Tag: Emigration

Get to know Reinert Lie

Get to know Reinert Lie

Reinert Lie

This is Reinert Lie from Stavanger, Norway, born 1894 in Flekkefjord. In 1970 he took the drastic decision to bicycle from Stavanger, Norway to Morocco in search of his brothers grave! (approx. 4400km)

His brother, Josef Tommy Lie (aka Joseph Lee), emigrated to the US in 1923 with his wife Johanne Marie, and son John. They settled in Brooklyn New York, and lived there until WW2. His son John Lie b.1918 enlisted in US Army ’39, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. John died in battle in ’43 near Carthage, Tunisia, and is buried there. When this news reached his parent, it must have been devastating, and a blow that was hard to get over. Joseph and Marie must have decided to move to California, but Marie must have gotten ill, and dies in Douglas, Cochise. Joseph actually lives in Los Angeles, and dies there in 1964?

Reinert Lie announcing that he will undertake his trip to Morocco

So, this is where the story gets a bit strange. It seems that Reinert is not aware that Joseph is still alive after the war, and is living in Los Angeles. Somewhere along the lines, the news that his nephew John dies during the war is somehow mixed up, and he believes his brother is buried somewhere in Africa, possibly Casablanca. So he actually goes ahead, and starts his formidable task to bicycle to Morocco, on his best “DBS” bicycle. What is even more incredible is that he is 75 years old, and has a colostomy condition.

Reinert sets off 20 July 1970. From Stavanger to Kristiansand, gets on the ferry to Denmark, and continues south. From time to time, newspaper reports follow his progress. August 6th, a report describes Reinert being hit by a truck, and ended up in hospital in Kolding, Denmark, but that he is again well on his way again. Danish media has now picked up on this “mad norwegian”, and his following him as well. What is striking about the reports is Reinerts positive nature, and how he being treated during his trip.

Reinert in Amsterdam

But soon his luck is challenged again, and a report from Amsterdam on August 24, he reports that his bicycle was stolen while he was spending the night in a hostel. The local police was searching all over Amsterdam, and he actually got his bicycle back, and could continue his journey. He sets off towards Antwerp in Belgium. The next report in the newspaper comes September 13th, when Reinert have reached Paris. He is interviewed by Norwegian “NRK” Radio. He was telling about his many encounters with great intensity and enthusiasm. The next report comes October 13th, He is now near Bayonne, and he reports that he has taken his time enjoying his trip through France. He spent 6 weeks through France, and in Bayonne he visited the Consul to Norway, Forques, and they visited 2 Norwegian ships in port, the NAL Tyrifjord, and Einar Rasmussens Polycastle. In Bordeaux he met up with the Consul to Norway, Hartman. The next destination is St.Sebastian in Spain, and then the plan is Valencia, Malaga, Marbella and Gibraltar.

Reinerts nephew, John Lie, KIA 1943

The last newspaper reports is printed on Nov. 25th when he had returned home. He never made it to Morocco. During the trip over the Navarre mountains he got a severe food-poisoning, and ended up in hospital in Valencia for 12 days. He decided to end his trip, and returned home on a ship that was going back to Norway. Still, he put more that 3000 km behind him during his trip on his favorite bicycle DBS made by Øglend.

Reinert Lie dies in Stavanger in 1974, and his wife Hildur dies in 1981. We hope he got to know his brothers destiny before he passed away.

John Lie dies in battle during an attack at “El Guettar” in Tunisia. He was later awarded the Purple Heart for bravery. John was my mother Liv Sundheims cousin.

Check out my other post concerning John Lee, and Reinerts and Josephs sister Agnes Moen, who also lived in Brooklyn, New York.