Korean War Legacy Project

Finn Arne Bakke

Bio

Finn Bakke remembers the German occupation of Norway during World War II. He compares the occupation of Norway by Sweden, Denmark, and Germany at various times in the past century to the occupation of Korea by Japan and China. Finn Bakke was serving his mandatory one-year military service in the Norwegian Army when he was offered the opportunity to serve in Korea. He served as a private in the field hospital and as a worker in the PX. While working in the NORMASH field hospital, he met the Korean nurse whom he eventually married and spent the rest of his life. Although he himself had not studied Korea in school, his grandchildren grew up with a strong understanding of the Korean War.

Video Clips

Absorbed by the 8th US Army

Finn Bakke was an ordinary private in the 2nd and 7th contingents operating in the NORMASH field hospital. Although originally run by the International Red Cross, his unit was soon absorbed by the 8th United States Army. Staffed at first by Norwegian nurses and doctors, the hospitals began training Korean women just out of school. Finn Bakke's future wife was one such nurse. When the NORMASH unit closed, she joined the Red Cross hospital in Seoul, working in a ward built to treat Korean children with tuberculosis. Pressed to describe his attraction for his wife, Finn Bakke speaks admiringly her, stating, "She was a very nice girl."

Tags: Dongducheon,Impressions of Korea,South Koreans,Women

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF-wPnpLOHU&start=645&end=843

The Origins of NORMASH

Finn Bakke credits his experience in Korea to the first secretary-general of the United Nations, Norwegian Trygve Lie. Trygve Lie brought the plight of the Koreans to the Norwegian people, and Norway sent soldiers, doctors, and nurses to a field hospital to Korea. He explains three reasons he volunteered to go to Korea to work in a NORMASH hospital. First, he wanted to help. Second, he craved the excitement of traveling to the other side of the world. Finally, he needed money to begin his university studies. Although he was not trained as a nurse, he was able to provide basic first aid care at the field hospital.

Tags: Dongducheon,Home front,Impressions of Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF-wPnpLOHU&start=859&end=1084

Returning to Korea in 1983

When Finn Bakke returned to Korea with his wife in 1983, they were greeted by his wife's entire surviving family. He hardly recognized the Gimpo airport from 1953. Years later, the Korean government invited veterans' grandchildren to visit Korea in an effort to encourage the study of the Korean War. Finn Bakke struggled to choose which of his twelve grandchildren should go. When he contacted the board, they agreed to host all twelve. The trip turned into a huge family reunion with visits from family as far away as the United States. He is proud that his eldest grandson Dietrich knows so much about his Korean heritage.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Modern Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF-wPnpLOHU&start=2155&end=2437

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

F:         My name is Finn Arne Bakke,  F-I-N-N   R, A-R-N-E

I:          Um hm.

F:         B-A-K-K-E.

I:          Finn Bakke.
F:         Yeah.

I:          Yes.  What is your birthday?  Birthday?

F:         Birthday.

I:          Yeah.  When were you born?
F:         Twenty first of February, 1932

I:          So you are 87.

F:         Yeah.

I:          You just like 67.

0:00:30

F:         Oh no.  Uh, you know, all veterans must be at least 85 years now.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yeah.
I:          That’s, that’s what I am hearing.

F:         Yeah.

I:          And where were you born?

F:         Here in Oslo.

I:          Oslo.

F:         Yeah.

I:          And tell me about family background when you were growing up, when you were a child, about your father and mother and your sibling brothers and sisters if there is any, yeah.

0:01:00

F:         Yes.  Uh, uh, my mother was a housewife

I:          Uh huh.

F:         It was usual at that time.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

F:         And my father was, uh, a, uh, uh, worker.  He was electrician.

I:          Um.
F:         And, uh, I was, uh, the only child for 12 years.

I:          Um,

F:         then I had, had two brothers

I:          Um,

F:         In 1944 and 1945

I:          Um.  And tell me about the school

0:01:30

you went through.

F:         Uh, I went to a local school, uh, primary school

I:          Uh huh

F:         nearby and also the, uh, high school was nearby.

I:          I see.

F:         So I finished, uh, high school at the age of 18 years.

I:          When you were 18 years old.

F:         18, yeah.

I:          But there was a German

0:02:00

occupation during the World War II.

F:         Yeah, yeah, I remember that very well.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yep.

I:          Let’s talk about that.

F:         Uh, the German occupation started the nineth of April in 1914.

I:          Um hm.

F:         And, um, uh, uh, the Germans, uh, they were stopped at the, in [INAUDIBLE].  So they were delayed on their way

0:02:30

to Oslo.  So the government and the General Assemblies, many of them,

I:          Um

F:         they headed North, not to be taken prisoners.

I:          Ah.

F:         And finally the king and the government, uh, they reached, uh, Longdong, and they had, uh, provisional, uh, government during the whole War, War areas.

I:          Um.

0:03:00

F:         And very many Norwegians they flew to Sweden and onto England.

I:          Um.

F:         and even Canada.

I:          I see.

F:         And, uh, Norway had, uh, a rather big, uh, Army in, in England before the, the D Day.  And in, in Canada, there was a camp called Little Norway

I:          Um.

F:         where they  educated pilots.

0:03:30

So I remember the, the war time very, really well actually.
I:          Do you know that Korea was under the Japanese colonial control.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  Can you compare the German occupation of Norway and Japan’s occupation of Korea?

