For the 80th Anniversary of the Liberation of Northern Norway, the WWII History Is Being Rewritten There

(Updated 28.10.2022 – added an afterword)

On the 25th of October 2019, the Norwegian state TV channel NRK 2 aired a 3 hour 20 minute long TV marathon, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of liberation of Finnmark, Northern Norway, by the Soviet troops. The documentary went under the title “Saved by the Russians”.

Save by the Russians

It featured a wide range of materials – interviews with the surviving witnesses, official ceremonies, both Norwegian and Russian documentaries, the efforts to locate the unburied remains of the fallen Soviet soldiers, interviews with the politicians and historians, a cultural part, where we could even see the choir of the Russian Northern Fleet sailors performing the Norwegian anthem.

Here are the chapter titles to give an idea of the scope of the documentary: Russians are coming; The King is giving his thanks; Russian liberation; The last days of the war; The battle of Neiden; Mothers and children in a war; War-zone Murmansk; Russian captives; The partisan Trygve Eriksen; The history of the partisans; The choir of the Northern Fleet; Forced evacuation on the North; The liberation anniversary in Kirkenes; The Prime Minister is giving a commentary; The battles on the Litsa front; The big losses of the Litsa dale; Dead soldiers in Litsa dale; The year under Russian governorship; Nidviser speaks about the local population; The children of war; The Swedish children; Child-soldier Alf Rafaelsen; Still finding the remains from the war; The culture of memory; The cooperation across borders; The choir of the Northern Fleet.

At a time when the rest of Europe was descending into a historical amnesia when it came to the events of World War II, with the history being actively re-written, this Norwegian program was a bastion of steadfast remembrance of history.

Norway will never forget the Soviet army’s heroic efforts.

The heading of this paragraph is a line from the “Saved by the Russians” documentary. Four years have passed, and this bastion has fallen. Artyom Grishanov, in his song “Russian Soldier Saved the World” from September 2016 was completely right: “Such a short memory, didn’t last for even 100 years. Such an enormous impudence to cast a shadow over our victories.“. Here, a sidenote is needed for those too young to know or those with too short a memory to remember: the Germans, just like the US-NATO members afterwards, called all of the people of the Soviet Union for Russians, regardless if it was a Kazah, a Russian, a Tatar or a Udmurt.

Please listen to this song and to the introductory newsreels.

Norway is inviting Zelensky – the one who openly considers Bandera, the Ukrainian equivalent of Quisling, as a national hero – for the 80th anniversary next year, and in this connection it is rewriting that history. Now it is “Ukrainians” who liberated Norway. This was written in the Norwegian newspaper “VG” from the 10th of October 2023. The newspaper relays the statement of a politician from Finnmark from the “Right” party, Hans-Jacob Bønå, who adamantly says that no one from Russia will be invited, but the honours would be given to Ukraine. At least, VG was seemingly not entirely comfortable with rewriting the whole of the history in one swipe, so the ingress reads:

Even though it was the Soviet troops that liberated Finnmark in 1944, it is Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky who is invited to the 80-th anniversary of the liberation of East-Finnmark next year.

Much can change until the next year, but still…

Back in 2019 we could hear this in a dialog with Jan Espen Kruse, a Norwegian correspondent to Russia:

– Finally there was a lot of debate about Vladimir Putin. The President was to be invited here to Kirkenes. That did not happen. Should he have been here?

– We do not know what he would have answered. He has not received the invitation. And who knows. This is important. We are a neighbouring country. … Foreign Minister Lavrov, who has been here today, who really is a great politician both in Russia and internationally. It has gone very well seen from the Norwegian side. Of course it would have been fun to have President Putin here. But maybe next time.

Once the news became known, “Argumenty i Fakty” published an indignant article about it that describes the northern military operation in great detail. I will only translate three fragments here:


“Let’s express our gratitude to the Ukrainian soldiers”

According to the publication Verdens gang, this intention was announced by the head of the East Finnmark region, Hans-Jakob Beno.

“Russia is positioning itself in such a way that it is impossible,” Bønå said. — On behalf of the Finnmark Provincial Council, I will soon invite President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky here for the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Eastern Finnmark. In this way we will express our gratitude, including to the Ukrainian soldiers who sacrificed their blood for the liberation of Eastern Finnmark, to their descendants and their homeland, Ukraine.”

Bønå also announced that “the first Soviet unit to enter Kirkenes was led by a Ukrainian officer.”

