May 17 marks Norwegian Constitution Day, so this Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to share about a surprising connection between Saranac Lake and Norway. When the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940, many Norwegian merchant seamen who were at sea at the time came to the US and other allied countries, in the hope of joining the war effort. Given a medical examination in New York City, a number were found to be suffering from tuberculosis, and many of these found their way to Saranac Lake. It is difficult to know how many came, as they were spread among many different cure cottages, but the number may have been as high as five hundred.
During the 1940s, sixteen died in Saranac Lake, fifteen men and one woman, a sea captain's daughter; they are buried in a special section of Pine Ridge Cemetery that is maintained yearly at the expense of the Norwegian government. This photograph shows the marker in the Norwegian section, which reads: "In memory of Norwegian seafarers who died fighting for the liberation of their country, 1940-1945."
To learn more about the Norwegians who came to Saranac Lake, and the continued connection between our village and the Norwegian government, visit our wiki.
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!