F:         Many times I’ve said, uh, I feel that Korea and Norway, they can fit very easily together,

0:04:00

understand each other

I:          Because of that

F:         I’m not, I’m, uh, my theory, uh, which I’ve launched several times, is that in many ways, we have the same history.

I:          Same history, yeah.

F:         You have been occupied by Japan or China for long periods

I:          Um hm.

F:         We have, uh, occupied first by Denmark 600 years, and Norway was also farmer country at that time.

I:          Um.

F:         No education.  If you had, if you wanted education, you had to go to Copenhagen.

I:          Um hm.

0:04:30

F:         And after one, uh, war, I think it was a Napoleon War, uh, Denmark lost and seemed to

0:05:00

I:          Sweden took over,  yes.

F:         And Sweden got the Norway.

I:          Um hm.

F:         So you were, was in union it was called a union with Sweden

I:          Um hm

F:         but, of course, uh, it was just like in Denmark, they have all the, uh, the important position.  But finally we, we got free in 1905.

I:          Um hm.

F:         Then the Union were dismissed.

I:          So which.

F:         So I feel we, we have  more or less the same history because most Denmark and Sweden, they had very big head authorities in Europe at, at, earlier stage.

I:          Yes.

F:         Yep.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yep.  So they were very important countries at that time.

0:05:30

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yep.  [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Finn, that’s a very good point.  I think we share a lot about  those, right?

F:         What they, it has, has been my duty and I launched it many times also when, uh, Korean, uh, uh, Korean, uh, Parliament delegation recited us for

I:          Um hm.

F:         some years ago and, and they, uh,

I:          So did you graduate high school?  Did you graduate high school?
F:         Yep.

I:          When?

0:06:00

19

F:         Uh, 1950.

I:          Fifty.

F:         Yeah.

I:          And what is the name of the high school?

F:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Could you spell it?

F:         R-I-S, it’s, uh, it’s very nearby where I live today.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         I live, also [STAMMERS] uh, near the, the, residents of the Korean Ambassador

I:          Ah.

F:         Yep.  Only five, five minutes walk.

0:06:30

I:          So Lis High School.

F:         Lis, yeah.

I:          L-I-S.

F:         Um, yeah.

I:          And when you were in the school,

F:         Yep.

I:          did you learn anything about Korea?

F:         No.

I:          Not at all?

F:         No.

I:          What about China and a, uh, Japan?  Did you learn anything about China and Japan?

F:         No

I:          Not at all?

F:         No.

I:          So not much about Asian history?

F:         No.

I:          No.  Not at all.

F:         They all were unknown to me.

I:          Uh.

F:         Yeah.

0:07:00

I:          And, so you didn’t know anything about  it.  But now you are the Korean War veteran from Norway.  What do you think about that?

F:         Um, well I, I, I, uh, you see, I had the Korean wife.

I:          Ah, yes.

F:         Yeah.

I:          That’s what I heard.

F:         Can I tell you about it?
I:          Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure.

F:         Okay.  No, um, uh, uh, I, I, uh, served from, uh, uh, November of ‘53

0:07:30

till November ’54.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         So it was after I met this, uh, and, uh, and, uh, in, uh, the beginning of 1954, uh, we didn’t have much, uh, to do.  So we took in very many, uh, Korean civilians.

I:          Yes.

F:         as peasants.  And the leadership found out  we have to, to engage, uh, ever, uh, eight, uh, Korean nurses.

I:          Um hm.

0:08:00

And they came and, uh, I worked together with them for some time.  I was a male, a male nurse

I:          Um hm.

F:         So I worked first in the,  in the operation tent

I:          Um hm.

F:         Originally I should, uh, be at the laboratory, uh.  But you might know we have the six-month contracts.  And the man in the laboratory here, he renewed his contracts.  So the position

0:08:30

was occupied when I came.    Um.  So I was put in the operation tent assist, assist there, for three months and the, and the second period, the three months, uh, I worked in Holding, you know, where the patient was held after operation, after treatment.

I:          Ah ha.

F:         And I worked, uh, very much with one of the Korean nurses

I:          Um.

F:         And, uh,

I:          You liked her.

F:         We, we got to know, know each other very good.

I:          Um.

0:09:00

F:         So when I left home, uh, I decided to write to her.  She came to Norway in ’57, so three years later and, uh, we married in ’61.

I:          Oh.

F:         We have three children and eight grandchildren.

I:          Wow.

F:         And, uh, my three children have been twice in Korea to, to visit relatives.

I:          Um hm.

F:         And the eldest, uh, uh,

0:09:30

grandson has been in Korea also twice. But all of them have been in Korea once.

I:          Excellent story.

F:         Yeah.

I:          So

F:         But my wife, she died, uh, almost two years ago.

I:          Oh, I’m sorry.

F:         from heart attack.

I:          I’m sorry to hear that.

F:         She was the age of 83.

I:          Let me ask several questions.  What is [Labor] 1?  You said that you were in the Labor 3, right?  Labor 3?

F:         In Korea?

I:          Yeah.  The, the,

0:10:00

what is the [Labor]1?  [Labor 3] you said.

F:         No, I, uh, there were, in, in total there were seven continents, continents

I:          Yeah.

F:         in, in Korea.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Everybody has six month contracts.

I:          Yes.

F:         Everybody was volunteer.

I:          But you said that you worked

F:         So I, I, I, uh, I was in the, the second and seventh long-terms.  It’s two last [continents] I was.

I:          But you said that you work as a male medic

0:10:30

nurse, and you said the labor 3, labor

F:         No.

