Lillian is Norwegian again, 72 years later

Lillian German Drab WW IIWW II. France, Rennes. 1944. Her hair shorn and iodine spilled over her scalp. An accused woman collaborationist is marched through the streets of Rennes, before the crowd turns her over to authorities. Photo: Scanpix

«German drab»: Lillian lost her passport because of love

72 years after Lillian Crott Berthung (96) was deprived of Norwegian citizenship, due to marrying a German soldier, she can finally call herself Norwegian again.


When the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (Conservatives), in October apologised for the treatment of the so-called “German drabs” (Tyskertøs), Berthung saw an opportunity to write a final letter to the Norwegian authorities, after several years of unsuccessful attempts, according to NRK.

This week, Norwegian Ambassador to Germany, Petter Ølberg, could hand over the document that makes Berthung, who is originally from Harstad, a Norwegian citizen again.

“I can’t believe it’s true. Now when I’m soon one hundred years old. I must digest it first. It’s nice to think about it!” Berthung exclaims.

Watch the handing over of the documentation here.

The letter comes 72 years after she married the German soldier Helmut Crott after World War II. Berthung says she was abused in the streets during the days following the liberation of Norway. She moved to Germany together with Crott in 1947. She was deprived of her Norwegian citizenship for that reason.

It is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 women had relations with German men during World War II. Afterwards, mass arrests occurred. Many of the women were sent to detention camps. Others were summarily deported.

“I made an official apology for the Norwegian state’s treatment of the “German drabs” in the autumn [of 2018]. Lillian Crott has now regained her Norwegian citizenship,“ Solberg Tweets.

Facts about the «German drabs»

Many Norwegian women who had relations with German soldiers during World War II were deprived of citizenship and deported from Norway to Germany.

  • It is estimated that between 40,000 and 50,000 Norwegian women had relations with German men during the war. This corresponds to about 10 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • It was born between 10,000 and 12,000 Norwegian-German children. 8,000 of them were registered in the German (SS) Lebensborn (Life born) register.
  • After the war, mass arrests occurred. Many of the women were placed in detention camps.
  • Several thousand women who had married German soldiers were deported from Norway to a war-torn post-war Germany.
  • They even lost their Norwegian citizenship. This was decided by the Norwegian Unity Government in 1945.
  • There are 28 Norwegian men who married women in German service. They were not (officially) punished in any way.
  • On October 17th, 2018, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg officially apologised for how the «German drabs» (Tyskertøsene) were treated after the war.

Norway’s official excuse applies to abuse by the authorities only, not including the street justice doled out against them – or their children.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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