New negotiations, the action is extended
Stockholm considered the removal of the Scandinavian prisoners to Neuegamme as only part of the objective. The intent was still to transfer the Danes and Norwegians to Sweden, something that Himmler continued to refuse. On the 26th of March Bernadotte met with cabinet secretary Boheman and Counsellor Von Post at the Foreign Ministry.
They agreed to try to extend the rescue action considerably. The primary objective would be to achieve Himmler’s approval for the transfer of all interned Scandinavians in Neuegamme to Sweden. A secondary objective would be to extend the action to include even other nationalities.
On the 2nd of April Bernadotte returned to Germany for new negotiations. Any chances of extending the rescue action depended increasingly on Himmler’s own interest and ambition to make a separate peace with the western powers. At the discussions on the 2nd of April he was
mostly interested in discussing the question of separate peace and wanted Bernadotte to act as intermediary. He refused Bernadotte’s request to transport the Scandinavian prisoners to camps in Sweden, but he did agree to all Norwegian and Danish women, all sick Scandinavians and a number of Norwegian students to be sent to Sweden. Furthermore he agreed to allow all Danish policemen to be transferred from Neuegamme to Denmark, where, after a short time of being interned, they could be released.
Some Frenchmen and Norwegians, among them professor Seip, were granted exit permits. Himmler refused to allow interned French women from Ravensbrück to be moved to Neuegamme, but a few days later he gave permission to send 15000 gift packets to them. Even though Himmler did not agree to Bernadotte’s request to transfer the Norwegian and Danish prisoners to Sweden, the Swedish embassy in Berlin continued to bring pressure on the Germans, Schellenberg, amongst others, tried to reach an agreement to this effect.
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