A Secret Journey

A Secret Journey : The Courageous Story of Art Hilmo

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Johan Arthur Hilmo was born April 18, 1924, in a small mountain valley near Trondheim, Norway. Art was the oldest of four children. He had two younger brothers, Per and Bjorn, and one sister, Inger. They loved to play in the lush, green valley or on the nearby mountain. The children helped with the work of the farm, and Art began milking cows when he was eight years old. In the summer, the children took their five cows up the mountain to graze. A small cabin stood nearby, where the family would rest or play. Art's father harvested grass to provide hay for the cattle to eat during the hard Norwegian winters. They also raised and sold foxes for extra income. When the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940, they took people's radios to keep them from learning the truth about the war. They took the Hilmos' radio, too, but Art's father had a second one hidden in the fox pen. This radio could be operated with telephone batteries. Art remembered secretly listening to English radio stations for war updates. His little sister, Inger, remembered being afraid of what could happen if the enemy discovered their secret. Besides the radio hidden in the fox pen, there was another secret in the valley. Art's parents, and families with similar values, were helping Jews and other refugees escape Nazi persecution by traveling across the border to safety in Sweden. The family made a decision to help refugees flee. It was dangerous for them, because the Nazis would kill anyone assisting the Jews. As a teenager, Art began the dangerous work of skiing refugees across the mountains into Sweden. They often had very little time to reach safety, covering many miles on foot or cross-country skis. Art's mother sewed a white jacket and pants for skiing, to help him blend into the snowy countryside. She even made white spats to cover his shoes. One time, the Nazis needed a guide who was familiar with the region. They made Art lead them through the mountains. "I took them the wrong way," On a day in April of 1945, they experienced a miracle. Nazi soldiers were on their way to arrest them, but a blizzard struck the valley, and the orders were never carried out. The war ended, but times were still difficult in Norway. The Hilmos wanted to come to America for a better life. Art, his father, and one brother came through Ellis Island then crossed the country to Everett, Washington to find work. A year later, the rest of the family joined them. In the meantime, Art fell in love with Evelyn Lindstrom from DeWitt, Iowa. She had relocated to the northwest to work in the shipyards during the war. They married in 1949. Evelyn was homesick so they moved to Davenport, Iowa where they raised one son and three daughters. Art worked as a carpenter and retired in 1989. His family grew to include eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Art traveled back to Norway in 1999. King Harald of Norway honored him with a certificate recognizing his heroism during World War II.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 26 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 1.52mm | 113.4g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • colour illustrations
  • 1514167220
  • 9781514167229

About Riley Bowman

Author Riley David Bowman is ten years old and lives in Moline, Illinois, with his parents and brother. He loves to use the computer, the Wii and play with his friends. This is his third year being home schooled, and he enjoys History the most. He has been taking piano lessons for two years.
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