I:          No?

F:         No.

I:          Oh, I’m sorry.  Okay.  And what about

F:         I was an ordinary, uh, private.

I:          Private.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         The third continent was driven by, uh, Red Cross, the first, the first one.

I:          Right.

F:         But it didn’t work well because, as you know, Red Cross [INAUDIBLE] treated everybody the same.

0:11:00

They are not on, on any side at all.

I:          Um.

F:         And, uh, it didn’t work very well together with a, with a, U.S. Army.

I:          I see.

F:         So the, the military took over from second continent

I:          Um hm.

F:         and we, uh, were part of a, 8th U.S. Army.

I:          Um.  Okay.  So tell me about the Korean nurse.  They came to Normash

0:11:30

after the Armistice, right?

F:         Yep.

I:          Were there, were there any Korean nurse before Armistice?
F:         Only one Korean doctor.

I:          One, okay.

F:         Um.  No nurses.  And they were just educated when they came to Normash.

I:          So

F:         But the Norwegian nurses, they were rather old compared with us because they, they didn’t dare to send young girls, Norwegian girls, to Korea.  So they were

0:12:00

more adults

I:          Um.

F:         than we were.  I was 20, 21 at that time.

I:          So then when you received the Korean nurse, they were, they were not trained as a nurse, right?

F:         Uh, they were not trained, no.

I:          So they begin to learn.  They begin to learn.

F:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          So they be

F:         because they came directly from the school.

I:          From the school.

F:         Yeah.

I:          So you guys trained them as a nurse, right?

0:12:30

F:         Yeah, more or less.  Of course we, we have Norwegian nurses, and we have Norweg, local Norwegian doctors, uh.,  No, I worked [INAUDIBLE] very well.

I:          But  they were not actually nurse.  They just graduate from school so that they have to  learn how to do all this things in the Normash.

F:         Yeah, I think so.

I:          Yeah.

F:         My wife, after, after the, um, after, when we closed down Normash, she, uh,

0:13:00

started a, the Red Cross hospital in Seoul.  Uh, and, uh, the Norwegian/Korean Association

I:          Um hm.

F:         They established an, um, small hospital for TB children.

I:          Yeah.

F:         And she transferred to that, that hospital in Seoul.  She stayed with [Norwegian and the, more Norwegian.]

I:          Um hm.

F:         And actually to leave Korea, she had to take a Norwegian exam

I:          Ah.

0:13:30

F:         to prove that she could manage in Norway.

I:          I see.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Um.  What did you like most about your wife when she was a nurse in Normash?  Why did you like her?  Anything you can say about her?  Beautiful or what, what is it?  What is, what is that attraction to ask her to marry you?

F:         Yeah.

0:14:00

No, she was a very nice girl, you know.  Um hm.

I:          Very nice girl.
F:         Yeah.

I:          And so let’s go back a little bit.  When did you leave for Korea and how?  Why did you volunteer to go to Korea?

F:         Uh,

I:          When was it?

F:         It was, uh, uh, I went to Korea in, uh, in November.

I:          Yeah.

F:         But I applied much earlier because in

I:          When?

0:14:30

F:         In, yeah, one, one year earlier approximately

I:          Um hm.

F:         because, uh, in ’52 I served my regular Army service in the Coast Artillery.

I:          So you were in the  military?

F:         No, you had to, to make the service.  No.  I, I, I’m, I’m not a military man.  No.

I:          No,  no, before you go to Korea

F:         I had one year service

I:          Right.
F:         which I had to have.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

F:         in ’52.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yeah.  And then I finished my service,

0:15:00

I applied for, for Normash.

I:          Um.  Why?  Why did you apply for Normash?

F:         Uh, I can be really honest with you.

I:          Yeah.

F:         First of all as you know, Norway had the first General Secretary of U.N.

I:          Yes.

F:         and he participated very much in the U.S., U.N. operations.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         And, it draws much talk about it in Norway due to that.

0:15:30

So the Norwegian government decided to send the field hospital so of course, it was just, so they sent, uh, I wanted to help

I:          Um.

F:         Secondly, uh, it was very far away that time, the opposite side of the world.  So it was very exciting.  And thirdly,

0:16:00

I needed money for my study because at that time, you had, you, you could not get money from the state depends, uh, the first year.  You have to study one year, and then you can apply for money from the state.

I:          I see.

F:         Yes.  So there are three reasons.

I:          Um.

F:         To me, they’re all equally important.  That’s, that’s the reason why.

0:16:30

I:          Thank you for being honest.  And did you, so did you get any training in Norway before you went to Korea as a male nurse?

F:         Uh, I had some, uh, Red Cross courses in first aid

I:          Um hm.

F:         and, uh, after that, I finished, uh, high school, I worked in a laboratory.

I:          What is labatree?

0:17:00

F:         Laboratory.

I:          Laboratory.  Okay.

F:         Laboratory.

I:          Okay.

F:         Yeah.  So I had experience in, in laboratory work, and I had some first aid courses, and I, I served my military service ready.

I:          Right.
F:         Yeah.  That was my qualification.

I:          So they didn’t ask you more qualification?  They didn’t train you as a male, um, nurse at all?

F:         No.

I:          No.

F:         No.

I:          What were you able to do at the time?

0:17:30

Were you able to inject?

F:         Yep.  Because, you know, in times like that, everybody had to help out as best as they can.

I:          Um  hm.

F:         So it was, I was, had some, during the War, uh, even the drivers had to do something other than driving, other than driving.

