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Transportation from Ravensbrück (14)

As soon as the Red Cross detachment in Friedrichsruh received news of the of the negotiations with Himmler preparations started to collect the women of Ravensbrück. On the 22nd of April a column left with 15 Danish ambulances under supervision of Dr Arnoldsson. Their main aim was to collect women that were very sick. Information varies, but between 100 and 200 women were brought out.


A second column led by Captain Harald Folke and lieutenant Åke Svensson left the next day. The 25 vehicles collected 786 women from Ravensbrück. 650 of them were French, the rest were Belgian, Dutch and Polish. The Swedes learned that the commander of the camp a few
days earlier had released several thousand Czech and Russian women who without food, money or proper clothing now tried to get home on foot.

The Swedes realised with great sadness that they were unable to rescue these women due to lack of resources. When the column left they left Obersturmbahnführer Danziger and Captain Ankarcrona in the camp to prepare for more transportation's. On the evening of the 24th of April a column led by lieutenant Hallqvist arrived in Ravensbrück. The column collected 706 women of different nationalities and headed for Denmark. They spent the night in a forest and divided the column in two the next day. An allied fighter plane attacked the Hallqvist group on the Schwerin road. Information of how many were killed and injured varies. The driver Ringman was killed instantly and lieutenant Hallqvist was badly injured. Amongst the passengers several women were killed and fifteen or so were injured. The other column, which took the Wismar road, was also attacked and several prisoners were killed or injured. Another ten or so were killed and twenty injured when the remains of the Hallqvist column, now led by lieutenant Löthman, was fired on again, this time at Plön.
The same day a Danish ambulance column, led by engineer Pontoppidian Sörensen, collected 114 women from Ravensbrück.
The next day Åke Svensson returned to Ravensbrück for the last time. Conditions were severe and on the way to the camp the column was fired on again. The twenty white buses left the camp with 934 prisoners from many nationalities, mostly Polish Jewish women and fifty
children.
On the way from Ravensbrück they saw two Red Cross vehicles in the ditch, shot to pieces. This turned out to be the remains of the Hallqvist column.  This the last bus transport of the expedition was an eventful one. On the way to Denmark a baby was delivered, and a German spy was revealed and turned over to the Danish police in Krusaa. When arriving to Padborg, the Danish Red Cross took care of the women and children.

Source: The White Buses. The Swedish Red Cross rescue action in Germany during the Second World War - The Swedish Red Cross, Stockholm, January 2000 /Research: Agneta Greayer and Sonja Sjöstrand/Editing: Martin Wikberg Translation: Annika and Peter Hodgson