On the 21st of April Bernadotte met with Himmler again to negotiate for more concessions.
Earlier the same day Felix Kersten had met with Himmler with the same intent. He had after
lengthy negotiations been promised the release of 1000 Jewish women from Ravensbrück.
Bernadotte received permission to transport all of the women from Ravensbrück.
“Immediately before Bernadotte’s related meeting with Himmler, Kersten accompanied by
Norbert Masur, a member of the World Jewish Congress Swedish section, had for the first time
met with the SS-commander. Kersten hereby managing to secure Himmler’s consent to several
Swedish requests, which the Foreign Ministry had assigned him to do, such as the release of a
number of named prisoners in concentration camps in Germany and Norway.
Kersten’s attempt to obtain the release of interned Jews was less successful. According to
Masur’s information Himmler released 1000 Jewish women from Ravensbrück after long
negotiations. Bernadotte, as mentioned above, later that day on his petition to Himmler,
managed to secure the removal of all the women from Ravensbrück.(The Foreign Ministry’s White Book “The 1945 rescue expedition to Germany”)
Two days later, on the night between the 23rd and 24th of April, Bernadotte met for the last time
with Himmler in Lübeck. The state of the German front was now critical. Allied forces broke
through in the west and the Soviet Union was pressing in on the east.
Himmler was getting desperate in his attempts to negotiate with the western powers. He now
gave Bernadotte permission to transfer whoever he wanted. In return Bernadotte would deliver
a message to the Swedish government to be forwarded to General Eisenhower. It was a request
for a meeting to discuss capitulation of the whole western front.
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