: Yeah. Very good.
L: And this letter is from 1993. Now I have to go through the book to remember.
I: Yeah. Can you read some of it, the letter?
L: In Norwegian?
L: This is in Norwegian.
I: Okay. But can you just
do simultaneous translation?
I: I know you can.
L: Yes. But I’m in, he says when North Korea attacked South Korea, United Nations decided that the U.N. would support South Korea. Norway was part of that decision, and I, that’s my father, thought that as Norway as well had to participate.
We could not, uh, be satisfied with words and leave the, the handling of things to others. And then he says something about that Norway had been, uh, occupied during the Second World War and, uh, but I said, uh, what did we know about Korea? We had to, we had to look at the map.
I: So he didn’t know
I: He didn’t know anything about Korea.
L: Well, Norway did not know much
about Korea at that time.
I: Of course, yeah.
L: Do you think that Korea knew anything about Norway at that time?
I: No, no.
L: No, no. no. Here it says that he started to work, uh, in the office at home to pick out people to go there and then, as I said before, he was sent with is cousin who was, who was also a surgeon to go there and make these for everything
L: as I said before.
L: Uh, and he says something
about that they were near to the, to the border and got patient coming with ambulances or helicopters, and he said something about, you know, that, uh, the helicopters were very simple at that time, uh. On the outside of the cockpit, there was a, a, a, and he said a, a box or something, uh, on each side where the wounded was put. Yeah. And then,
And then you have to read the, um, Korean version, too. That’s when you get the rest of the letter. But, uh, he thought that his grandchildren should know about the, what, what had happened during that time.
I: So that’s the letter that he wrote from Korea to his grandchildren.
L: No, no, no. That, this was much later. It
I: Much later.
L: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He didn’t have any grandchildren when he was in Korea.
I: That’s what I was thinking.
L: Only us children. But he had six children, you know, and we all have four children except for the last one who asked me.
I: Um hm, um hm.
L: So he had a lot of grandchildren, um. Yes.
I: Were you able to talk with him about his experience in Korea as a surgeon when, while you were growing up?
L: No, we did not, we did not, we did not, oh, I’m sure I could have been able to do it if, if we had wanted.
I: Um hm.
L: But you know how children are. They, uh, have enough with their own things.
L: And I would, um, and what is happening
today with a family. It’s much more that, you know, than to ask history.
I: Yeah, that’s.
L: It was much later, really, that I started, yeah, getting into the system for [INAUDIBLE]
I: Tell me about it. Why you were beginning to pay attention to that and how? When was it? Tell me about those things.
L: Okay, yeah. As we talked about before the, the Scandinavian countries came together to, uh, decide what to do with American soldiers, uh,
And they ended up by, by, uh, deciding on, uh, hospital, uh, National Medical Center
I: Um hm.
L: It was built in Seoul and which was meant to specialize, as far as I know that, specialized doctors, doctors who were already American doctors, and they had a school for nurses, a nursing school. That’s, that was from the beginning. And, uh, this
opened and was [LAUNCHED] in, I think it was the second of October if I’m not wrong, 1958. But all the Scandinavians were there long time before, uh, October. And then, you know, I was a young girl at the time, had finished high school, had one year with, in University, didn’t not exactly know what to do. So he said I could come with him to Korea, which I did, from August, uh, ’58 to about September ’59.
So I was there for one year.
I: Wow. So how, who did it funded?
L: Well, [STAMMERS] let us say the, the dependents who were there, I mean, there were more than, more than me. I mean, there were some wives and, I think not many, not many grown up children but some wives, and they all got something to do.
And we, and we had a pay. I don’t remember exactly what. Ev, everybody had the same, same pay.
I: So you were intern.
L: Yeah, in a way.
I: Um hm.