An acute desire to divide the Red Army by nationality arose in the “civilized world” long before the beginning of the SMO. The thesis about the “Ukrainian Fronts” started to be used, which allegedly meant that only Ukrainians were liberating Europe as part of them.

. . .

Why was the liberator of Kirkenes stripped of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union?

It is, of course, necessary to tell about the “Ukrainian officer” who, according to the current head of East Finnmark, was the first to enter Kirkenes.

That is really so. The first to break into the city was a company of machine gunners of the 325th Rifle Regiment of the 14th Rifle Division under the command of Vasily Lynnik, a native of the Kiev region.

A participant in the Soviet-Finnish War, a graduate of the Leningrad Rifle and Machine Gun School, he distinguished himself in battles in Northern Norway, for which he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union along with the award of the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal.

After the war, Vasily Lynnik continued his service in the ranks of the Soviet Army in the North Caucasus Military District, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After leaving the ranks as a reserve, he settled in Rostov-on-Don and began working in the field of trade. In the early 1970s, the competent authorities became interested in Lynnik, the director of shop No. 7 of the Rostov Gortextilshveitorg (State Textile and Sewing Trading). In 1974, the war hero was sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzlement on a particularly large scale.

By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of July 22, 1975, for committing a crime discrediting the title of order bearer, Lynnik was stripped of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and all awards.

Vasily Antonovich Lynnik lived in Rostov after his release, was awarded jubilee awards for the anniversaries of the Victory. He died in the early 1990s, and could not have imagined that someone would think of separating him from his comrades on a national basis.

. . .

“And who won in the end?”

More than 3,000 Soviet soldiers were killed in the battles for the liberation of Northern Norway. Apparently, the authorities of this country will now also be distributing honours to the fallen, depending on their nationality?

In fact, in the history of Norway there is already an example of the most offensive attitude to the memory of the Soviet liberators. In 1951, the authorities conducted Operation “Asphalt” — the graves of Soviet soldiers were ravaged, and the remains were taken to the island of Hyetta, where they were buried in a common cemetery.

The reason for this was the fear that visits to soldiers’ graves would become a cover for espionage operations of the Soviet intelligence. However, this dirty page of Norwegian history deserves a separate story.

In the 1950s, local members of the Resistance turned out to be “under the hood” of the special services in Norway – they were suspected of sympathizing with the USSR, which was by that time considered a sin in the NATO country. Norwegian fighters against the Nazism then bitterly joked: “And who won in the end?”

And now, listening to the revelations of Norwegian politicians, you ask the same question.


As for the usage of the Ukrainian fronts that the West uses to single out the fronts by the nationality. Has anyone given a though that ethnic “Leningradians” were fighting as part of the Leningrad front? My own grand-uncle, judging by his war path, fought as part of one or more Ukrainian fronts. The catch? He was born in the Altai Krai, Siberia, RSFSR, while he served as a conscript in the Belorussian SSR.

We shall see what happens on the 25th of October 2024…

Afterword

This year, on the 79th anniversary of liberation of Norwegian Finnmark by the Red Army, there is a political fall-out from the actions of the Norwegian government. Below is a translation of an AiF article from the 27th of October.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Norwegian ambassador after an attempt to disrupt the honouring of Soviet soldiers

Norwegian Ambassador Robert Kvile was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry due to attempts by the kingdom’s authorities to disrupt an event honouring the fallen Soviet soldiers, the press service of the ministry reported. The diplomat was informed of the unacceptability of restricting the rights of Russian representatives during mourning events.

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the actions of the mayor of the municipality of Southern-Varanger, who, according to NRK, “became enraged” because the Russian wreath covered the Norwegian one.

“It seems that not only the historical memory has been lost, but also the conscience,” the ministry noted.

Earlier, the mayor of the municipality of Southern-Varanger removed the Russian wreath from the monument to Soviet soldiers-liberators in Kirkenes, laid by the consul Nikolai Konygin. Later, one of the Russians returned it to its place.


Transcript of “Saved by the Russians”

Below is a complete automatic AI-based transcript and translation of the documentary marathon “Saved by the Russians”. It is too big to edit (for now), and the AI has trouble with some Norwegian dialects and occasional colloquial phrases. For the most part, however, the translation is comprehensible, but should be treated critically.

