Astrid Lindgren’s daughter comments the War Diaries

Astrid and her daughter Karin. Photo: Saltkråkan

Astrid and her daughter Karin. Photo: Saltkråkan

Karin Nyman, born 1934, is excited about her mother’s wartime diaries being published next year:

– The diary and the newspaper clippings come from a troubled period in history, but they make a fascinating read! I´m happy that more people will get to read what Astrid wrote and experienced when she was 30 years old.

Over 70 facsimile photos of the diary pages, cut-outs from Swedish newspapers and many previously unpublished family photos from these years are included among with Astrid’s diary entries. The war diaries are being published just the way Astrid wrote them:

Sept. 1939

Oh! War broke out today. Nobody could believe it.

Yesterday afternoon, Elsa Gullander and I were in Vasa Park with the children running and playing around us and we sat there giving Hitler a nice, cosy telling off and agreed that there definitely wasn’t going to be a war – and now today! The Germans bombarded several Polish cities early this morning and are forging their way into Poland from all directions. I have managed to restrain myself from any hoarding until now, but today I laid in a little cocoa, a little tea, a small amount of soap and a few other things.

   There’s a terrible despondency weighing on everything and everyone. The radio churns out news reports all day long. Lots of our men liable for military service are being called up. A ban has been imposed on private motoring. God help our poor planet in the grip of this madness!

7 May 1945

It’s VE Day! The war’s over! The war’s over! THE WAR’S OVER!

At 2.41 p.m. (I think), the capitulation was signed in a little red schoolhouse in Reims / … / by which all German forces in the whole of Europe surrendered. Norway is free now, too. At this very moment, a wild sense of jubilation is spreading across Stockholm. Kungsgatan is ankle deep in layers of paper and everyone’s behaving as if they’ve gone crazy. We sang the Norwegian national anthem at work after the radio broadcast at 3 o’ clock. Sture isn’t in for dinner this evening, but he sent home a bottle of sherry so we could celebrate the peace. Just at the moment they’re playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on the radio. I’ve been drinking sherry with Linnea and Lars and feel a bit light-headed. It’s spring and the sun is shining on this blessed day and the war is over. I wouldn’t want to be German. Just think, the war’s over, Hitler’s dead (there are jubilant shouts and cheers on the radio now; Stockholm has completely taken leave of its senses).

 Salikon Publishing House has provided us with the extracts from the book (translation by Sarah Death).

Astrid Lindgren’s wartime diaries will be published in May next year.

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