L: In a way. But I was the mailman. I went to the PX with the American soldiers everyday to pick up the mail, and to get the mail back to, uh, National Medical Center. And, uh, also they, um, they asked me to, to take care of the medical library. Well, I was 20 years old. I did not
know anything about libraries. But they had a committee, of course, to, uh, say something, you know, about the books and literature. But, uh, I got the, um, the workers to make, uh, all kind of, you know [INAUDIBLE] somethings that they had [INAUDIBLE] big room. And, uh, so for some time, I was, uh, a kind of librarian and mail man., or mail woman.
I: Um hm.
I: So you actually
worked mostly in the library sorting out and working on the books on, on
L: I don’t remember very much about that.
I: Um hm.
L: And as I said, the mail. You know, mail is important when you are in another country. And the, in that period, as far as I remember, the mail went to, uh, United States
I: Um hm.
L: So it took some time to get from Norway to, um, to Seoul and, and back again.
I: So that was,
you , right after you graduate from high school and before you going to
L: It was one year after, one year after.
I: One year after. And were you in the University? No.
L: Yeah, I did for one year.
I: You were? Okay.
L: Yeah, yeah.
I: And so before you go to Korea
L: The University in Oslo
L: Before I went to Korea. Um.
I: And what were you studying at the time, in the University of Oslo?
L: That was just, you know,
I: The Freshman year?
L: Well, we [we could pull it back] It’s very hard to,
to compare really because, um, you had, I thought maybe that I would be going to study languages and I’m going to have to take Latin and, you know, some other thing, which I did for a year. But, uh, while I was in Korea and, uh, I met the, um, the, the Physical Therapists who were there, one Swedish and one Danish. I found out that this is what I’m going to do. So, so, um, we wrote back home to the school in Oslo
to ask whether, uh, serving in the hospital in, before getting into the, uh, Physical Therapy school.
I: Um hm.
L: At that time, you had to have experience from a hospital. So I said okay.
I: Was perfect.
L: For the, for the last three months I was there, I was, you know, washing patients and, uh, being on the, on the wards of the hospital. And then I went back home and started school.
I: Before you left for Korea,
I: did you know anything about Korea?
I: You didn’t?
I: Uh, you didn’t learn anything about Korea from high school?
L: No, not in high school.
I: Not in high school.
L: No, no. so, I mean, the only thing I knew was, of course, my father had told something from his, uh, years in Korea. And we have met people who were in this planning committee. They came to Oslo and they were here and there. So I’ve met some of the people. So, of course, I think I knew more than many of my, um,
student comrades at the time, um.
I: So you went there 1958, and after that, have you been back to Korea?
I: How many times and when?
L: Whoops, I was there in 2001 and, uh, then were there in, uh, 2008 and 2010, yeah. Um.
I: So three times.
L: Yes, right.
I: Okay. So even though you are not Korean War veteran, your father was. Your father was the architect of Normash and surgeon. You were there in 1958, and then you been back to Korea 2001, 2008, 2010, three times.
I: Last time when you were there in 2010, I think you can tell me from the civilian perspective and eye about the changes that been made since
2000, no, 1958 to 21st century.
I: Tell me in details what you see and how you saw it about the country in 1958 and 2010.
L: Well, 2000, yeah. I mean, even in 2001 it was a different country. But in ’58, it was still a, a war-ridden, uh, war-ridden country, you know, with shacks
and, uh, no paved streets, uh. Well I, I suppose there were paved streets here and there. But, uh, but, uh, it was a poor country. Fifty-eight, it was a poor country. I think we, uh, but, uh,
I: You were in Seoul, right?
L: I was in Seoul, yes.
I: So everybody, the Korean War veterans I’m interviewing, more than thousand Korean War veterans saying that it was just flat, completely destroyed
I: and things like that. There were, were there been, do you think it’s been change made since the War and ’58 when you were there?
L: Well, I mean yeah. They, uh, of course there were, what I could not tell you, of course, but it was not completely destroyed then. But there were, you know, shacks built by building materials and things, uh, very, very much all that. But also, I mean there were private housing, uh, around, people, people did live there.
so, uh, I mean, this was five years after the War. So, so, uh, it should have changed. But then to come back in 2001, that was the big difference. But, I mean, that, uh, you see these, uh, these, uh, fantastic, uh, evolution that had been in Korea. And later on again, it was, it got more and more traffic like all other big cities in, uh, in, uh, the world.
