Korean War Legacy Project

Soonae Enberg


Soonae Enberg was born in Seoul, Korea, in 1930. She grew up under Japanese occupation and eventually started school at the very competitive Seoul National Medical School. However, he life was drastically changed when the war broke out while she was in college. She shares her memories of the war’s earliest days. She also remembers the difficult decisions her family had to make when they moved south to escape the fighting. It is there that she found herself helping at a Swedish hospital. Soonae Enberg eventually married a Swedish man and moved to his country, a place that she admires very much. She is thankful for the progress that Korea has made since the war.

Video Clips

When the War Broke Out

Soonae Enberg was a college student at Seoul National Medical School when the war broke out. She shares what she saw as she found out about the war, including tanks coming very close to her. Not knowing what to do, she started to run towards home.

Tags: Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,South Koreans

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Difficult Decisions in the Family

Soonae Enberg and her family had to make a lot of difficult decisions during the war, including separating so that some could stay and run the family business. She recalls going south with her uncle. When they arrived, there were many patients in need of care and Soonae Enberg shares how she had to put into practice what she learned in college.

Tags: Living conditions

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Direct Result of the Korean War

Soonae Enberg’s life was changed tremendously by the Korea War, but she credits the war for the good life that she has. She explains how meaningful the Swedish hospital in Korea was to her and many others. She is very thankful for the Swedish contribution to the Korean War and their country today.

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Video Transcript


[Beginning of recorded material]

S:         My name is Soonae Engberg.

I:          Um.

S:         Eh

I:          Can you spell it?

S:         Yes.  S-O-O-N-A-E    E-N-G-B-E-R-G.

I:          And you have original Korean name.

S:         Yes.  It is my family name is Lee.

I:          Lee.

S:         L-E-E.

I:          E.  So when were your born?


In Seoul.  It’s capital of South Korea.

I:          Yes.  And when were you born?  Your birthday.
S:         Yes.  Nineteen-thirty

I:          Um.

S:         March 28th.
I:          Twenty-eighth.

S:         So I am nearly 19, 90 years old soon.

I:          I cannot believe that.

S:         Yes, you should.

I:          You are


now 89?

S:         Yes.

I:          Do you agree?
S:         Yes, my daughter

I:          Her face is not 89 year old.

FEMALE VOICE:  No, not at all.

I:          Unbelievable.  What is, what is the secret?

S:         Secret is [SWEDISH] nice air and, uh, the circumstances and beautiful weather.  Yes.

I:          It is beautiful country.

S:         Thank you.

I:          Yeah.  And so tell me about your family background when you were


S:         Yes.

I:          growing up.

S:         Yes.
I:          What your father and mother and brothers and sisters.

S:         Yes.  My family was, uh, very, uh, they got very high educated [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

S:         And, uh, my father was, uh, involved in, uh, political

I:          Oh.

S:         And, uh, uh, my uncle and my mother’s family was very famous and rich, and we had


to pay the to, to university education.  So I actually had medical, uh, medical, uh, Seoul University.
I:          Um.

S:         I studied the second and third year, uh, the work came to Korea.

I:          Hm.  So what high school then did you graduate?

S:         Uh, my, uh, I have, uh, not finished there.


But the third year, and it was, uh, Seoul Medical University.

I:          No, no, no.  High school.

S:         High school.

I:          Yeah.

S:         [Parwha].

I:          Parwha.  Very famous

S:         Yes, very famous.

I:          Yeah.  So you graduated [Parwha] High School

S:         Yes

I:          In 19

S:         Uh, Parwha is in 1947.

I:          Nineteen forty-seven.

S:         Yes.

I:          So tell me about this.  You are under the Japanese Colonial control

S:         Yes.  Yes.


I:          And how was it to leave as a Korean during the Japanese Colonial control?

S:         Oh yes.  At that time, we were occupied with the Japanese people

I:          Um hm.

S:         and all my teacher was Japanese.
I:          Hm.

S:         So I couldn’t speak fluently and right and, uh, we did not use Korean languages in School.

I:          Um hm.  And


so you were in this whole National University Medical School.

S:         Yes.

I:          That’s a very prestigious University.
S:         Oh, yes.  Yes.

I:          Hm.  And then war broke out.
S:         Yes.

