Today 76 years ago: VE Day 1945, and the very last German holdouts by… the North Pole

A British movietone newsreel about that long-awaited Victory in Europe Day.

There was fighting going on until the last day — and indeed for some days beyond, in some cases by German troops trying to exfiltrate through Russian lines to surrender to the Western Allies.

There was no parallel to decades-long Japanese holdouts like Hiroo Onoda, whose story was the inspiration of the concept album “Nude” by progressive rock band Camel. Two German U-boats, U-530 and U-977, set course for Argentina, which led to lots of postwar speculation and legends.

The very last German troops to lay down their weapons to the Western Allies were the 11-man crew of a Kriegsmarine weather station on Nordaustlandet, the 2nd largest island (after Spitsbergen) in the Svalbard archipelago. They had learned of the surrender by radio, but no transportation could be spared to retrieve them until a Norwegian walrus hunting ship laid anchor on September 4, 1945. (See the German Wikipedia page on Operation Haudegen as well as this page on War History Online and on Amusing Planet.) The station commander, Lt. Wilhelm Dege, apparently wrote a book about his experiences titled “War North of [the] 80[th parallel].” The station still stands and is occasionally used as an emergency shelter by explorers of that inhospitable place.

Nordaustlandet.png
Operation Haudegen
Image from https://www.amusingplanet.com/2020/01/the-last-german-surrender.html

UPDATE: original title said “66 years” — fixed (thanks, OranWoody!)

5 thoughts on “Today 76 years ago: VE Day 1945, and the very last German holdouts by… the North Pole

  1. Reblogged this on battleoftheatlantic19391945 and commented:
    V.E., VICTORY IN EUROPE DAY…76 TH ANNIVERSARY, SAT., MAY 8, 2021 @ 20:54, , MAY 8, 1945…GREAT BLOG, WITH SOME ON THE HIGH SEAS/NAVAL SUBJECTS; AS MY RECOLLECTION OF MY LATE FATHER DURING W.W.II, AND HIS ROYAL CANADIAN WARSHIP ESCORTING CONVOY KMF. 44/U.K., TO GIBRALTAR CONVOY, AND BEING ON THE HIGH SEAS ON V.E., DAY!!!

    ANYWAYS, ENJOY THIS BLOG, AND IT CONCERNS A LITTLE W.W.II/1939-1945 NAVY, FOR ONCE!!!

    BLOG CREDIT: Nitay Arbel.

    Yours Aye: Brian Murza…Killick Vison, W.W.II Naval Researcher-Published Author, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

  2. What did you have to do to get assigned there? Makes me think of Lt Vorkosigan’s first assignment……

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