But, um, I think it has been amazing, how a country has been able to develop and rise out of, out of the ashes, um, which, I mean, I mean, you know more than I do what has happened in, uh, in Korea. And, um, you know, often when we have kind of meetings and things now I, I, uh, I always tell people
don’t forget what started out Communica, in Norway, started our communication with the, with Korea. That was the Korean War. That was Normash. After that, Norway got to North Korea more, not everybody but many. And even now people ask m are you talking about North or South Korea? Yeah. But anyway, but then in Norway, you know, this after the War started
the, um, uh, after North Korea and get so many children from Korea to Norway.
L: If I am not wrong, I think really that Norway has, I mean that Korea is the, uh, has most adopted children. It’s the biggest group for adopted children in Norway.
I: About 6,000 Korean adoptees, yes.
L: Um, yes. And so many have made their
careers in Norway and we know about them. Um.
I: It’s very rewarding stories.
L: Um, yes, yes. yes.
I: Yeah, yea.
L: So, uh, I, I don’t know if Korea knows more about Norway today than, uh, they did, uh, before ’51 or ’50. Maybe they do, maybe not. But, of course, I mean, people in Korea is where they travel. They do travel. They come, they go to, uh, men like you, they are tourists.
They go to places.
I: Yeah. They love the country.
L: Yeah. And, uh, and that, of course, makes Korea, I mean Norway, more known in Korea.
I: Um hm.
L: And also in the beginning, there was not a, there was not a Norwegian Embassy in, uh, Korea. It, uh, well, I mean
I: We just celebrate 60th anniversary.
L: Yeah, of diplomatic relations.
L: But, of course, I mean, Tokyo. Japan had the, uh, responsibility
for, um, Korea as well as the Norwegian Embassy in, uh, in Tokyo. So, um, yeah. In the, [INAUDIBLE] because that was a nice picture. Uh, in 2010 the, um, the Ministry of, what you call it, oh
I: Patriots and Public Affairs
L: They have the Revisit Tourist, and they really, uh, accepted that it could be very many veterans from Norway to go at that time.
Mostly they say only two a year. But in, then we were, we were seven or eight or something, and five of us brought grandchildren. I don’t know if you can see this, but this is
L: Yeah. This, this was in, uh, in Pusan I think.
I: That’s what we need. Uh, we need, uh, generational conversation and dialogue about, about the role played by the Norwegian Korean War veterans, the doctors, nurse, guardsmen and/or other people together
I: And that’s what we are trying to do. My Foundation just published a book there and, uh, under the Korean version, there is another book. Can you pick it up and, yes, the, the bottom one, yes.
I: Yes, that’s a Korean War and its’ Legacy, Teaching About Korea Through Inquiry. And that’s what my Foundation published in the United States,
and the contents is the actual analysis, based on the analysis of the interviews that my Foundation has, about 1,300. Teachers actually listening everyday. Ten teachers are listening everyday of all those veterans interviews. Most is American case. And they provide this raw data to the writers who are the teachers, actually History teachers, and they
wrote this for elementary, middle and high school teachers. There are three lesson plans in each elementary and middle and high school, so total nine. And then there is a primary and secondary resources, all based on the interviews. It’s not from the, another History book, but it’s all from the real direct witness of the veterans about their experience in the Korean War.
I: And that we published it with the biggest, uh, History Teachers Association in the United States which is National Council for Social Studies.
I: And the work that you’ve been doing with a lot of veterans and about your father, I think that can be the basic material for us to be able to publish something like what we published in the United States.
I: So that teachers can look at this lesson plan,
and it’s ready to teach. And everything else is available from the website.
I: And so I did three interviews yesterday.
L: Um hm.