I:          So what happened?
S:         I had been in, uh, medical high school, uh, medical university.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And at that time, we, uh, beginning of this university period, uh, we were only just for women,


uh, women’s, uh, university.  But, uh, later, two years later, we would be together with the men and, uh, boys and, uh, the girls.

I:          Um hm.

S:         Together.  So we have begun just in Seoul at that time, uh, the University of Medical.

I:          Uh huh.

S:         Yes, Seoul University.

I:          So when the War broke out, where did you go?


S:         Oh yes.  And then, uh, I have a son in the school, university. Then, uh, the, the guard of, uh, university, they came to us with very pain face. You should go home because, uh, it’s the, uh, work begin.  So we just wondered, uh, what is happening?

I:          Um.

S:         I came out


and, uh, the    tank, uh, was, uh, came to the, very near to the University.  And then I just wonder how I should go to, I have lived in [Tonamdung].

I:          [Tonamdung]

was, uh, very near from [Haewadung].

I:          Yes.

S:         Yes.

I:          I graduate [Tongsung] High School.

S:         Ah, I see.

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

S:         Yeah. [INAUDIBLE]




I:          So speak in English.

S:         So I came to South and there how I should go home very quickly.  And then the tank was coming, so many tanks and the North Korean soldiers with the guns and everything.  So I just matter how is, how the War is begin, and, uh,


I was just tremble the house that I go very quickly.  But, uh, sometimes our, I, I saw the, uh, street.  There are many dead people

I:          Already?

S:         Yes.  You know if we are not carefully, they can just, uh, shoot gun.

I:          So?

S:         So I just had gone halfway home, Tonamdong.


It’s very near from the Syngmanli President’s, u, house.  And I came to home and, uh, my family was together.

I:          Um hm.

S:         and they, they were not talking too much about how we should, should do.  And then, uh, my cousin has started Seoul University


engineer and very famous person to help to [Pakjungli President]  We did, uh, inter, internet and everything because he has went into, uh, U.S.A. and, uh, then I came to Sweden and, uh, he started very much and, uh, uh, went into Korea and, uh,


helped, uh, president [Pak]

I:          Hm.

S:         Um, at that time, I was in, uh, Sweden.

I:          Yes.  So did you, did you go somewhere else,

S:         Yes.

I:          Or did you stay in Seoul?

S:         Yes.  It was terrible.  It was, um, when, uh, the War, Korean War began, uh, we, we didn’t know how we should act.

I:          Um.

S:         My cousin has sent to us, Seoul, my home,


and, uh, we should escape so soon, as soon as possible.  And then, uh, my brother and I and, uh, my uncle was a, a doctor, uh.  We escaped to South.  Why my father and mother and two, my younger sister and brother,


they just waiting because my father has a company of the, uh, newspapers.  So he has to

I:          What newspaper was it?

S:         Uh, I think, I just remem, couldn’t, I think [INAUDIBLE] perhaps.

I:          Toma?

S:         [Tunibol]

I:          So your father owns it?

S:         Uh, not owned.  But, uh, he has, uh, with somebody together.

I:          Together.

S:         They had, yes.
I:          Okay.

S:         So they should, uh, come after us.


I:          Hm.

S:         Uh, I and, uh, my younger brother, uh, and, uh, my, uh, uh, uncle, uh, we have, uh, escaped to, uh, [Tongu]

I:          [Tongu]

S:         Yes.  Then he became the Chief of the, there were very many, uh, tents here and there.  And we have got, uh, many


patients had wound, uh.

I:          Um.

S:         So I did not, uh, uh, have some experience to take care of a patient.

I:          Um hm.

S:         But he gave me the order, go, and, uh, to give a patient injection.  So it was first time

I:          Hm.

S:         and, uh, I

I:          You were actually able to practice

S:         Yes.


I:          what you learned from the school.

S:         Yes, yeah.  And uh, uh, later then, uh, we have a move, my father and me, because we’re, we [INAUDIBLE] at my mother and, uh, the other one, uh, family of stuff, they had been reached Pusan.  So we came to Pusan.  Pusan is South, uh, of the end of Korea.


I:          Um hm.

