The King in Exile
On June 7 the King, the Crown Prince and the Government departed for England and established our government in exile, while in September 1940 the Hitler's "Reichskommissar" Terboven introduced a Commissioners Cabinet of mostly Norwegian Nazis, allowing only Quisling's Nazi party the right to conduct any political activities. The Norwegian Supreme Court judges resigned the same month.
Resistance in many shapes
To avoid being commandeered to work for the Germans,
many (by the end of the war 44.000) young men fled into the woods
and mountains joining the Mil Org (military organisation
- the Norwegian resistance supplied by airdrops from England).
Resistance also took many other shapes: police warned the Resistance of German plans, mail, phone- and railway-workers took many chances in illegal work and many employees in the public sector lost their lives this way. Authors, actors and artists blacklisted publishers, theatres and movie houses that had been put under Nazi leadership. Even the public joined in so that at many plays, shows and movies, the seats were empty. Doctors assisted in many ways, engineers joined in actions of sabotage in industries of military importance. Sportsmen of all kinds refused to sign up for competitions arranged by the nazified Norwegian Sports Association.
The Norwegian Police were forced into the Nazi party during 1940. In Kristiansand they all resigned in protest, so to enforce the regulation, the police commissioner of Kristiansand, Rynning-Tønnessen was arrested and sent to a concentration camp in Germany. Now 60% joined the party. Rynning-Tønnessen later managed to escape to England.
In January 1941, Quisling organised "Regiment Nordland", a voluntary unit of the German Waffen-SS with the slogan: "Let us do what our ancestors did so well: capture England! The Norse man's power still runs strong in Norwegian hearts!" (!) The volunteers were promised a built-up farm of about 60-75 acres after two years active duty. Only about 1, 000 volunteers registered. In the following years several other Nazi units recruited a total of 5,000. A large number of these were lost on the East Front.
In September 1941 Terboven announced a civilian curfew from 8 PM until 5 AM banning all meetings, even "assembly of more that a few on a street corner" under the pretext of a "communist strike threat". The Labour Union staff was arrested (120 persons), 6 leaders were summarily condemned to death and shot the same afternoon.
"Blessings of Nazism"
Coffee and sugar had been rationed since the fall of 1939. After the invasion in 1940, rationing was extended to bread, flour, grain, and peas, butter and other fats. Later also milk, meat and soap, tobacco, alcohol, clothes and shoes. Only newborn and sick people could have fresh milk, others only small rations of skim milk. For lack of metal, new coins issued from 1941 were made in zinc and iron.
How to cope with next to nothing!
Many used fish oil for cooking and lots of replacement goods turned
up: surrogate coffee, tea, sugar and egg powder, wooden shoes and shoes
with wooden soles, show made of fish skin with a wooden, bendable sole.
Some inventive merchants even tried to sell "pineapple" (slices of turnip
with a hole, in a sauce of coloured water with essence of pineapple); cakes
coloured yellow to pretend they contain eggs; "smoked salmon": smoked cod
coloured red by some tarlike colour; butter surrogate with 6 instead of
80% fat, consisted of margarine whipped in milk and starch; juice where
only the water was real, the rest being artificial colour, artificial sweetening
and essence; coffeesaving tablets hardly containing anything other than
soda; tea on dried leaves, fruit peels, even moss or sprigs of pine with
the most fantastic names. Tobacco would come in many varieties: cranberry
heather, moss, hops and many other things were put in the pipe to add to
the meagre rations. If you came into a room where somebody was smoking,
you would believe there was a forest fire!
The Germans often conducted house-to-house searches for illegal stuff, so people trying to buy meat on the black market (trading against clothes, silverware or hard liquor) would perhaps transport it home in a baby carriage. Clothes were turned inside out. Men's suits became ladies' costumes, surplus bed covers turned into dresses and skirts. Exchange centres blossomed for all kinds of goods.
click on pict. for enlargement
|The few cars still on the road could have no gas and had to be driven by so-called generator-wood. The chauffeur had to be stoker at the same time and check that the engine got ample supply of heat and gas from the large cylinder shaped generator usually placed in the rear or on the side of the car/truck.|
(Note the queue! This one at the Centralteateret in Oslo, but it might have been a shop with an offer ... any offer!)
By June 1941, 1,500 people had escaped across the border to neutral Sweden, helped by specialist guides from Mil Org. The Germans issued special passports for anyone who wanted to travel to another part of the country and border passes with photos for anyone living in border-areas or along the coast. Everyone else had to carry identity papers.
