The Scandinavian prisoners in Neuegamme are evacuated

On the 19th of April Bernadotte arrived at Friedrichsruh were there was a feeling of depression. An order had arrived to stop the rescue action and the German liaison officer did not think the buses could continue. But later that same day an order suddenly arrived from Himmler’s
headquarters that all Scandinavians in Neuegamme were to be transported to Denmark. Further transportation to Sweden was not allowed though. Only if the fighting spread to Denmark would the prisoners be allowed to be moved to Sweden.

The Red Cross only had one day to accomplish the transportation of around 4200 prisoners. Contacts were made with the Danish Jylland korps, which were to be activated at the end of the war. In Padborg 94 buses, eight to ten ambulances, ten lorries, five cars and five motorcycles were gathered, formed into six columns. The buses were painted white and were marked with red crosses and Danish flags. As a joint force the Swedes and Danes managed to transport the Scandinavians from Neuegamme to Denmark within the stated time. The last buses left only 30 minutes before the deadline.

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