S:         And, uh, I saw very many, uh, my friends of University

I:          Um hm

S:         they, uh, say something in the street, and I was surprised because I know that their family was very rich people.  They just, uh, get down and, uh, said something.  And then, uh, my best friends in, in University, uh,


she came to, she’s [MEJA HAN]

I:          Um.
S:         doctor in U.S.A..  Uh, she came to Pusan, escaped before than me

I:          Hm.
S:         And, uh, she’s, she was working in the American Army. And then, uh, just a

I:          When are you talking about?  Are you talking about now August and September of 1950?

S:         Nineteen fifty, yes.

I:          Yes.
S:         Yes.
I:          Yes.  Keep going please.  Sorry.


S:         Yes.  And, uh, uh, it was, uh, we have been in [TUNGJU] 1952, ’50 to ’51.

I:          Um.

S:         And then, uh, it was very, uh, I have worked there because, uh, my, my friend’s, uh, introduction.  And they have accepted me and my English at that time.


I was younger and I was very good in English.

I:          Already.

S:         Yes because I have [INAUDIBLE]

I:          The speech?

S:         Speech, yes.  I have, had English speech in high school.

I:          Oh.

S:         But not now because I

I:          You haven’t used it much, right?
S:         Yes, yes.  And, um.


I:          So the whole family went down to Pusan?

S:         Pusan, yes.

I:          Okay, yes.

S:         Yes.  And then I worked in American Army as a secretary

I:          Um.

S:         Um.  The Chief was very kind, and at the time we just have only a few close and we have not so much to change.  But he could send from his family Sears Roebuck Company and then buy


something suitable towards to me.  And in the War time, my friend was very bad [INAUDIBLE] but I have had very nice and, yes.

I:          You were very lucky.

S:         Yes, yes.  But I could understand it.  So I just wonder because, um, I have not any kinds of


boys contact in Korea.  My family was told every time we [INAUDIBLE]  So I couldn’t take it more.  So I have changed my work to Swedish Red Cross Hospital.

I:          Uh huh.

S:         Because I just thought that someday I should go back to medicine student , and I will be doctor.

I:          Um.


So how did you, how did you make that transfer from U.S. Army to Swedish Red Cross Field Hospital?

S:         Yes, American Army was situated in Pusan, too

I:          Yes.

S:         Then, uh, I just went to Swedish Red Cross Hospital one day because I couldn’t take more from, uh, this Chief, my Chief, because he gave me un, uh, thoughtful things,


uh, watches and nylon stockings and [HIGHS] from his family home U.S. A.

I:          Uh huh

S:         So of course I just thought that it was very nice to have very many [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Right.

S:         But it was also, my family is very traditional young family.  I could not be there.


I can’t marry with American.  So I have to escape some place where.  But I must have own money to save my family.  So I just went to the Swedish Red Cross Hospital, and I asked the Swedish Chief, uh, Personnel Department

I:          Um.

S:         and they having something,


some suitable because I have studied medicine and, uh, do you have any kind of job?  Then he tested my English and writing, typewriter

I:          Um hm.

S:         And then yes, okay.  You work, you can begin.  So

I:          When was it?

S:         Uh, it was, uh, 1951.

I:          And, month?


Summer or winter, what month was it?

S:         Yes.  It was Autumn.

I:          Autumn.

S:         Yes.

I:          Um.

S:         And then, uh, I have worked in 1954 under, during these days.  I have worked as a secretary and assistant to Supply Department.  The Supply Department was necessary things to


make for the, for the hospital.
I:          Oh yeah.
S:         equipment and everything.

I:          Um hm.
S:         I haven’t worked as a secretary and assistant.

I:          Um hm.

S:         Then I think, uh, I think ’52 or ’53, I don’t know.  My Chief, I have just met right now

I:          Yeah


S:         Uh, Paul.

I:          Paul.

S:         Usan, Usan.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And he was a x-ray department Chief, and he and his wife was a nurse


I:          Yeah.

S:         And they have, uh, joined the Swedish Red Cross Hospital as a

I:          Her name is Astrid.

S:         Yes, Astrid.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And, uh, she was a nurse.  And they had just got married and they were gonna have some honeymoon and this [INAUDIBLE] of Korea.

I:          They were lucky also.

S:         Yes, yes.
I:          They were lucky couple.