I: We are going to do another three, and then we going to do two more.
I: If we can do more, I will come back But we can analyze those and then put together with the books that you published and then write it as a lesson plan.
I: That can, you know, really encourage the History teachers here in Norway to talk
more about those things. What do you think about that idea?
L: Yeah, well I think it’s a good idea. And, uh, I think that there is something they have forgotten to talk about, and that, that this was made, um, a movie that was shown on the television that was also in 2010 I think. And, uh, I have [INAUDIBLE] at home, but that’s what, um, that’s, that’s a lot of interviews with many veterans who,
unfortunately have passed away now. But, uh,
I: Is that the documentary for Normash?
I: So we will, we would like to have a copy of that if I can.
L: But I only have the Norwegian, uh, with Norwegian pic, you know, there’s somebody talking. Somebody talking and that’s Norwegian. I have only one English, and I’m not going to give that away. I keep it. But I really forgot, uh, I can, uh, because,
of course, we could have seen it here.
I: We can make a copy of it, and we can put it on the website, okay? But
L: I can, um, we are going to meet later today
L: And I will drop by at home. I’ll see if I can, uh,
I: And there is a so called Norwegian Historical Association here.
L: Is it?
I: Yeah. And I, I, you know, the Korean Embassy Norway arranged the, uh, introduced me to the Chairman of that
L: Um hm.
I: Thomas Hagan.
And so we are trying to work together with that Association. And so if you and the Historical Association, Korean Embassy and my Foundation can work together and select the writers from the high school, it has to be written by the high school teachers because they know what to teach and how to teach. And they, they understand the students, right? So that’s what we want to do.
L: I don’t know about this, um, movie that I talked about.
It was, uh, it was made by the Ministry of Defense. I suppose if we give it away like this, we have to, I’ll just have to find out. We’ll have to ask somebody
L: if it’s okay.
I: Yeah. It’s publicly available, I think, should be. So let’s talk about that later.
L: Yeah. We cannot find it on the, um,
L: on the, um,
I: Any other story that you want to share with us about your father’s experience as a surgeon in Normash?
Anything that he talked to you or anything that you still remember?
L: No, actually not.
I: Not? How was it to be an intern in the country you didn’t know much about it. But your father actually served?
L: That was, I mean I, I, as I say I was 20 years, 21 and, uh, I had a very nice time. I knew South Korean students. I knew Americans,
and we were, got, you know, seeing Korea. Everything was not, uh, poor and, uh, at that time we went out in the, in, you know, various parts of the country to, uh, to see, uh, other, other parts of the world.
I: What did you like mostly in, when you were there in 1958 about Korea? Or what did you hate?
L: I didn’t hate anything. No, I, I think, I mean it was just a great experience
for a young, uh, to work, to, um, to be there.
I: Um hm.
L: Uh, I think, and, uh, in all ways with all, all kind of little things that was, uh, happening
I: So ’58 and then 2010, did that make you think differently about Korea or think differently about your father or anything else?
L: No, no. It’s, uh, you know why I began
0:47:00 working with veterans let’s say that, um, yeah, uh, 1980 to 19, something, something, because, I mean, they had, the veterans, had their organization in, uh, in Norway. And they used to have the meetings, and I started helping out, helping my father to be there and, you know, organize and, and so, um, as time went by, I got into the, uh, to the Board of the Veterans,
and I’ve been there ever since. Been on the Board ever since.
I: When did you, I mean, please tell me about the Friendship Association. What is the exact title of it, and when did you, uh, establish it? What, what do they do?
L: Um. You know, uh, you know, the veterans, of course they knew that, uh, this Association, uh, the veterans. So they would not exist forever.
So for many years, the, uh, there were talks on what do we do next and can we make this like an umbrella organization so, of people who worked with Korea in Oslo. But t hen, uh, the Ambassador at the time which was, um,
L: Yes, he’s in the middle.
I: Yeah, yeah.