0:18:00

But of course, in my time, it was rather peaceful.  We had a lot of  mine explosions and traffic accidents and so on the first time.

I:          Um.

F:         But, uh,

I:          So you left for Korea, and when did you arrive exactly? Do you remember?  Where did you arrive, and how you arrived there?

F:         Uh, we have a civilian, uh, flight from Oslo, uh, and as you know, it was, uh, Cold War period.

I:          Um.

F:         So we couldn’t fly Eastern Europe or Soviet Union.

I:          Um.

F:         So we had to fly, uh, detour,

0:18:30

go all the way around.  So it took us 66 hours to get to Normash.

I:          Wow.

F:         because it was only one plane and, of course, the, the pilots and the other had to rest and sleep.

I:          Right.
F:         So they finally, uh, came to Tokyo because civilian airplane couldn’t land in, in Korea, of course, during the time, [INAUDIBLE]  So we went and, we were rather long

0:19:00

also in Tokyo for our flight to, to Korea.  And, uh, the flight was, uh, uh, they called them Flying Boxcar

I:          Um.

F:         Very big cars, uh, airplane.  We had a lot of equipment downstairs and, and, uh, and and personnel up, upstairs.

I:          Um.  So up to Tokyo, it was a civilian aircraft.  But from Tokyo to Korea, it was a military Air Force.

F:         Yeah, American.

0:19:30

I:          Got it.

F:         Yeah.
I:          And where did you arrive, in Kimpo?

F:         Yep.

I:          Okay.  And that was, uh, November, early November in 1953?

F:         Yep.

I:          Do you remember the date?|

F:         No.

I:          No.  And from Kimpo, where did you go?  Did you go to [Dungachun] or Uijeongbu?

F:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          [Dungachun]?

F:         Yeah, it was, uh, Normash was located.

0:20:00

I:          Right.

F:         Yeah.

I:          So that was [Dungachun], right?

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yes.

F:         About 40 kilometers North of Seoul.
I:          Yes.

F:         that time.

I:          Tell me, give me a honest description of your feelings about Korea for the first time.  You were looking for some country far South from Norway.  You didn’t know much about it.  And you saw Korea for the first time, Korean people, Korean landscape,

0:20:30

Korean cities.  What was it?  Tell me.  Describe detail please.

F:         The city I saw was rather, totally destroyed as you know.  As far as I know, all the four gates were standing.  They were not destroyed as far as I can remember.  But compared with the rest, they were tall buildings at that time.

I:          Um.

0:21:00

F:         Today, you can hardly find them

I:          Um hm.

F:         anymore.  But, of course, um, it was very crowded with Koreans, of course, everywhere.  And, uh, they all looked the same, uh.  But, uh, I feel that they started to work, uh, as a, in, uh, Normash, it was about 100 Norwegian.

0:21:30

Out of them, 60, uh, in the hospital area

I:          Um.

F:         The rest of them were guards.  They were, uh, drivers.  They were, uh, personnel in the Mess and so on.
I:          Um hm.

F:         And in addition, we have about 60 Korean civilians

I:          Um.

F:         who  helped us out with

I:          Who are they?  What did they do?

F:         Uh, they,

0:22:00

they were guards, on guard.  They had only one, uh, they had always one Norwegian and one Korean together.

I:          What else?

F:         They helped us, uh, in several ways.

I:          Like what?

F:         Uh, the heating system, taking care of the heating system.

I:          Um hm.

F:         And I, in, in the winter it was, uh, could be 50 into 70 and 10 degrees below zero nighttime.  In the daytime,

0:22:30

you can, uh, sit in, uh, without clothes at all, daytime.  So it was very big difference between night temperature and day temperature

I:          Um.

F:         in wintertime.
I:          Um hm.

F:         So we, we learned, uh, to know Koreans, uh, actually rather quickly, long before, uh, before the nurses came.

I:          Um.

F:         because we talked to them every day and night.  Of course, they were very, they were very,

0:23:00

uh, despite of the situation, they looked very  happy.  Uh, of course they, they, uh, had their job, a salary.

I:          That’s a very good thing for them, yeah.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Uh, and so, so it’s very, it was very good, uh,

I:          environment.

F:         environment, yeah.

I:          And you had the very good relationship with Korean people.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Um.

F:         I feel most Norwegian [help] actually.

I:          I’m sorry?

F:         Most Norwegian had

0:23:30

had a good relationship with Koreans as far as I know.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Of course,  when [INAUDIBLE] came in, uh, in 1953, uh, there were quite unusual to see a Korean or Japanese or Chinese in the city.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         So, of course, they, uh, were looking.  They were turning around and looking because they weren’t used to it.

I:          Um hm.

F:         But it was no, no problem.

0:24:00

And when my, my, I managed to get my wife, uh, a job at the [INAUDIBLE] hospital here in Oslo.   And, uh, I think for two months, she had a, a little less pay than the ordinary nurse.  But after two months, she had the full pay and was very, very relieved, accepted.  No problems at all.

I:          Very good.

F:         Yeah.  Very

I:          Um hm.

F:         No problem.

I:          So you arrived there in November ’53.

0:24:30

So mostly you treated Korean people, not soldiers.

F:         Uh, [STAMMERS] in the first period, it was a lot of soldiers, too.

I:          Too?

F:         Yeah.

I:          What kind of?  I mean, War was ended already, right?

F:         Oh, it was a lot of accidents the first period after the, after the Armistice.

I:          Um hm.

