Wedding ring returned 70 years after Nazi arrest

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Erling Berg Pedersen managed to avoid the crematorium at the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp, where 245 Norwegians perished (Photo: Lybil BER).
10:57 CEST+02:00
The daughter of a Norwegian resistance fighter has had her father’s wedding ring and pocket watch returned 70 years after the Gestapo arrested him and sent him to a concentration camp.

Erling Berg Pedersen was arrested by Hitler’s secret police in August 1942 for working as an editor on a newspaper deemed illegal by the Nazi regime. In 1943 he was sent to the Natzweiler concentration camp in eastern France where all his valuables were confiscated.

While he survived the camp and returned to Norway in 1945, he never saw his treasured ring or watch again.

But recently a courier turned up at his daughter Marit Dunseth’s front door with a package containing the items plundered by the Nazis, newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad reports.

“I’m deeply moved and very grateful to the people who made these efforts on our behalf,” she told the newspaper.

Dunseth learned how her father’s name had cropped up on a list of prisoners of war whose valuables had been recovered.

Since Nazi officials kept detailed records of their plunder, the list published on the website of the International Tracing Service (ITS) was able to show that the wedding band and watch had belonged to Dunseth’s dad. ITS stores the valuables but does not have sufficient resources to establish contact with the families of victims, the newspaper said.

A Dutch woman with ties to a World War II memorial centre in the town of Amersfoort found Pedersen’s name on the list and contacted Norwegian genealogists, who were able to track down his family.  

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The ring bore the inscription “Your Haldis. 22.8.1938”, a reference to his wife’s name and the date they were engaged. The pocket watch is believed to have been an heirloom from his uncle, grandfather, or great-grandfather.

Erling Berg Pedersen died in 2008, aged 94.

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