S:         Yes.  So I was younger, and my Chief was 6 years older than me.

I:          Hm.

S:         And he looked at x-ray, patient’s x-ray.  Then he says in English, I typed.

I:          I see.


S:         Yes.  So it was, um, very good and, uh, yes.

I:          Um hm.  So tell me about this.  You born to a very good family, well, rich family, famous, and also you were able to go down to Pusan

S:         Yes.
I:          and be able to work in U.S. Army

S:         Yes.

I:          and the Sweden Hospital

S:         Yes.

I:          How was it  to be like


Such, how, how was it to, to have such opportunity while there are so many Koreans were really

S:         Yes

I:          poor and suffering, right?

S:         Yes, yes.  I was lucky.  I have to thank God that I could have it better than many other

I:          Um hm

S:         girls or boys.  But, um, I, it was my


responsibilities that my  father have a, he paid many money to school

I:          Yeah.

S:         because in Korea at that time, it is not the, uh, free education.

I:          Um hm.

S:         It was so much money.  My  [INAUDIBLE] in Seoul, too, sometimes I go to Parawha Uni, uh, a military school.  Then I have played


tennis and then, uh, the teacher was very good to take care of me

I:          Yeah.

S:         But after the school, I have, went to [INAUDIBLE]  I eat supper, and then I went to English school.  They have paid.

I:          Tuition.

S:         Yes.

I:          I mean the tutor.

S:         Yes.

I:          Hawon.

S:         Yes.

I:          [INAUDIBLE]

S:         Yes.  Every year.  So I was very good, very good in, uh, whole school, Parawha.


So I take the speech in English, yes.

I:          So now you working in the Swedish Hospital, and to pay back to your family, to help your family.

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          So tell me about this. I know how was it.  But many young students will listen, those who doesn’t have any idea about the War.
S:         No.

I:          So how was the situation in Korea


in 1953, ’54?

S:         Oh yes.  It was so bad and, uh, I just now my age is nearly soon to 90, I think about the  many people had so bad life.

I:          Um.

S:         And the Japanese


people, they have a, you know, Japanese school time.  We, we can’t speak Korean.  Then they will give us some punish from teacher.  And then many years later when I came to Sweden, I just have, uh, back that money they just, uh, you know, uh,


[INAUDIBLE] forced to learn Japanese and everything, My education was Japanese.

I:          Right.

S:         And in, when I went to University, it was so difficult to, to learn.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And, uh, to read and write, it was very, very difficult to, uh, Korea.


I:          When you saw so many Korean people in line to be treated, especially after the Armistice in 1953, Swedish Hospital received a lot of Korean people, right?

S:         Yes.
I:          Yeah.  So what was the main disease or the injuries that you had to take care of, uh, in Swedish Hospital for the Korean people, for?

S:         I’m sorry that I am not a nurse, so I, uh,


didn’t, uh, contact directly with the patients

I:          Uh

S:         so much.  But, uh, in, uh, x-ray of their need, x-ray department, my Chief would look at and examine, and the nurse would take rank and, uh, pictures

I:          Yeah

S:         and I just would write what was bad.  I know that many  people was, uh, half of Korean people was, uh, hungry anytime.

I:          Um hm.

S:         All the time.

I:          Yeah.


S:         So they could eat so badly.  Of course, I did not, uh, eat sometimes lunch, jumped over, and then we’d take, uh, some crepe, uh as a, one of the famous Korean crepes [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah, yeah.
S:         Yes.


But I was very lucky.

I:          Yes.  What can you do?  I mean you just happened to be lucky, right?  So

S:         Yes.  But I could be the doctor.  But I could not.  But I’m not real good at because I have, I have  had a very good chance.

I:          Um hm.
S:         more than lucky than, uh, unhappy.

I:          Yeah.


S:         Yes.

I:          Must been tuberculosis or the problems with stomach or bone fractures, things like that, right?

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          Yeah, for the Korean people.

S:         Yes.

I:          Um.  So how did you come to Sweden?  Tell me about that story pleas.

S:         Yes. yes.  I and my husband

I:          Yeah

S:         uh, worked in the same department.
I:          What was his, what’s his name?


S:         Supply.

I:          No, his name.