F:         Uh, mine explosions.

I:          I see.

F:         Traffic accidents and so on.

I:          Or

F:         But I think early in ’50, uh,  next, maybe

0:25:00

in February or so, it was mostly Korean patients.

I:          So for the Koreans, what kind of, uh, disease was the main thing?  I mean, what, what are the things that you actually treat?

F:         Oh, I don’t know exactly.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         because, you see, the six, uh, last months of my service in Korea

I:          Yeah

F:         I was in charge of PX, you know, the Postage Stamp system.

I:          Um hm.

0:25:30

F:         So I was in charge there for six last month.

I:          Ah.

F:         Yep.
I:          I see.

F:         Yep.  So I left, uh, the hospital area.

I:          I see.

F:         Yep.

I:          But at the time, you were dating with the Korean, your wife, right?

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  Very good.  Any, what are the things that you really bothered you while you were there

0:26:00

in Korea in Normash or in PX?  What are the things that most difficult or was the things that you couldn’t stand?  What are the, what is it?  If I ask you to pinpoint just one.

F:         I couldn’t find one.

I:          You didn’t have any problem?
F:         No.

I:          No, no difficult?
F:         No.  Not at all.

I:          Not at all.
F:         No.  The only one is, uh, when I

0:26:30

picked up goods for the  PX, we had to stop at the railway crossing, and then, uh, some went up and, and stole some more raincoats.  That is only.  So after that, I was armed when, when I went to pick up.

I:          Oh, I see, I see.

F:         No, no.  There was no problem.  No.  I didn’t

0:27:00

have any problem at all.

I:          Um.  Were you able to write letter back to your family at the time?

F:         Yeah, no problem.

I:          Wow.

F:         No.

I:          No?

F:         No, yeah, no problem to write.

I:          So did you write often?  How often did you write?

F:         Uh, maybe once a month.
I:          Once a month.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Did you write about your girlfriend, Korean girlfriend, to your family?

F:         No, no, no.

I:          Not at all?

F:         No, no.  We, we started to, I started to write to her

0:27:30

when I came home.
I:          Um.

F:         back.  And, uh, she answered.  But it took her a long time.

I:          Must be.

F:         before she announced it.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Uh, and but, uh, but uh, [INAUDIBLE] it came more often.  And my father said to me once, um, uh, you have got a letter from, from

0:28:00

a man in Korea he said.  Oh no.  It’s not a man.  It’s a girl [INAUDIBLE] he took it very easy, uh.  And, uh, my mother and, uh, and, uh, father, they, t hey never complained and, uh, never, they were quite okay

I:          Supportive

F:         Yeah, support, yeah.  No problem.

I:          Excellent.  Were there any other, uh, Normash

0:28:30

male, uh, Norwegian actually married with a Korean woman except you?  Do you know of any other

F:         Yeah.  Uh, I know only one.

I:          You the only one.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         Yep.  And he worked, uh, I think three periods for, for Normash, 1 ½ years, and afterwards he worked for [UNKA] or something, yeah. It’s a international organization.

I:          Um.

F:         But they finally came to Norway and settled down in Norway.

0:29:00

I:          And do you remember any special episode of Koreans or the soldiers that you remember and was kind of a special cases or treatment, anything you remember?

F:         Eh, you mean

I:          In the No, in the Normash.

F:         Yeah, [STAMMERS]

I:          Yeah, patients.

F:         Well, uh, the most difficult

0:29:30

thing for me was, uh, when a Korean died and, uh, uh, and my wife and me, we had to take care, care of the body after its’ and, uh, [INAUDIBLE] We had to take it to the morgue house and, and, and, and, uh, do it properly, you know.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         Uh, that ‘s, my wife, she was very, very afraid

0:30:00

So I had to do the most of the job.

I:          So you and your wife, future wife, worked together a lot.

F:         Yes, yes, yes.

I:          in Normash.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Um.

F:         Yeah.  But for, for only a short period then.

I:          Rather, yeah.

F:         because I took PX.

I:          I see.

F:         Yeah.

I:          So after the War, were there any shortage

0:30:30

of  medicine or, um, were there any changes after the War, in Normash operation?

F:         No, I don’t think so.

I:          No.

F:         No.  Everything went, went along as before.  And much of the equipment, uh, left over, uh, was given to Red Cross Hospital in Seoul.

I:          Right .

F:         Wasn’t not, uh, not, uh, heavy equipment but, uh, daily equipment and so on.

I:          Ah ha.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Have you,

0:31:00

were you able to go visit Seoul at the time?  Did you see Seoul City?
F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Tell me about  the city you saw.  How was it?

F:         Uh, crowded as I said

I:          Uh huh

F:         and a lot of black market, marketing of course, uh, and, and, um, uh, we, uh, uh, we didn’t use, uh, Korean dollars.  The currency was called

I:          Script.  Yeah.

F:         Yeah.

0:31:30

But when we left Korea, we could change, uh, our script into real dollars.  So they have the most, same system in, in Japan because Japan was still occupied by U.S. at the time.

I:          Yeah.  And when you left Korea, did you tell anything to your future wife?  What’s her name?

F:         Yukin, Lie Yukin

I:          Could you spell it?

0:32:00

F:         L-E-E

I:          Yeah.

F:         Ee, yeah, yeah.  L-E-E

I:          Uh..

F:         Uh, E, I can write it down.

I:          Yes.   Please write it later.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Did you tell her that you going to do anything or did you tell her that you going to pose to marriage?  Did you say that you want to marry to her/

F:         No.

