The incredible true story of Jan Baalsrud’s escape from the Nazis in the frigid wilderness of occupied Norway.
In late March 1943, in the depths of the Second World War, four Norwegian commandos arrived by fishing cutter in the cove of Toftefjord in northern Norway. They dropped anchor there, hoping to establish a base of operations for a campaign of sabotage against the occupying Nazi forces. But they were soon betrayed. A German boat attacked the cutter, killing all but one of the would-be saboteurs.
The lone survivor, Jan Baalsrud, who was wounded in the fighting, then embarked on the adventure of his life. He swam icy fjords, climbed snow-covered peaks, endured snowstorms, and got caught in a monstrous avalanche—all in an attempt to elude his Gestapo pursuers. More than sixty residents of Norway’s Troms District risked their lives to help Baalsrud, who was slowed by snow blindness and frostbite, on his perilous journey to freedom. “Baalsrud and his rescuers,” remarked the New York Times, “displayed an unbelievable level of hardheaded toughness and resilience.”
Defiant Courage is the amazing true story of Baalsrud’s escape, which inspired the book We Die Alone and the Oscar-nominated Norwegian film Nine Lives. Meticulously researched for more than five years, Astrid Karlsen Scott and Tore Haug’s account brings out the truth behind this edge-of-your-seat real-life survival tale.
About the author
Astrid Karlsen Scott is internationally known for her books on Norwegian culture. Her award-winning video, Christmas in Norway, has been shown on television in the United States and in Europe. She is the president of Nordic Adventure.
Dr. Tore Haug is a second cousin of Jan Baalsrud. He is an MD, and a specialized general practitioner with a private practice in Norway. Haug studied and received his medical degree from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.
Harald Zwart is a well-known Norwegian film director currently living in Los Angeles. His films include One Night at McCool’s, starring Michael Douglas, and the remake of The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan. He has been named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch.
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