S:         Oh, his name is, uh, Svendar, S-V-E-N

I:          Um  hm

S:         Then, uh, family name D-A-H-L

I:          D-A-H-L?

S:         Yes.

I:          Okay.  So Sven  Dahl.

S:         Sven Dahl.

I:          Sven Dahl?

S:         D

I:          D-H-A-L, okay


How did you meet him/  What, what was he doing in the Pusan?

S:         Uh, she, I’m sorry.  He, I’m sorry.  He worked, uh, he worked, uh, taking everything to

I:          In Supply Department, yes.

S:         Yes, yes, supply.

I:          Yeah.  You mean in Swedish Hospital?

S:         Yes.

I:          Okay.

S:         Red Cross Hospital.
I:          Yes, yes.


S:         Pusan.

I:          Um.  So how, how, how

S:         Yes.

I:          How did you meet him, and how did you become involved with him?  Tell me.

S:         It is complicated.  Uh, as I told you in, uh, American Army

I:          Um hm.

S:         I escaped nearly from him because I didn’t know that, uh, I couldn’t have any chance to marry to an American.
I:          Um hm.

S:         So I came to, uh, Swedish, right across the hospital.  I was young.


And, uh, my, uh, become the my husband is a Swede, um.  Of course I, I was not agreed from the beginning.

I:          Um hm.

S:         Uh, there was so many, uh, American Generals somebody.  They was very curious to me and, uh, we would go to the beach in Pusan.


I always refused, no, no.  They ask me why because you, you are young.  Why not?  When we’d go to the beach and we take a swim, I said no.  My father would not  allow me.  So I said always no.  But this time I did not, uh, agree with, uh, becoming, uh, husband, I met Sylvia’s father.


S:         But, uh, he was not, uh, give up.

I:          Um.

S:         And every time, yes.  So to the last, uh, I, uh, became his girlfriend.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And then, uh, every Korean girl in the kitchen, uh, they say you can be, you are lucky girl, they said it to me.  I don’t know if I was a lucky girl.


But at that time

I:          He was lucky, right?

S:         Yes.

I:          Yeah, he was lucky.

S:         But it is very dangerous to go out and show us together.  So I, I said always no.  From the beginning was that, um, we have one Korean man works there and, uh, uh, his wife was dead.  So, uh, Swedish custom when, uh, somebody was dead


and, uh, and, to give some, uh, yeah, uh, some, uh, kind of a sadness, so we should take some flower.  So they asked me buying flower in Pusan, [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. [INAUDIBLE]

S:         [INAUDIBLE]


Um, [INAUDIBLE]  It’s very, uh, very busy and shopping street.

I:          Yes.

S:         And then, uh, they gave us, her father and me, to buying some flower.  So they, uh, drive us, somebody was Korean.  Driver was drive us to Pusan.

I:          Um.

S:         the shopping street,


And I know that it is on, uh, allowed to me.  So I went, it is, the car was stopped, I just begin to run myself.  So I would not go with him.  But he’s tall, and he’s more. I begin to run, and he, too.  So everybody from the shop, they come out, what is it?


They look at us, and anyhow I say to him just don’t follow me.

I:          Um.
S:         It’s not allowed to a young girl.  So it is humor.  But, uh, we did it, just he, he, he’s, he was not [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah.
S:         And, uh, yes.  And, uh, he went after one, uh, year, to Sweden and, uh, the planning was


that he will take care of some apartment.  He will arrange apartment.  He will come back.  But, it was not, uh, allowed into Swedish Red Cross

I:          Um.
S:         and, uh, he could not.  So he just, uh, send to me the flight ticket.  And, uh, the paymaster in Swedish Red Cross hospital, they gave me big travel case

I:          Um hm.


S:         And then, uh, I was very quickly and, uh, at that time, the flight there was not beginning from Pusan.  It was on the, uh, there were only military service flight.

I:          Yeah.

S:         So I, uh, went with, uh, to Tokyo, and three days I had stayed in hotel.

I:          Um hm.

S:         And then, uh, my, uh, uh, husband, uh, called a




[INAUDIBLE]  please help my girlfriend, and then, uh, he came to me and, uh, I had flight.  At that time, the flight was not directly to Sweden.  We had not.

I:          Um hm.

S:         So it was all around India and every place and go back to Swiss and 54 hours flying.