I:          You didn’t say anything?

F:         No.

I:          Ah.

F:         It  was, uh, no intimacy in Korea.

0:32:30

I:          No intimacy in Korea.

F:         No.

I:          Ah.

F:         No, no.

I:          What about  her?

F:         [INAUDIBLE] fond of each other.

I:          Ah?

F:         We were fond of each other.

I:          Right.

F:         Yeah.

I:          But  how did she react when you left Korea?  Did she cry?

F:         No, actually not.

I:          No?

F:         No, no.

I:          Um.

F:         No.

I:          I see.

F:         Um.

I:          And now you know that Korean economy is really good, right?

F:         Oh yes.

0:33:00

I:          One of the strongest in the world.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Do you know the rank of Korean economy?  Do you know the rank of the Korean economy?

F:         No, no, no.

I:          It’s the 11th largest in the world.

F:         Oh, okay.

I:          Eleventh.

F:         Um hm.

I:          Can you believe that?
F:         No.  Yes, I believe it because, uh, Koreans, they are very, uh, they have good education, they work hard.

0:33:30

So I, I believe it, no doubt about it.  What they did is, uh, quite amazing.

I:          Yeah.

F:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          When you left Korean in 1954, Korea was completely devastated, right?

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          There was nothing much, right?

F:         No.

I:          There was no car, no, no nothing.

F:         No.

I:          No electronics.

F:         No, no.

I:          So my question is had you ever thought that  Korea would become like this today when you left Korea in ’54?

0:34:00

F:         No, no, no, no.  Of course not.

I:          So when did you go back to Korea?

F:         Uh, I was on a revisit tour in ’83, 1983 and 2010.

I:          And did you go with your wife, Mrs. Lee?

F:         Yes, yeah,

I:          Ah ha.

F:         Yeah, um hm.

I:          Must have been really

F:         But the second time, my wife, she wouldn’t go.  So I took a grandson with me.

I:          Why not?

F:         I don’t know.  But she,

0:34:30

she had been in Korea many, many times during the, the years, of course.

I:          Um hm.

F:         So, so she, uh, went, we went together in, uh, in, uh, ’83 and, uh, I stayed for one week, uh, the usual time

I:          Yeah.

F:         for a revisit

I:          Yeah.

F:         But she stayed home for, for another week.

I:          Um.  With her family?

F:         Yeah.

I:          Ah hah.

F:         But, of course, I had never met her family before.

I:          Ah.

0:35:00

F:         And her parents were long dead in ’83.  But she had an elderly, elder brother, very nice man, very nice man, and a sister.  And her sister, she’s in, uh, in  the USA.

I:          Ah hah.

F:         Yeah.  They immigrated to USA..  Her husband was a, uh, ser, uh, a service in, uh, Viet Name during the Viet Nam War, and they have

0:35:30

no problems in getting, coming to the USA.

I:          Yeah.  How was it to go back to Korea with your wife as Korean nurse that you worked together in 1983?  And looking at all those changes, how was it?  Tell me about those, the, the day that you landed in Korea in 1983 with your wife, together.

F:         Yes, of course.  In ’83, we landed in Kimpo Airport,

0:36:00

of course, and we were taken very good care of, of, uh, her relatives, her brother and the family.  As you know, when someone is coming or leaving, they, mostly the whole family is, is attended at the airport.

I:          Ah hah.

F:         Yeah.  So we were already well accept ed, very well.  No problem.

I:          And how was Kimpo Airport changed?  When you were, you landed in Kimpo Airport

0:36:30

in 1953, right?

F:         No, no.  Yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         I, I don’t, I’m not quite sure.  Was it, was it the military airport as well?

I:          You, yeah, in Kimpo

F:         Okay.

I:          But when you landed in 8, 1983, how was it changed?  You saw Kimpo in 1953 and 1983.

F:         So it was quite the normal air, uh, quite normal [STAMMERS] quite well.

I:          Quite well.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yeah.

0:37:00

I:          How about Seoul in 1983 and 2010?  How Seoul changed?

F:         Now, of course, pretty much also rebuilded.  But actually we, we, uh, we were not so much, uh, in, in, in Seoul actually.

I:          Um hm.  And in 2010, you said that you took your grandchild, grandson.

0:37:30

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Why?

F:         Eh, I just, [STAMMERS] In 2010, they started to in, to invite grandchildren also because, I think the reason why they wanted, uh, to create new, new relations.  So my eldest grandson,

0:38:00

he was the, the first period he was, uh, the, the, it was the first time they invited young children.

I:          Ah hah.

F:         And Norway as there are no, uh, were a small unit in, in Korea,

I:          Um.

F:         So we, we,  uh, we could only have two participants.  But  we had, uh, uh, 12 who wanted to go.  Of course we, we, uh, we had to spread

0:38:30

the news about, uh, the, the veterans

I:          Uh huh

F:         and we had 12 in total.  So, and the board [INAUDIBLE] said every, all 12  are, are qualified.  So we had to make a draw.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Uh, At the same time we, uh, took it up with Embassy if we could have some more

I:          Uh huh.

F:         and the answer was you can send all 12.

I:          All 12?

F:         Yeah.

I:          Wow.

0:39:00

That’s very good.

F:         And then they said not only for one week but for two weeks.  A second week they have a march along the, uh, demilitarized zone for one week.

I:          Um hm.

F:         Yeah.  That was the eldest  one.

I:          What, what, what’s his name?