It was here, in Finnmark, that the liberation began.
October 25, 1944.
Moved the most Soviet units into Kirkenes and liberated the first parts of Norway.
They came to devastated cities and burnt down greenhouses.
From the mines not far from here, people streamed out into the light and greeted their liberators.
Norway has never forgotten, and will never forget, the great contribution our Russian neighbors made for our freedom above all else.
For over a thousand years, Norway and Russia have lived in peace and good neighborliness.
Between our two countries there has never been war.
Few neighboring countries can show such a legacy.
The only time the war came here, we stood together.
October 25, 1944.
A strange day in Norwegian history.
The Red Army marched into Kirkenes, a city almost even with the earth.
Completely bombed and destroyed.
But now it was liberated.
The fortress of Kirkenes had fallen.
A warm welcome to Åfellars Arena. Welcome to Kirkenes.
For the next three hours, we will tell this unique story about how the Russians came here in Sørvaranger and East Finnmark to liberate the first part of Norway from Nazi Germany.
A year and a half before the rest of the country.
There are still witnesses. Those who saw, those who experienced and remember.
Many of them are with us here tonight. We are very happy about that.
Earlier today, there was a big event at the square here in Kirkenes.
Here we see King Harald on the red banner followed by the mayor of Sørvaranger, Rune Raphaelsen.
The square was full of people. This is a very important day for the inhabitants here.
King Harald greets the Russian war veterans.
Here we also see the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Norwegian colleague Ine Eriksen-Søreide.
And of course Prime Minister Erna Solberg. She was also present here in Kirkenes today.
To our guests, I would like to reiterate what is written on the memorandum of the fallen Soviet soldiers on Western Gravelund in Oslo.
Norway thanks you.
This is engraved in stone.
And to the people here in Østsynmark, I would like to say thank you for the courage, the strength of action,
endurance throughout the years of war and the time after.
I wish you all the best for the celebration of the peace that came here to Østsynmark in October 1944.
The liberation happens after Kirkenes has been an active war zone for several years.
From the summer of 1941 to the autumn of 1944, this city was bombed 328 times.
It is every third day on average.
And it was mainly Russian, that is, Allied aircraft, that were bombed.
And that was because the Germans had their main base with sightings of the northern front right here.
Ragnar Dahl, Asbjørn Jaklin, welcome here.
Ragnar, in these days, 75 years ago, you are just 12 years old.
You live in the border of Jakobselv, about 50 km further east here.
During the autumn, there were reports that the front line was approaching.
The Russians are on their way.
You have to move from the farm to the mountainside.
But every day you come down again to stand with the animals.
And on the 18th of October, you stand down by the river Elvebredda, and then something happens.
Yes, we had come home and finished standing with the animals.
I went swimming at the farm, because our house was only 60-70 meters from the border.
Then I suddenly see a brown-clad man with ears on the other side of the river.
I immediately saw that it was a soldier, because he had a gun in his belt.
But he had a brown uniform.
The Germans had a green uniform.
But there were no Germans there.
So he called out to me and asked if there was anyone who was perceived as German.
I did not understand what he meant by that word.
But then he said to me, German.
And I replied, no German, because there were no Germans there.
Then he turned towards the forest and said something.
And then a big, strong man with a lot of medals, a gun in his belt, and a staff in his hand, rose up.
And together with him, 16 people rose up.
They were all officers.
And they came out over the river.
Then the forest moved to the other side.
I thought there was a Russian behind each bus.
I had gone there, but I had not seen any lives.
But they came out over the river.
Fortunately, his father was at home.
He did not like to be at home, because the Germans had told him once that if it was up-to-date,
he should take the civilians and go over the mountain to Jarfjord.
There the buses would stand and evacuate them.
I ran to get him.
He came down, and we got over 6-7-8 Russian officers.
But none of us could speak Russian so much that we could have a real conversation.
But there was a lady not far away who spoke fluent Russian, and we got hold of her.
They stood there and talked for a couple of hours, and then they said goodbye to us.
Because they had not received a message about crossing the Norwegian border.
Did you go up again in the mountains when it was evening?
No, we went home, because we heard that there were no Germans.
They had gone until the 18th.
So we were no longer Germans.
Then it went to the 19th, and at 7 o’clock in the morning,
two officers came and asked if they could borrow some material that we had lying on the riverbed,
because they were going to build a bridge over the river.
They agreed to build a bridge, and when it was finished, they started to come over.
It was not just one or two who came.
But you stood there and counted.
I sat on the stairs and counted.
1,400 men passed by the kitchen stairs that day.
Was it just men?
It was not just men, there were some women as well.
I remember one woman, she was very small, maybe 1.45 meters tall.
