Week 38 - 2015

In flight

Ian Mürer, refugees in Finnmark. Preus museum's collection.

In flight

We have witnessed a stream of people who flee from war, unrest, and impossible living conditions to seek safety for themselves and their families. The refugee crisis is becoming the worst since the Second World War. It has not been extremely long since desperate Norwegians sought help in another country.


The archive of amateur photographer Ian Mürer was bought by Leif Preus in the late 1990s. Mürer documented what he saw around him in dramatic war years, and here he has photographed Norwegians who have decided to flee to Sweden, as ca. 50,000 did in the war years 1940 to 1945. Norway in Sweden consisted eventually of a cross-section of the Norwegian people: women and children and men, family people and individuals, the elderly and young, people from all social classes. They had in common a desperate need to get away because Norway could no longer be considered viable or permanent.


After the war most came home again, but when they had fled they couldn't know when the war would end or whether Norway would even be free again. So the decision to flee was a desperate last resort, a solution without guarantee.


For freedom they went to neutral Sweden, which itself was on a difficult war footing. At the outset it was first and foremost local Swedish authorities, along with volunteer organizations, that set up and obtained food, lodging, and clothing.