L: The middle of the lower row [INAUDIBLE]
L: Uh, Ambassador Choi, he was very eager, you know, to, um,
organize a, a Friendship Association. So together, the veterans and am, the Ambassador, uh, worked on this and, uh, the Norwegian Korean Friendship Association was launched in September 2009. So we have just had our 10 years birthday.
I: Korean Association, when?
I: Norwegian Korean Friendship Association.
L: Yeah, right.
I: Yeah. When was it?
L: 2000, September 2009.
I: What do you mean 2006 and 9?
L: No, not 6. 2009.
I: Um hm. And what did they do? I mean, what do you do?
L: Yeah. We try to make, um, interesting membership, uh, meetings. We have, uh, we have been to a museum and seen all the Asian, uh, artworks. We have had the people who, uh, give, uh,
information on the situation between North and South Korea, uh. And we have had people talking about Korean literature, membership meetings. We try to have at least one each season. I mean it’s not very much that we do, but we do that. And we have a, a Taste of Korea, food making courses. People are crazy about that, you know. There are always too many people signing up for, uh, that kind. So we are going to have
one the end of November.
I: What are, what are the favorites of Korean food for Norwegians?
I: Do they, do they eat kimchi?
L: Yes. Many, many people do. Many do. Not, not everybody. [INAUDIBLE]
I: I mean, Norwegians, they love fish, you know, the seafood, right? So
L: But I think, I think that Pierogi is um, more of a favorite.
I: Pierogi and [INAUDIBLE]
I: Thin noodle?
L: I don’t know what that is.
L: I don’t know all the names really.
I, I mean I know the taste, but not all the names. But anyway, then we have people who organize, uh, food making course. And then, then every year we have, uh, what they call the social events where people can meet and come, come
L: and get Korean food and, uh, yeah, get together. And that, that’s very, people come by the hundreds. It’s just. yeah.
I: I read about it, and I found that most of them social and cultural.
And it, it can be educational. But what, I mean, the most important thing is that we need to transfer this whole legacy thing to our younger generation if we can and if we want to. And that’s where the, my Foundation’s focus is concentrating. So we want to put all these things together. Everything already done mostly, documentary and books in two languages. We can put it together and adding one
more function to the Friendship Association as educational. What do you think about that?
L: Well, I, I’m not quite sure really that, um, that would work out in, uh, Norway. I mean, we can have membership meeting.
I: Yeah. How many members do you have?
L: Six hundred.
I: Six hundred.
L: But you know, but you know,
I: Are they all descendant?
L: No. People don’t pay. So I think if we started to have a fee to be a member , we would not have that many.
I: I know. No, no. What I’m saying is
are they all descendant of Korean War veterans?
L: No, not at all. No, no, no. Now then, this is open for all kinds of people It’s, uh, very many Korean adoptees.
L: People who are, I mean, uh, let’s say ordinary Norwegians who have been working in Korea, Koreans who have, who are working in Norway, people who are married to Koreans and, yeah. Many, uh, you know, I’m, I always like to, to, uh,
to say the, um, um, the combination or the people that I have on my Board in, uh, in the Friendship Association. First there’s me. I, I’m a, I’m a veterans daughter.
I: Um hm.
L: Then we have one. He is, let’s say, [quart], uh, Korean.
I: Um hm.
L: And you will meet his grandfather tomorrow.
I: Um hm.
L: Finn Bakke. Because Finn, he married a Korean. So, uh, uh,
so that is one, uh. Me, um, veteran descendant. Heath, uh, [QUART] Korean, and we have the lady who was a, a secretary to Minister, Minister, uh, Ambassador Choi at that time. And then there is, um, one lady who is, uh, Korean adopted, and we have one father who has four adopted children and one young lady
who is now studying medicine but who loved Korea so much while she was in high school that she spent, uh, one year in Korea and speaks Korean. So I think that we have so many different kinds of people who are members of the, uh, Friendship Association.
I: That’s good.
L: Yeah, it’s very interesting.
I : Yeah.
