A review of unforgettable encounters in Germany.
The personal example demonstrates the admirable qualities of someone’s character, in contrast to the fleeting opinions of others, which are often of little value. Ursula Haverbeck’s curious eyes shine with life; her will and determination have accompanied her for 94 years. She harbours a soul that is anything but tired.
The encounter with Ursula feels almost unreal when we meet on a Tuesday in September 2023. What makes it even more unique is that Vera Oredsson sits with us and converses in German with Ursula. History is written with every sentence exchanged and is documented by our media equipment. Vera and Ursula are two of the few people alive who lived during the Third Reich, and who fought for the German people’s restoration since the end of the war.
During my last stay in Germany, Ursula Haverbeck was locked up in prison, sentenced for having explicit reservations about the official historiography of the so-called holocaust. Her talent and brilliant intelligence extend further than this, as she explores philosophical, spiritual and historical topics in her conversations with us.
We try not to be too intrusive with our cameras, but it feels as if Ursula takes this technical activity in her stride. After the end of the war in 1945, Ursula lived in Sweden for a period, and it turns out she has nostalgic memories of the Scandinavian peninsula. Some of the conversation in German is interspersed with clarifications in Swedish, and occasionally in English.
Time passes, hour after hour. Although the two historical giants appear to be enjoying themselves, we get a subtle hint from Ursula’s assistant that it’s time to call it a day. The video camera has recorded three hours and 49 minutes of the meeting. As we pack up and prepare to depart, a further 32 minutes are captured. The journey towards a late dinner in the city of Bielefeld begins with a magnificent evening view of the sun, which sinks behind the mountain peaks as we roll down the valley.
During our goodbyes, I ask Ursula if we can meet two days later, this time in her garden, for a change of scenery. The idea is well received by our wonderful host. But before we continue this success story, let’s jump back to Grängesberg in Dalarna, Sweden.
On 2 July 2023 I was at Vera Oredsson’s home with flowers and a letter. I asked Vera to read the contents. The letter concerned the news of our upcoming trip. “Well, that was certainly a surprise,” she commented – determined from the very beginning to embark on an adventure at the age of 95. Giving Vera a trip to Germany was significant enough, we thought, but successfully bringing her together with Ursula Haverbeck was a wish that, outside of good planning, only higher powers could make possible.
The idea of effecting this historic meeting had been discussed and planned since the winter of 2022. If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it now, became our motto. The Resistance Movement’s media group lent us equipment before the trip and instructed us in its use. Everywhere we pitched the idea, it found a positive response. Shouldering the responsibility of all the high expectations and requests that followed was tough but not enough to deter us from this singular project.
When Tuesday’s meeting with Ursula Haverbeck was over, we commended one another for our contributions and said that whatever happens from now on will be a bonus. A day trip to Wewelsburg castle was on the agenda for Wednesday. The castle is probably best known for its occult associations, after serving as the headquarters of the SS under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler. Vera Oredsson didn’t shy away from walking long distances through the castle and its varied exhibitions.
The summer we missed in Sweden we got back in Germany, with 25°C-plus heat and sun. Ursula Haverbeck was waiting for us on Thursday without her German assistant, something that indicated we had her full trust and had won her friendship. While our group set the table and assisted Ursula with practical matters, such as brewing coffee, I went to the store to buy some additional snacks. The route to Ursula’s home was already etched into my memory, which I thought was a charming detail of the overall experience.
“What an evening it was!” Vera Oredsson later wrote at home in Sweden, emphasising the warm weather, the scenic garden, the absence of mosquitoes and, of course, the fantastic company. The evening was indeed special, if not magical. Chance, luck, higher powers or maybe our guardian angels and watchful spirits gave us a moment in which the truth could be expressed. Historical vindication captured on camera, to be viewed in the future and into eternity. The opposite of the enemy’s lying propaganda and indoctrination.
When the suggestion of a meeting with Ursula Haverbeck was raised with our German contacts, we received a request in return: they wanted Vera Oredsson to give a speech about her time in the Third Reich and the League of German Girls (BDM). The audience in the packed venue in Bielefeld fell completely silent when Vera Oredsson began her speech. She spoke passionately without a script about her memories and anecdotes. The interest was unmistakable. At times the audience burst out laughing at the humorous aspects Vera conveyed. A while after the applause died down, I made my way to the illuminated corner of the venue to round off the evening with some Swedish songs and guitar-playing. This was also a welcome feature, despite the obvious language barriers.
To conclude this report, I would like to note that there will be further coverage of this event in future and, ultimately, an exciting film production. There is a lot of diligent work ahead: gathering materials, editing, translating and more. Let this report serve as a taste of something big in the making. Please consider donating to the campaign for the completion of a unique four-episode documentary series about this trip and these two remarkable women.