In late March of 1943, four commandos arrive in northern Norway with a mission of establishing a base for sabotage operations. Before they can unload their cutter, they are betrayed, as a German Schnell boat arrives and turns the quiet fjord into a battle zone. Only one man, Jan Baalsrud, surrvives the attack. This is the story of his perilous journey to freedom.
Wounded, the dauntless soldier swims icy fjord waters, climbs snow-laden granite peaks, endures violent snowstorms and is hurled off a mountain by an avalanche. Fleeing the Gestapo and battling the harsh Arctic cold, Jan suffers snowblindness and frostbite. Though he possesses raw courage and an iron will, they are not enough to deliver him all the way to neutral Sweden and safety.
The people of northern Norway's Troms district step forward to assist Jan. Selflessly defying Nazi dictates, more than 60 people risk their lives to help the fugitive commando.
Some listeners might already be familiar with this amazing true story of survival during World War II. But even armed with the general knowledge of Jan Baalsrud’s escape from the Nazis into Arctic Norway after a failed sabotage operation, nothing compares to listening to this incredible tale as it unfolds moment by moment.
Peter Altshuler performs the diligently researched Defiant Courage with a keen ear not only for Norwegian names but also for texturizing and adding life to a story. Not that the story needs much embellishment. At one point in his escape, Baalsrud had been buried under an avalanche, had amputated nine of his toes, and was snow blind. His unlikely survival remains one of the great stories of World War II.
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