L: But, because, I mean, it, it’s because of interest that uh, that, uh, they are on the Board. But, uh, anyway, um.
I: So we are, my Foundation
is trying to set up a task force with the educational, I mean, Historical Association
I: inviting History teachers who are interested in about Korea, and we can write about the lesson plan and primary and secondary resources about what Normash did in 1952 to ‘
I: Fifty-one to ‘50
I: four, right? Yes. Well that’s what we are trying to do, and I’ll let you know if we have any progress we are making.
L: And as I said, that movie that I talked about, I mean, we had that on one membership meeting. We show it and, uh, everybody says why, you know, that saw the movie, why don’t they talk more about this, uh, in school
L: to school children.
I: Why not?
L: Yeah. Well, it’s the Forgotten War, isn’t it?
I: Why, why is, has to be forgotten?
L: But if you know even World War II is much less now in, in school documents and then, uh, than it was some years ago. So the years go by
and things disappear in a way.
I: But there are many, many, many wonderful stories that we can still talk about
I: if we want to do it, and we are ready. My Foundation is ready as we already published two curricular books in the United States.
I: And we already signed the contract with, uh, United Kingdom. So we going to have another book from United Kingdom, not American experience but British experience.
L: Nice. Um
I: And we are working with the Danish
so they going to write about Jutlantia Hospital Ship
L: Yes, yes.
I: I think we can put together Norway, Sweden and Denmark together as a Scandinavian, you know, expedition to, to Korea.
L: So many different, uh,
I: Yeah, it’s different.
I: Yeah. So
L: three countries.
I: One book can talk about Norway, Sweden, Denmark independent of each other. But it’s Scandinavia. Or we can have a completely
L: But then the interesting thing is that the three countries came together during the War.
I: During the War.
L: Do you, that was during the War. It started already during the War.
I: That’s very important point, yeah.
L: Yes. Um. I think
I: And they, they made a National Medical Center for Korea in 1958, right?
L: I think, you know, the page from my father here that, that is in English. But I think also that, uh,
I need to find everything about doctors and dentists [INAUDIBLE] But, um, there is one, the history of Normash is here, no, no, no. National Medical Center is here as well. That was, um, that was the last, um, the last, uh,
talk that my fat her did, h ad before he died.
L: So I, I took it. This is
L: And you’ll find it in the Korean version. He has written about the start of the, um, National Medical Center.
L: And the people that you see here, can you see?
L: That’s him up there. The first
I: Is Bernard.
L: orthopedic, and this is from the Orthopedic Dept. in 2008.
I: Um hm.
L: And we had to, I had to meet the people, you know? And so that is me and my granddaughter.
I: Ah ha.
L: And the head of the department and then Chief, I don’t remember who is who. I think he’s the head of department. But these are the orthopedic doctors.
I: What a wonderful story, right?
L: Yeah. But
I: National Medical Centers was established by this
L: It says it, um, it called back, the idea goes back to
Monday 20th of August , 1951. And that’s all he, to talk about it. So you have the story here. You have, you have the story of, uh, Normash for the, that, that, that’s also written by my father.
I: Um hm.
L: Yeah, yeah.
I: So that’s what I think needs to be learned in the school about, you know, what Norway did for Korea long time ago.
L: You know, they, we gave it, I mean, we still have some books. We gave it out as much as we can to people. But, uh, school children aren’t awfully interested.
I: That country that your father saw and you saw in 1958 now 11th largest economy in the world. Can you believe that?
L: Uh, no. It’s amazing. That’s what they say. It’s very amazing. Um. But you are not living there.
I: And also it’s not just about the economic power. They are the most substantive democracy in Asia. You know that we put two Presidents into the prisons with a candlelight demonstrations few years ago.
L: Um. That’s true.
I: Yeah. So that’s the thing that came out of the Korea, two million civilians and military soldiers, both North and South Koreans killed, died and wounded,
and so many U.N. Forces actually sacrificed themselves. It was one of the poorest country in the world at the time.
