Sweden Stockholm (6)

>> My name is Cigor Piettri, and I'm nearly 95 years old. I worked in the Swedish Red Cross Hospital in Korea from November 1952 to April 1953 as a chaplain, so ... >> What are some things you remember? >> Yes, I remember I was there. No, it was very interesting period because you had to participate in the war and see it from the inside. I remember when I came to Tokyo. At that time, it took 5 days to go by air from Sweden to Tokyo. I was in the plane all the time, day and night, and when we then should leave in Tokyo, we met a person from the Swedish hospital that should leave from an American airbase. We were in fact a part of the Eighth Army, the hospital, and I remember I sat on the plane, and we should start, and nearby was an American bomb plane. I saw them put in the bombs, and I said, "No." If somebody had told you 10 years ago there's a city and an American airbase and go to country in a war in the service, it just would make me mad, but anyhoo, we came over in some hours, and were transported to the hospital, and there, we were received, and it was a special Sunday. It was a first Sunday in that Lent, and they received me, and I should have the solace in the right. They had me in a special barrack that was used as a Church, this one, and a very beautiful interior, especially the old one. Where is the improvement? This is the altar in Easter, Easter solace, and I came to be received by the offices there. It was 1952 in November, 8th November. >> Did you volunteer? Did you volunteer? Volunteer. >> Yes, yes. I was quite volunteer. >> Why did you volunteer? Why? >> I was asked to do so. I had a friend who was a chaplain before me, and I had another friend who should be after me, but between that was a gap. Usually, you should stay at least 6 months, but they had a gap for 5 months or something, nearly 5 months there, and they asked me if I could go there, and in fact, it was not at all good for me because I had began a new training for to be a librarian, but I felt I had a task because otherwise, I couldn't get anybody, and I was naturally rather curious about how it should be there. The last year before I had spent in Israel in Jerusalem, and then I got the taste how it is to be in a foreign country and to live in the country and to see what is going on and in the world. Israel's founding was naturally a world problem, not so much a problem at that time but to be, and I had the chance to go into it during that time, and I thought I must see what's going on in Korea, so I said, "Okay. I will take it, be there for 5 months." >> You must have seen a lot of injured soldiers, wounded soldiers. >> Yeah. >> Wounded soldiers. >> What? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> Yes. The Swedish hospital in Korea was a base hospital, not at the front, yeah? So the patients came there from the special front hospitals. For example, [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] Norwegian Hospital, and when the Norwegian minister died, it change sometimes between, so I was up at the front too for some days, and when I came to the hospital, he happened to be there for some days, so we had not the directly wounded soldiers. They were wounded which had been in field hospitals and so needed further treatment but not too bad. Those who were hopelessly wounded, they just passed us, but then they went on to America or Japan or something, but the church had a service. The UN chaplain, he had to have services in the war church, and he had, in fact, to be the one who should care for the wounded people. I shouldn't, but anyhow, they didn't much to it, so I had to go. It was nearly every day in the hospital to speak with people, especially I think the not American one because there were a lot of other people from Belgium and Holland and France and Turk and Ethiopian, Colombian, and they had nobody to speak with in the hospital. It's very important that people who are alone, wounded in the hospital have somebody to speak with, so I more used to go to them than to the Americans because they should have their service, and they had any of fellows who could understand them and speak with. >> Wow. >> So but then, we had all of the permittance. When it was very calm in the war, we get very few wounded from the fronts, so we had the permission to take civilia, civil Koreans and help them in our hospital, and then I had to care for more and especially the children. You see, Busan was a city for about 300,000 people, but when I came there, there were nearly 1 1/2 million, and they were all refugees living in the slums. All of it was slum, and the children in the slum, you can understand. They had sometimes no father, beggars everywhere. You had to pick them up. They came to the hospital, naturally wanted to come in, but we couldn't take in anybody, but sometimes we have to take one or little one. I remember some of them were fantastic children. A boy, 11 years, and they told me one evening at night, "Okay, we have a boy for you," and then he was taken out. He had only a little short. It was cold out. His feet were frozen, and he came in and gave him a bath and gave him food and everything, and then the cold on me, he sat in a staircase in a too-big military costume, and that boy just looked at me and said, "Thank you, sir." He thought it was I who had ... And we'd keep them for some days. We had a very good children doctor. He went around to the hospitals and to the orphanages around and get through the shield and then picked those who were ill, and they could get carried to the hospital. Then it was my way to bring them back again. That was in the Busan Catholic mission, Maryknoll Sisters which I admire more than most people. They lived in ... had a wonderful place in the middle of a slum, and there could be ... You'll see if I find it. Oh, there it is, I think. No, that is the boy I spoke about when he had been brought to an orphanage. He was especially fond of me, and it was not always so very good. I remember the Rusk commission, you know Dean Rusk foreign ministry had a special commission in Korea to find out the political circumstances that we had at inner for at the hospital, and it was very wounded, very fine people, and I got it in the bottom there somewhere and made the little thing ... This boy came and hopped up in my knee. >> Oh, no! >> And then it was not so [INAUDIBLE] so strong. >> Do you remember his name? Name? Name, his name. