Locals who experienced the occupation, testifies to a peaceful co-existence between locals and soldiers, who had a reputation for being very well disciplined. The relaxed relations were to change radically during the late autumn on 1944. On the 27th of October, Hitler ordered that the Lapland army was to employ the scorched earth tactics as they withdrew from the Murmansk front. The garrison in Gamvik was first simply evacuated, and for about a week, people believed that the war was over, and that they were free. But on the 5th of November, German commandos arrived from the sea, and Gamvik was destroyed for the first time. Houses were put on fire, livestock was shot and boats were blown up. According to the German plans, the population was to be evacuated southwards, but the vast majority instead escaped into the mountains. When the Germans left (They continued destructions in Mehamn the following day), the villagers came down and improvised simple housings from what was left. Exactly one month later, the history was repeated. The Germans came, the people ran off, and the soldiers destroyed what the villagers had managed to build up. On the 19th of December, the German “schnellboten” was heard approaching the village again. Some young men had managed to get hold of guns at this point, and upheld the German landing long enough for people to get away. Then, their simple winter shelters were ruined again. Of a total of about 300 inhabitants, only 17 were captured and sent southwards by the Germans. Many of the villagers managed to escape eastwards over sea, and reached safety behind the front. Others spent the winter in caves, turf huts or under boats turned upside down.


As the war ended, people soon engaged in reconstructing their village. Housing for people and livestock, and boats to get the fisheries going again, were the first priorities. In the first phase of the reconstruction, children from Finnmark were sent to Sweden to have safe surroundings and a wholesome diet. Through history, people had settled where they wanted to. Now, the reconstruction was planned by the central government, and many hamlets on the peninsula were not populated again. The reconstruction was in many ways a shock modernization of the county. In the 1950s and -60s, economy and civil society organisations flourished, and the population number peaked. Soon enough, inventions on both land and shore decreased the labour demand, and the mass migration southwards began.