I:          And you went through all those countries.

S:         Yes, yes.


I:          Very good.
S:         But I could not eat that luxury food.

I:          Uh huh.

S:         I, uh, just, uh, loved my Korean food.  And then, uh, it was, uh, impossible.  But, uh,

I:          When did you marry [INAUDIBLE]

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          When was it?

S:         Uh, it is in 1954.

I:          Nineteen fifty-four.

S:         Yes.

I:          So let me ask this question.

S:         Yeah.

I:          I ‘m pretty sure that your fat her and your mother


S:         Yeah.

I:          were not really happy about your marriage decision in the beginning.

S:         Yes.  Uh, my father was, um, engaged to his, uh, friend’s son, uh.  He’s in U.S., and they are starting some kind of politics.  And, uh, uh, if it was not the law, I, uh, have married to him.  but, uh, uh,


I don’t know if it is happy or unhappy.  Uh, during the War time, my father was dead, uh, ’53.  And then my mother was, too, uh, later.

I:          Um.

S:         Died.

I:          Yah.
S:         So it was, uh, perhaps a happily or unhappily.

I:          Uh huh.

S:         [INAUDIBLE] yes.  So I could, uh, fly to Sweden.


And then, uh, about three months later, yes, we have had a very big,  uh, uh, marriage party and, uh, it was, uh, newspaper was talking about that.

I:          Oh,

S:         Yes.  So yeah.  That’s right.

I:          Let me ask this question.  When you left  Korea in 1954

S:         Yes.

I:          and now you know Korea is 11th largest economy in the world.


S:         I  know.

I:          And it’s one of the most substantive democracy in Asia.

S:         Yeah.

I:          Yes.  I, I wrote about it.  I wrote the book, and I taught about it.

S:         Yeah.

I:          When you left Korea in 1954, had you ever imagined that Korea would become like this today?

S:         Oh no.  I did not.

I:          You did not?

S:         I did not, uh, imagine that they will be so quickly.


Of course I have been Korea during that time, I think four, five times.

I:          Um hm.

S:         Yes.

I:          When was the last time you’ve been to Korea?
S:         Last time was, uh, it was two years ago.

FEMALE VOICE:  Even more maybe.

S:         Three?  Three.

I:          So.

S:         Three years ago with my daughter.

I:          2016 you went together?  Okay.

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          Invited by MPVA?

S:         Um, no.

FEMALE VOICE:  By yourself.

I:          By yourself.

S:         Yes.


I:          So tell me.

S:         Yes.
I:          The Korea you saw, have you been to Pusan, too, right?

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          Okay.
S:         I have been many times.

I:          Tell me the Pusan you saw in, you were in 1950’s

S:         Yeah, yeah

I:          And Pusan right now.

S:         Yeah.
I:          Tell me.

S:         Uh,

I:          Tell young students about the difference.

S:         Yes.  It is so different.  I know that, uh, I have been many times during, at that time after the  War.


After, when I, uh, married in, in Sweden and, uh, every time it was changed.  But first time was not so much changed.

I:          Hm.

S:         Uh, I was, I was invited, uh, in Japanese person because I could speak fluently Japanese. So I was, uh, you know, guide in Sweden, Stockholm authorized guide.


In Japanese, I was the only one.
I:          Hm.
S:         And in Korea languages.  And Korea was, at that time, changing so many times I, this time, now, right now, I know that, uh, Korea have a better life than here in Sweden.  Yes, economically.

I:          Economically?

S:         Yes.  But, um, I know that they are same education  at that time.  I was young.


What is, uh, what is the, the, problem?  Yeah. Problem is we younger person in Korea, they have just a little time to sleep. And then we are just working harder, harder.  So they are so much in, so must intelligent than Swedish, uh, have a, I mean Swedish people


is very intelligent, too.  But young people, younger is very lazy than Korean younger.

I:          Yeah.

S:         Yeah.
I:          I mean you have to live in a very competitive world in early days in Korea.

S:         Yeah.

I:          So I remember when I was in high school, I had to wake up around five in the morning

S:         Yeah.

I:          and went, went to school

S:         Yeah.

I:          And then right after the school, I have to go to another tutoring institution


S:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          coming back around midnight

S:         Yeah.