I: You saw it, right?
L: Um, right.
I: Now it’s 11th largest economy in the world.
L: Yeah, it’s amazing. It is amazing really.
I: Lucie, we gotta talk about this.
L: Yes, that’s what we are doing, isn’t it?
I: Exactly. And I want to follow up. I want to follow up about this and so that, you know,
obviously I’m Korean, and you know, it’s a kind of nationalistic or chauvinistic. But I think there are something real value coming out of this Korean War, telling every day still never been replaced by the Peace Treaty. It’s ridiculous actually that 70th anniversary without Peace Treaty.
I: But still that tells the amazing stories about South Korean economy, democracy.
I: But there are still North Korea up there and superpowers around it, China, Russia, Japan and United States still do not want to change the status quo here. But it always telling some stories. And I think you need to be taught in the classroom.
L: Yes, yeah. yes. You know, uh, well, I have been to Panmunjom, a couple of times. But in, uh, 2001 when we were there, we were leaving early,
I think two days after 911 in the United States. Um, I remember I was so worried, you know, that people would withdraw and wanted to go
L: But it is all worth it. Um. So, but then, then when they came to Korea then, it, we have in our plans to go to Panmunjom but, of course, then we couldn’t. It was, uh, just a week after 9/11 or something.
I: Korea’s been like that since 1850. Still divided by the Communists and, and free capitalism and democracy, and it feels like, I mean, what did wrong Korea do during the World War II? We are not the power, axis power. We didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t invade anybody. But Stalin and Kim Il Sun and Mao Tse Tung
L: They were divided.
I: So it’s like, uh, to me, it’s like a
Greek myth, Prometheus, you know? It’s Stalin and Kim Jung Min [INAUDIBLE] installed the fire of Communism from Zeus and spread it, and South Koreans are still paying the price.
L: I never thought about it that way. Um, yeah.
I: I’m writing a book about it
L: Oh yeah?
I: and I feel like Koreans, South Koreans are like Prometheus. It’s not exactly applicable, but we are still, the Koreans are still
suffering from this Cold War ideology. So that’s what we are trying to do. Um, anything else about you wanna share on the Normash operations? How many, do
I: Anything that you wanna talk about more about your father? Oh, let me ask this question. So tell me now, you were growing up and not knowing much about what your father and Normash did.
But now you know.
I: You are the leader here. So from all this, uh, you know, nothing.
L: I’m not the leader of the veterans.
I: Looking back all those years, what kind of person your father was? Can you tell me?
L: That’s very hard to describe one, one’s own father. I mean, he was a father, you know, and then that’s. uh, and then, you know, he was
quite the, he, he knew what he wanted.
I: What was it?
L: He knew what he wanted, and I think that was the same in his work. But, uh, I think he was a, he was a good, uh, with head of departments in the hospitals he was working. I’ve heard very, very much nice about him. And he was a Free Mason, you know. I don’t
I: Yeah, I know, Free Mason. He was very high degree, right?
L: He was very high degree, exactly. I think it was, um,
I think he was the boss, I don’t
L: I think so. I, they don’t call it the boss, but I don’t, uh, exactly remember what. Uh, so I think Korea and Free Masonry and his orthopedic, uh, work
I: Um hm.
L: and the children. I mean, in the family.
I: Uh huh.
L: And they were all, I mean he had many, many faith to understand all and, uh, and, uh, was well known in the, over, on the surface.
I: Um hm.
L: I met so many people who know about him.
I: You proud of him.
I: Um hm. You yourself also worked for the Norway and Norwegian government in, in politics here, right
L: Yes. I was an active politician at, at one time.
I: One time. So what did you do? Tell me about it please. Tell me please.
L: Yeah. I was, um, part of the Labor party in, uh, Norway.
I: Can you, can you explain about the political parties here in Norway, just mainly how many parties and what do they do?
L: Oh, there are so many small parties, so I don’t remember
I: Major, major.