F:         Uh, Deidricht.

I:          Deidricht?

F:         Deidricht.

I:          Deidricht.

F:         Yeah.

I:          And did Deidricht know anything about Korea before he went to Korea with  you in 2010?

0:39:30

Did he know anything about Korea?

F:         Of course he had seen all my pictures and, uh, yes.  I, you know, at that time, uh, of course, you know a lot more about Korea than in my earlier days.

I:          Um.

F:         So he was rather well prepared.

I:          How did he like it?

F:         No, he liked it very much.  Was, uh, and, all grandchildren

0:40:00

are very happy to go to Korea.

I:          Um.

F:         And, uh, this, uh, Easter, there, there were, uh, uh, a family reunion in Korea.  Some came from USA

I:          Uh huh

F:         fourteen from Norway, and they met, uh, the relatives in Korea.

I:          Wow.

F:         So they spent 10 days in Korea.  And,  uh, of course, I could have attended, but I’m too old now so I prefer to be home.

0:40:30

But they sent me a lot of, uh, picture.  Everybody looks happy and, uh, they had a very good time.

I:          Ah hah. So now in Norwegians, they owe their ship building to Korea  More than 50% of their total

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          need

F:         for many years.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Do you know any other economic corporation between Norway and Korea now?

0:41:00

No, I don’t think so.

I:          Not really?

F:         No.

I:          Um hm.  Is

F:         Are there, are there many?

I:          Yeah.  I mean, the Koreans import a lot of fish from Norway, too

F:         Oh yeah.

I:          yes, and

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  And, uh, what do you think is

0:41:30

F:         Car, oh, yes, of course, cars.

I:          Cars?

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Korean cars here?

F:         Hyundai.

I:          Hyundai?

F:         Yeah, yeah.  Lots of them

I:          Lots of them.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Is that popular?

F:         Yeah, rather.  They, they have just, uh, launched, uh, an electric, new electric cars also I think.

I:          Yeah.

F:         As far as I remember.

I:          Um hm.

F:         Uh huh.

I:          So any other special story that you remember while you were there, in Korea?

0:42:00

F:         No, actually not.

I:          Not really?

F:         No.

I:          No?  Were there any dangerous moments?

F:         No, not at all.

I:          Not at all.

F:         No.

I:          Okay.  So what do you think about, do you know that Norway and Norwegian schools, do they teach about the Korean War now?  Do they teach about the Korean War that you fought  for?

0:42:30

No?

F:         Not much.

I:          Uh.

F:         I don’t think so.

I:          You don’t think so, right?

F:         No.

I:          You know, out of, uh, ashes, out of total devastation you saw that, right?
F:         Um hm.

I:          The 11th largest economy came out of it and very strong democracy in Korea

F:         Yeah.

I:          Why don’t we talk about it?  Why, why is it known as Forgotten War?  The War that you fought for has been known as the Forgotten War.

F:         Yeah, yeah, I know.

0:43:00

I:          Why is that?  Why don’t we talk more about it?

F:         Uh, I think you, you know, it’s happening so much in the world today, and the communication is so good.  So you know the story.  As soon as it happens, you know the story all over the world.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         So I think most focus are on today and tomorrow’s happenings.

I:          I see.

0:43:30

F:         I, I think that’s the reason why.

I:          Um hm.  Uh, is there a Norwegian Korean War Veterans Association here, right?
F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.  What, what do they do, and how many members do you have there?

F:         Uh, I should have count, counted our list before I left this morning

I:          Uh huh

F:         But I forgotten it.  But I think, uh, it didn’t, you didn’t ask, uh, Lucie?

I:          Yeah, I, I

F:         about it?

I:          Yes.

F:         She’d know exactly because she is in charge

0:44:00

of the, of that.

I:          Yeah.

F:         But I, I, I would, uh, I would think, uh, maybe 30 veterans are still living

I:          Still living.

F:         Of course, they are living all over the country.  And we don’t have contact with everybody because it, it doesn’t  have a, that possibility.  At the, at the, at the annual meeting, there are about 10 veterans I think attending the annual [INAUDIBLE] meeting.

I:          T hat’s it.

0:44:30

F:         Yeah, um hm.  But there’s 100 people coming because, uh, you have the whole Embassy and, and the, some of their guests and of course Norwegian military guests and so on.

I:          Yeah.  So only 10

F:         And the, ask them what their, Lucie is the President of the Korean/Norwegian Friendship Organization

I:          Yes.

F:         And they are also invited to this meeting.

I:          Um.

F:         Yeah.

I:          When is it, November 11?

0:45:00

F:         Fifteenth I think is it.

I:          So you going to meet soon again.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         But I, it has to be as the, it’s, uh, if your veterans who can attend the other meeting.

I:          Um.

F:         So this year, they all, the, the Embassies, uh,

0:45:30

contribution, have a contribution to this meeting

I:          Um  hm.

F:         and, uh, Nils and Lucie they took it up in the Embassy if we should, uh, make a, um, much easier and smaller other meeting.

I:          I see.

F:         But, uh, the answer was we continue as before.

I:          Um hm.

F:         So.  I mean, uh, there’s, they,

0:46:00

Koreans have been saying [INAUDIBLE] for so many years.

I:          Um.

F:         But you, I tried to find out when they started the revisit tours.  But, uh, I asked the Embassy once, but they didn’t give any answer. I think ’83 was, it was 30 years after the War, Armistice?  So maybe it started in ’83, the revisit tours.

