Victor Berge – Pioneering Swedish Diver

Born in the town of Ockelbo – described by Victor Berge in his book Pearl Diver as “a little village in the pine forests of Gestrickland” – Berge spent much of his life at sea. After losing his father at a young age, the young Berge set out to sea where he spent decades  diving in the Pacific.

Having spent forty years diving, Berge has produced two biographical works of his life and adventures. His first published work is Pearl Diver which was released in 1930. The book covered his life up to 1930 when he was around 39 years of age.

Berge's second book is called Danger Is My Life which was published in 1954 which provided insight into his life up to that point. One of the most interesting entries in the biographical work was his capture and imprisonment by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Following World War II, Berge returned back home to Sweden. He spent the rest of his life there and passed away in Stockholm in 1974. He specified that he wanted to be buried on Ockelbo where he was raised, and that promise was fulfilled.

Published Works

Pearl Diver: Adventuring Over and Under Southern Seas (1930)

Berge produced the book with the help of Henry Wysham Lanier. Lanier wrote the narrative based on an exact transcript of Berge's. The illustrations in the book were done by Stephen Hawies. The book was published in 1930 by Doubleday, Doran & Company Inc.

Danger Is My Life (1954)

Written in Swedish, this book was translated by Mervyn Savill. The book covers Berge's life in the South Seas and includes his capture by the Japanese where he was brought to Java.

Diving Legacy

Berge invented a diving mask “now used in salvage operations all over the world.” He filed a patent for this invention on March 4, 1941. Called the  Berge Mask, it was produced by Ohio Rubber Co. 

You may also like View all