L: But you know it’s the, it’s the, um, what we call [INAUDIBLE], right, the right party, um, the left party and uh, and uh the Labor party, of course and uh, then in, now, you know, other parties coming up like, um, environmental, uh, environment
I: Um hm.
L: So let’s say there are six, seven, eight parties that are big enough really to count.
I: Um hm.
L: And it has been the right party and labour party that have been the two big parties.
I: Ah ha.
L: and the government and everything. But now, I mean, there are various, um, people coming up, uh., now. But at my time, this was in the 1970
until middle of, uh, 1990 because then I moved for, uh, I lived in a, in an area, in a community Bright South Oslo, uh, but a much smaller one. So there I was a [INAUDIBLE] politician and then, for one period from 19, uh, 84 to 88, I was the Mayor of that, of that little community.
Then we had the local elections, and the other, other side, uh, won the elections. So that was, uh, but, uh, at that time also, I was asked to, uh, go come as, um, State Secretary in, um, in the Ministry of, uh,
I : Local government?
L: Yes, exactly. So I was there for just 1 ½ years. But that’s mainly my political, uh, experience
because when I moved from, uh, from this place to, uh, to Oslo in, uh, 1993, I thought I had , I’ve had my 20 years in politics. That was good enough. Then I start ed having grandchildren, you know, and, uh, had to work, yeah. I got to do other things.
I: But you were physical therapist, right, before?
I: How, how did you involve in politics, why?
L: Well, I mean people,
people have their, uh, education and they do involve in politics anyway. And so, uh, I was interested.
I: Why? What did you wanted to do, achieve?
L: Wow. A better life. No, not exactly, you know. But, uh, I mean, the, the, isn’t what all politicians want? They want to have good surroundings, schools for the children, kindergartens, yeah, health, health uh,
healthy environments, everything.
L: So, I mean, I just found that the Labour party was the best party for me.
I: Um hm.
L: Yeah. And I’m quite sure that the other parties could say the same. But, but they are the best for, for some. Um.
I: Norway seems to be really blessed with the beautiful nature, the fjord that I saw in Balestrand
I: Myrdal, and this is beautiful country, and also you have a
blessed with oil, right?
L: That was uh, yeah. That was good for the country.
I: Um hm.
L: for the, uh, economy. So now we ae wondering what will happen next, it’s hard to say. Yeah.
I: And also it’s the country of Viking. You are the one used to make the best ship in the world, right?
L: Well, uh
I: But now
L: Korea is a boat maker
I: more than 50% of the Norwegian order of the ship is to Korea.
I: We didn’t know how to make a ship.
L: You didn’t know?
I: You didn’t, we didn’t know the modern forms of, if I tell you that the Korea is now one of the largest ship building country in the world
L: Yes, I think so.
I: But the first one, the very large oil carrier made by the Koreans
I: because it’s so big, it has to be build by two and then put together at the last
process. It’s a very large oil carrier. We didn’t know to build it, so we learned from Scottish and Japanese and finally put together, and do you know what happened?
I: It didn’t fit. Two parts has to be
I: making one, right?
I: It didn’t fit.
L: Uh huh,
I: That’s how we started in 1970’s.
L: Did you?
I: Now it’s, uh, largest.
L: Yeah, yeah. I know
I: So did the Viking Norwegians are ordering ships from Korea
L: Yes, they are, um.
I: We need to talk about this.
L: But I, I mean, I never really think about Norway as the Viking country. That’s more, that’s more touristy. It is I think.
I: I love it.
L: Yeah, okay.
I: Lucie, thank you so much for what you been doing for this whole series of interviews for the special occasion of 70th anniversary version of the special website and, um,
this is how we want to remember, and this is how we want to honor all those people worked at Normash. On behalf of Korean nation, I want to thank you, and thank to your father and all other veterans here, and I want to recognize and thank the Korean Embassy and Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of Republic of Korea. Thank you.
L: Thank you. And good luck.
I: Thank you.
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