I:          The actual  revisit

0:46:30

started in 1970’s.

F:         Oh.

I:          Yeah.

F:         That early.

I:          Yeah.  but NPBA was not in charge at the time.

F:         Okay.

I:          It was, uh, Korean Veteran’s Association

F:         Yeah.

I:          that was in charge

F:         Uh huh.

I:          But now it’s run by NPVA.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Oh.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Um hm.

I:          And you have a very good relationship with the Korean Embassy here, right?

F:         Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.   What do they do for the veterans?

F:         Uh,

0:47:00

We just celebrated the 10 years anniversary for, uh, Norwegian/Korean Friendship Association in the Embassy.

I:          Ah hah.  Yeah.  It was a, it was founded in 2009, right?

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Uh huh.

I:          Yeah.

F:         And Lucie has been the President since that time.

I:          Yes.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Lucie’s been very helpful.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          And I had a wonderful time with her last night.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Okay.
I:          Yeah, yeah.  We had a dinner in the, the

0:47:30

peace, uh, bell area.

F:         Yeah, yeah.  [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yes, yeah, yeah.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          And that’s where you live?

F:         Uh, yeah, it’s the same area.

I:          Yes, yes.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Um hm.

F:         Um hm.

I:          So after you come back, what did you do here in Norway from Korea?  What did you do?  What was your job?

F:         Uh, my, I worked in a laboratory, uh, and then I started the, started, uh, to study in Munich, Germany.  So I studied it

0:48:00

from, uh, ’53 until, uh, yeah, five years approximately.

I:          Um hm.  What did you study?
F:         Chemistry.

I:          Chemistry.
F:         Yeah.

I:          So after that, what did you do?

F:         Well, I was a chief chemist in that same laboratory

I:          In Germany?

F:         [INAUDIBLE] laboratory.

I:          Yeah.  In Germany.

F:         Partly [INAUDIBLE] river at that time, yeah.

I:          Uh huh.

0:48:30

So what would you say to Korean people and Korean government for  the case of, for the, for the 70th anniversary of the Korean War breakout next year?  Is there any message that you want to say to Korean people in this interview?  What would you say about your service there as a Normash and your relationship with Korea?

0:49:00

F:         No, of course, uh, as I married a Korean, it, uh, that was a direction I took of course, and it, it has been a part of me my whole life actually.  So.  But, but, uh, uh, my wife said very often, uh, that she

0:49:30

of course, uh, there were big differences in, in our countries.  But my wife, she adapted very quickly actually.

I:          Um hm.

F:         And she said many times that she, uh, she, uh, was happy about her stay in Norway.

I:          This is beautiful country.

F:         Yeah, yeah.  Um hm.

I:          And blessed with oil.

F:         She, she never dreamed about, uh,

0:50:00

moving back to Korea because when she, she has eight grandchildren that means a lot of a Korean originally.  I, I don’t know how it is today, but, uh, in older days, of course, the, the big family was very important to them.
I:          Yes.

F:         especially old, the old people.

I:          Yeah.

F:         So it’s, of course it’s, it’s changing hopefully in Korea I suppose.  But I,

0:50:30

uh, when I went back, I, I traveled much in, in, uh, Japan, flew to Hiroshima,

I:          Um hm.

F:         and, uh, took a train to Japan and so on.  But I feel they had lost the, much more than Korean in that, uh,

I:          Um hm.

F:         I, I think that the Koreans are much clever in keeping their original culture

0:51:00

I:          Hm, hm, hm.

F:         than Japan.  I don’t know.  But the, that’s my, my opinion.

I:          Okay.

F:         Huh.

I:          So you have a full, half Korean, half Norwegian grandchildrens and your descendants all over.

F:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          Uh huh.

F:         Um hm.

I:          Do you meet them often?

F:         Yeah, the ones in Norway I meet rather often.

I:          Yeah huh

F:         because, uh, too much are located here in Oslo and, uh, the eldest one in Lillehammer that’s not so far away.

I:          Um hm.

0:51:30

F:         No, so I’m real happy with my life.

I:          Very good.  Any other special message you want to say or any story that you want to say to this interview?
F:         Looking at him, President, I, as you know, Germany was reunited

0:52:00

in ’89 or something like that.

I:          Yeah.  1990.

F:         Yeah.  And they still have problems.  There are still West and East Germany.

I:          Exactly.

F:         After so many  years.  So if North Korea and South Korea should go together

I:          Um hm.

F:         in my opinion, that is  not easy.  It’s not the, only the high

0:52:30

political problems.  I think that would create, uh, a lot of problems in total actually.

I:          Um hm.

F:         It’s very pessimistic.  Very pessimistic.

I:          But that’s the reality.  There are lots of problems in Germany between former East and former West.

F:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

F:         Um.

I:          Yeah.

0:53:00

What do you think about current, uh, di, dialogue between North Korea’s Kim Jung Un and U.S. President Trump?

F:         I don’t think it’s gonna work out because, uh, they cannot keep their atomic weapons.  Then they have  nothing at all.

I:          That’s right.

0:53:30

That’s the most important issue, and they cannot just go over and say being in love with each other.  Alright.  Finn, it’s been a very nice conversation and, uh, I want to thank you on behalf of Korean nation, that you did for Korean people in Normash from 1953 to ’54.

0:54:00

You married Korean woman, and you have a full Korean descendants here in Norway.

F:         Yep.

I:          And that’s a very special relationship.  Thank you.

F:         You’re welcome.

 

 

[End of Recorded Material]