I:          And then I have to do every day for a year
S:         Yeah.

I:          to get into the University.

S:         Yeah.

I:          So that’s what you are talking about.  So I don’t want anybody else to misunderstand about  the point that you are making.

S:         Yeah.

I:          Yes.  So it’s competitive.  I don’t think, uh, such competitiveness here existing in Sweden

S:         No

I:          in all the childhood, right?

S:         No.

I:          It’s not  actually good.  But we, you know



S:         Yeah.

I:          What do you think about the whole thing in your life?  What happened to you?  You born in a very good family and then you got this War interrupt.  But you are very lucky.  And then you came to Sweden

S:         Yes.

I:          And then you were able to go back to Seoul.  Now you have a very unique perspective to see what happened in Korea.

S:         What’s happening, I’m just worried because


I see news in YouTube

I:          Um hm.

S:         Yes.

I:          You mean currently?

S:         Yes, from Korea every time.  I know it is situated, occupied my lifetime is, uh, understand in Korea how, how and what is coming up now in Korea?  I am politically and, uh, economically


and, uh, intelligent with the school.  Every system and social system is very interesting

I:          Um.

S:         to follow.  So I often, every day, You Tube I will see

I:          Um hm.

S:         And, uh, I am just worried now

I:          Um.

S:         uh, Korea has got some, uh, bad, uh, connection with the Japanese, uh, about thee, uh,


what, what it’s called

I:          The Japanese Prime Minister  prevent

S:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Um hm.

S:         is very badly planned about the, uh, Korean, uh, industry problem.

I:          Yeah.

S:         with his [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yes.
S:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          So you are mentioning about Japanese government policy not to export three core technologies

S:         No.

I:          and semi-conductor industry.

S:         No.  Korean people is


very, uh, much better because I know that when I came to, us, Sweden, many other, uh, men

I:          Hm

S:         they haven’t worked with  my cousin and my cousin was a, the teacher, uh, in Columbia University.  And then many of Korean younger men was  in U.S. and worked.  And it started. And they came back and, uh,


It is, uh, result of this knowledge

I:          Um hm.
S:         to give it to Korea.

I:          Yes.

S:         So Korea is developed much, much faster and very quickly.

I:          Um hm.

S:         with, uh, yes, after the War.

I:          Hm.

S:         But, uh, I’m so sorry that, uh, Korean War.  We, uh, I mean, uh, North Korea


I:          Um hm

S:         And, uh, and South Korea.

I:          What, what would you say to the Swedish people, the citizens of Sweden about what Red Cross, uh, Swedish Red Cross Field Hospital did for Korea 70 years ago?

S:         Yes.  Uh, I have lived, as before, I have lived in Sweden 65 years.  Then, uh, I know, uh,


Swedish people’s very good, faithful and, uh, very, they’re much, uh, help some other guys.  I know that Sweden has not, uh, uh, the War, uh, about 200 years ago

I:          Um hm

S:         But, uh, they have led a peaceful and a very [INAUDIBLE] and they, uh, got, uh, help very many peoples.


I:          Um hm.

S:         I’m very thankful with them and, um, yes.  Uh, now is, um, I said, uh, [INAUDIBLE] Korea is more, uh, highly

I:          Um hm.

S:         than Sweden

I:          Um hm.

S:         But I like Sweden.

I:          Yeah.  For the information, the Korean economy is 11th largest

S:         Yeah.


I:          And Swedish economy is 23rd in the world.

S:         Yeah.

I:          But personal income is much higher than Koreans.

S:         Yeah, yeah.

I:          It’s almost $55,000

S:         Yes.

I:          Per person a year

S:         Yes, yes.

I:          Koreans are close to $40,000.

S:         Yeah.
I:          But still, it is, uh, it’s a miracle.  It’s like a miracle because there was nothing in Korea 1950’2.

S:         No.


S:         Yeah.


I:          Tax, yes, yes, yes, yes.

S:         Yeah.

I:          But still, you have so much benefit out of government, too.  Medical, Social, Welfare.  So

S:         Some way it’s a very highly, uh, beloved because in Korea, I thought it was, uh, very, very good.

I:          Um.

S:         Uh, and they astonished, uh, that they have so nice system.

I:          Um hm.  Oh yeah.