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> Nay. >> Nay. >> No. I have no idea his name. There was no time to find out who he was. That is the orphanage. The Maryknoll Sisters were very ... Swedish [INAUDIBLE] they were very interested of the Koreans and supported them very much, so we had, for example, once a week, we'd have the bingo evening, but it was a custom in the last weeks I was there that the one who won, he gave it to the children, so I had to be down with a gift for about $100 to Maryknoll Sisters to send it for the two. That's fantastic. >> You said that was a Christmas card. Can you show us the Christmas card? >> This card. >> Ooh. >> Oh, it's my ... You see I'm not used to it because I didn't come serve in the military ... come serve in Sweden, but when I got out into the hospital, I was an officer, so I had to say I say to everybody ... I got my own servant, and, boy, he came in every morning, made it clean for me, and so I am missing him. He was a student, I think, and his name was Andon Ackwy Gordon Anton. He gave Swedish names, and this is a Christmas card from him. >> Can you show it inside? Inside. >> Yes, yes. >> Inside. >> Yeah. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> There. >> He drew it. >> I don't know. >> He drew it. >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> He said it's painted. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Well, you talked a little bit about your personal experience, but tell us ... >> Well, my special task was for Swedish person. I had to care for their spiritual care and in firsthand service and so on and to be there for people who wanted to speak to me. I had maybe little too great expectations that all going out there were idealists to work for a big case, but in fact, there were a lot of people who tried to flee their problems at home, as if it should be easier solved there, so it was rather much of that up to. Then I had to be to the entertainment detail, so I had to make evenings for the personnel where we were speaking, and so I had ... I don't know if I have some of the programs since we have it in ... We have it every week, every week newspaper for the personnel where everybody could write, and we had the program for every week. >> Wow. Every week? Every week? >> Yes. >> Wow. >> Nearly every week. It was sometimes ... And it was, you see, we were not more than 140 people there, 50 people maybe, and they like to see what it is ... >> What is inside? Tell me. What's inside? >> Yes. Today ... Come on here. Serious articles, and there was ... >> Poem? Poems? >> This is everything which ... >> Poem. >> ... about what is happening in the hospital. For example, we had two American social workers there, and they got medals from the chief, and we wrote a little here. He had the medals in his pocket, and we wrote here something about that we have seen give medals to them, and we are glad he didn't get more after his pocket, and then it ... [INAUDIBLE]. It's funny how people can hand you things, and we had made big songs for the evenings we had, which I have one of them there which everybody would sing it at the evenings, and it as always full. Somebody told about something they had done. I spoke, for example, about Israel. >> Do you remember the song? Do you know how to sing it? >> What? >> Can you sing the song? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> No. From Sweden to Korea, we [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. Or it was the military chief. We met in Tokyo, and then it's a refrain. Oh, little one, excuse me we're in the same shape, and nothing will be better if you are angry about it. That was the song. It was just [INAUDIBLE] ... I don't know. >> Wow. How do you remember? >> We have no flag. Yeah, so there's no flag, but it's not our fault because somebody took it and run a feast. >> Are you proud of Sweden for fighting in the war? >> If you want to see [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] ... >> Christmas tree. Christmas tree. >> Yeah. If you want to see a tree, such one you have for Christmas, so look at your second lieutenant is rather ugly. >> Second lieutenant. >> Are you proud of Swedish contributions in the war? >> What? >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] >> Yes, I am. It's only little port. It's like my port. It's a very little in those, but when I see the first photos I had here about Korea, how it looked ... Hold on. [INAUDIBLE] ... how it looked when I came and see the pictures from Busan today. It's rather fantastic. >> Have you been to Korea? >> What? >> Have you been to Korea? >> No, I'm sorry. I haven't. I've been rather much around the world, most places, Paris, but I haven't come back to Korea. Nearest I have been is in China, and that's a big difference. >> If you would go back, you would be shocked, shocked. >> Yes, would like to go, but it's too late now. I can't go to even to my mail. >> That's why I'm here. I came to say thank you. >> Thank you very much! >> Yes! >> It's very nice. >> Because I am a product ... >> I'm sorry it's so ... But I'm not quite ... >> No, no, no. >> ... prepared for it. >> No, no. Last ... >> I'm a little tired of [INAUDIBLE] >> I know. Last question. The war never ended. The Korean War never ended, right? >> No. >> Just armistice. >> No. I hope it will be an end but what end? >> Yes, and I hope that it would end and ... >> Same people, completely different. They don't understand each other at all. >> Yes, but still brothers and sisters, right? >> What? >> But still brothers and sisters, one people. >> Yes. >> So I hope that it will end, and the country and unify. >> Yes. It could be that. Can see it in Vietnam. It has been ... >> And Germany. >> ... and rather much better than most socialistic country, yeah. >> Okay. I know you're tired, so thank you so much. That's good.