A problem for everyone engaged in activities against the Germans were
"the informer" - Norwegians who reported to Gestapo (GEheime STAatsPOlizei,
the German secret police). One who set an incredible record of handing
over 1,000 to the Germans, of which 75 were killed and hundreds were tortured,
was Henry Oliver Rinnan and his 60 member "Sonderabteilung Lola" of the
Gestapo. He was caught after the war and found guilty on 13 counts of murder
and received his death sentence.
|Truth might kill you
Listening to the radio was prohibited and all radios were confiscated in the fall of 1941. Many people secretly kept radios/parts that enabled them to listen to the Norwegian News from BBC, but this was very dangerous. In 1942, the German introduced death penalty for listening to radio or spreading illegal newspapers. More than 250 illegal "newspapers" (most were actually just a couple of stencilled pages) were published. Between 3,000 and 4,000, Norwegians were arrested for illegal news distribution. 212 resistance people lost their lives, 65 of them were executed.
|The electric fence at Grini and punishment exercise under the command of SS Unterscharführer Kunze, whose terror regimen will never be forgotten by those who experienced him. One would often see prisoners collapsing from over-exertion, some even dying. [From "Sketches in hiding" by Gunnar Bratlie, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Oslo 1947 - drawn in the camp and smuggled out during the war.]|
Church at War
797 of Norway 858 vicars resigned after all the bishops had laid down their offices in February 1942 in a protest against he Nazis' immoral education of children and young people in 'life values foreign to Christianity". Some were arrested and brought to Grini, many vicars were interned on an island in Mjøsa. Although the vicars had resigned, they carried on their church sermons and all other work they could as non-officials. As they received no pay, they had to be paid in illegal ways. The remaining vicars' sermons were mostly held in empty churches.
Subduing the Schoolteachers
Schoolteachers were forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to Nazism as Nazis staffed leader positions in educational fields. Therefore, most teachers resigned their membership in the Teachers' Association. In March 1942 1,100 teachers all over Norway were arrested and 500 of them, after harsh treatment at Grini and other Gestapo camps, were deported to the Arctic town Kirkenes near the Russian border. The trip there started in rail-cattle wagons to Trondheim where the teachers were stowed on board a small ship, "Skjærstad", with only 96 bunks and registered for 150 passengers. The German guards took most of the space. After two weeks with hardly any food, water or air and no sanitary facilities, the prisoners were put to forced road labour for several months.
Subduing the Students
In November 1943, Gestapo surrounded Oslo University to arrest all students. 1,200 were rounded up and told they were to be sent to Germany for SS re-training. 2,000 got away, 1,000 of them managed to escape to Sweden; the remaining took to the wood and mountains. 700 students were shipped to Germany for training, which failed and was cancelled. 17 students lost their lives, either during captivity or shortly after their return.
Holocaust in Norway
On November 25, 1942 762 Jews of all ages from newborn to the eldest
were arrested and shipped to Germany and killed in the gas chambers after
a few days. Only 22 came back alive.
Aid from Danes and Swedes
From the fall of 1941 humanitarian aid started to arrive from Denmark
and Sweden. In the beginning, this was for the families of political prisoners,
sick and lonely parents. After a while many parcels were sent on to our
'boys in the woods' (Mil Org). In 1943 schoolchildren began receiving 'Danish-soup'
- by 1945 80, - 90,000 children were fed this 'Danish or Swedish soup'
at school. In 1944 15,000 mostly elderly received soup through the church.
It is calculated that more than 200,000 children, youth and elderly received
this aid from Sweden.
|Constitution Day May 17th
Picture at left show Norwegian children
... meanwhile in Oslo: May 14th, 1941:
Announcement from the Reichskommissar
"All demonstration in open air or closed rooms are prohibited on May 17th. This includes marches or gatherings on streets and squares. Display of flags on half, black mourning band or crepes and the singing of national hymns in restaurants and public places is forbidden. Work and shopping shall be conducted as usual on May 17th and the public will conduct themselves with dignity".
Blackout was general: All street lamps were turned off, pocket flashlights were forbidden to use outdoors if they were not covered in blue with just a small stripe open. No light must be emitted from any window. All windows had to be covered by heavy blackout-paper or black drapes. The Germans held a strict control and blackout-time was published every day. In the winter from 3 PM until 9 AM, except in Northern Norway where blackout was for 24 hours.
The Russians are coming!
On October 25, 1944, Russian troops took Kirkenes after heavy fighting against the German 6th Bergdivision. Of the 6,000 remaining Norwegian civilians, 4,000 had sought refuge from the battle inside the mines of Sørvaranger Mining Co at Lake Bjørnevatn. Ten children were born during the battle. Outside houses, barracks and storages were on fire. Ammunition depots exploded. Most of the housing area was lost. The town of Kirkenes was almost obliterated after all the preceding air attacks. As the Germans pulled out, half-drunk soldiers poured gasoline on sheep and set them on fire, letting them run off like live torches. From their hiding places the survivors could watch their homes burn down ... winter was approaching ...
"Burn & Kill!"
On October 28, 1944, Hitler ordered the evacuation by force of the entire
population of Finmark, burning or destruction of all houses. "Those trying
to hide will be chased as spies and shot!" The German troops followed the
Führer's order meticulously, setting each room on fire, breaking all
windows to make sure the fire caught on, collecting and slaughtering all
farm animals, burning all boats, piers, telephone poles, etc. etc. The
population was stowed on board fishing boats etc. and taken away to southern
Norway and force lodged with the local civilian population (families with
a dining room/sitting room/bedroom in excess of what the Nazis deemed necessary).
|I - Invasion of Norway||II - The Home Front||III - Norwegian Allies|