S:         But I can say that I may say Swedish life, in my life, is very good because I am nearly 90.  Next year, March I will be 90 years old.

I:          I cannot believe that.

S:         I could live in [INAUDIBLE] is very nice.  It’s situated in Stockholm


I:          Um hm.

S:         in the center.  I have 132 [INAUDIBLE] apartment.  I live there alone.

I:          Um.

S:         And, uh, I could, uh, arrange it with my food and a cleaning my clothes.

I:          Amazing.

S:         And they’re alright because my daughter is living very near from me.

I:          Um hm.

S:         Fifteen minutes to go.  She said if she will go


faster, it 10 minutes.

I:          Okay.  So how many children do you have?

S:         I have two, one girl and one, uh, boy.  Boy, um, a man because my daughter is 65 soon, 64, yes, 64 because I married at 24, and she came next year, the year after.

I:          I think it’s DNA in your family.  You look so young.

S:         And then my, uh


I have

I:          Son?

S:         Yes, yes, son.  Uh, they have, you know, grandchildren, grandchildren and, uh, grandchildren’s baby

I:          Great children.
S:         Yes.  So I have so many children, yeah.  It was so nice to have you and conversation with me.
I:          We are doing this, as I told you,

S:         Yes.


I:          because despite such a good thing came out of so many people’s efforts and contributions

S:         Yes.
I:          We don’t talk about it.  We don’t teach much about it.  It’s because Korea used to be too small, too weak.

S:         It’s good.

I:          Yeah.  So I wanna challenge that reality, okay, and that.  But the best way to do that is to make a curricular resources based on your interview and so many different


S:         Yes.

I:          uh, doctors and nurses and, uh, please, I mean the, the soldiers

S:         Yes.

I:          and to give it to teachers so that they can teach about it.  Otherwise, teachers has to learn and teach many, many, many, many different

S:         Yeah

I:          wars.

S:         Yeah.

I:          In America for example, you have to teach about World War I, World War II before so many revolutionary, civil wars

S:         Yes, yes

I:          and so on.  So that, they need to have this material.

S:         Yes.

I:          That’s why we are doing this.


S:         Of course.

I:          Any other episode or any story that you think is important to tell us about Swedish, uh, Hospital.

S:         Yes, Swedish Hospital.  It was, uh, very, very good to have a Swedish Hospital because I know that later, uh, first they have a Canadian Hospital, too, in Korea.

I:          Uh.

S:         But I have a so deep


near contact with the Swedish Hospital because I was young, and I was a student, and a War came, and I jumped in that, and I have lived with Swedish people to help us and, uh, we were very grateful and, uh, it was same direction of my, uh, occupation.  And that, uh, I came to


Sweden, and the Swedish, uh, society  is very good, too.

I:          Um hm.  So actually, Korean War made you marriage Swedish man and have a happy life.

S:         Yes.  But my father and mother was negative.

I:          I mean, obviously understandable at the time.

S:         Yes.
I:          Nobody, nobody was not  allowed

S:         No.
I:          They’re going to marry foreigners at the time, yes.

S:         Yes.

I:          I don’t know what to say.


But very good thing came out of the Korean War

S:         Yes.

I:          for you and your family, and you are direct living witness to what’s been done by the Swedish

S:         Yes.
I:          Red Cross Field Hospital.

S:         I think it must be last chance to have a directly conversation with somebody had the War

I:          Yeah.

S:         and the help from Swedish Red Cross Hospital, yes.


I:          That’s why I came here, and I wanna thank Kirsten Frisk  and her husband Lars Frisk

S:         Yes.

I:          to arrange all these things, and I’m going to interview her tomorrow.

S:         Oh yeah?

I:          Yeah,  So gotta be ready, okay?  I’m going to grill you.  Again I want to thank you again for coming here

S:         Well, thank you.

I:          And

S:         Thank you so much.  If I’d known, If I knew that the, uh, we English, I could, uh,


speak better than that.

I:          In one day?

S:         Yes because I, I was very good in Korea at the time.

I:          I know, I could tell.  At your age, almost 90, 90 year-old Korean woman who can speak in English like that, no, no.  So it’s good enough, okay?

S:         You’re so kind.

I:          Thank you.

S:         Thank you.

[End of recorded material]