She had a sword on her shoulder, and up there she had a triangular bayonet,
as we see in the Napoleon pictures.
This is the historical event.
You are probably the first to receive Russian soldiers crossing the border to Norway.
I would like you to tell us about the vision you had that evening,
when you were ready for them to come.
That evening, the whole line on the other side was lit up.
I’m sure it must have been at least several hundred firecrackers.
It was a fantastic sight to see the line there lit up.
On the 19th, when they came over, and we saw that Germany was withdrawn,
the Norwegian flag went to Topsport on the border with Jakobshavn.
We were the first border in Norway that had left Germany.
Asbjørn, this is Sør-Varanger, but if we look outside,
it’s still half a year before the rest of Norway will experience liberation.
Where does World War II stand at this point?
In Europe, fortunately, things are getting worse for Hitler.
It’s been a long time since he looked invincible.
That day, the big march in Normandy, was held four months before this.
The red one here is at the prison in the east.
But people don’t know at this point when the war will end,
and that it will last another six months.
That’s the big picture.
But what does it mean for the war, that the Germans will be forced to retreat
up here on the northern front?
I would say that the politicians you interview, before I answer that,
think we have to go back to the summer of 1941 to understand this.
If we had been able to roll down a map like this,
we would have had to have Eastern Finland,
but we would also have had to have Northern Finland,
and North-Western Russia to understand this.
Because in the summer of 1941, as everyone knows,
Germany attacks the Soviet Union.
And in the north, it looks like Eastern Finland,
but also a long front that goes down to Northern Finland.
And the Germans are aiming at strategically important cities in the north-west,
such as Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Kondalatsja,
and get control of the railway that goes there.
They are certain of victory.
The most well-informed talk about that this will take a week.
But that’s not the way it goes.
There, you meet hordes of mosquitos this summer.
There, you meet a terrain that is almost hopeless,
and difficult to advance in.
And not least, you meet the Russians, who defend themselves very well.
So instead of this taking a week,
a front is frozen for three years.
And that’s not far from the front standing.
And that explains, as you mentioned,
how Eastern Finland becomes a war zone in three years, with a lot of bombing.
It says three years, but then a couple of important things happen
in September and October 1944.
Yes, I have to answer the question.
No, in the fall of 1944, at least two important things happen at the same time.
Finland is pushed out of the war.
They have been allied with Germany.
But they get an ultimatum.
If you don’t turn your weapons against your former allies,
you get a direct declaration of war.
It is the Allies who make this ultimatum.
And when Finland goes out of the war,
much of the geographical platform for the German attack
that has been in the north disappears.
So a large army, the so-called Lapland army,
of 200,000 men has to withdraw.
And many of them go into Norway,
in Eastern Finland and over Kirpisjärvi.
And then at the same time,
the Russians come upon an unexpectedly strong offensive in the west.
They hunt this army.
And they have a lot of fighting power,
synchronized with the Northern Fleet and Herne.
So what happens is that they hunt this Herne several times,
try to cut it off and deny it.
That’s the order.
So Eastern Finland is liberated
as a result of a larger military operation in the northern area.
Thank you so much, Asbjørn.
If anyone thought it was a bit difficult to follow,
I promise we will come back to all these things later in the broadcast.
But there have been reports that the Germans are retreating,
that the front line is approaching.
So the people in the mine town of Kirkenes
are preparing for tough battles here as well.
The last weeks before the liberation day,
nearly 4,000 people had moved into the mine tunnel to A.S. Sydvaranger
in Bjørnevatn outside Kirkenes.
It would prove to be a solid and good refuge for the population.
With them in the large tunnel area,
people had taken with them inventory, bikes, mattresses, beds and equipment.
The mine company had provided for a large oven where they could cook food.
There was even room for a small nursery in the tunnel.
Eastern Finland is liberated.
Half a year before the rest of the country.
A strange day in Norwegian history.
Now we have new guests.
Inger Hivan Sissel Fredriksen, welcome.
Inger, you were five and a half years this fall,
but you still remember very well, not least the day
when it became clear that you had to leave your home and look for the tunnel.
The 22nd and 23rd of October,
there were intense booms and air raids all the time.
We were used to activity,
but we saw the reaction of the German soldiers.
We lived in a place called Stalbakken in Bjørnvann.
Here they lifted Russian prisoners and their own deserters every day.
We were allowed to sit at the cold chamber and share food with them.
But that day, everything was different.
We were not allowed to go so far away from the stairs where we lived.
On one of the days in Kjømninga,
there was a lot of bombing.
The German soldiers came with guns.
They bombed a gas station at Håbetbakken in Bjørnvann,
on the way to Bjørnvann, at Lukassenmyra.
You could see the flames all the way to Buggefjord
and around all the nearby areas.
The red light he has on the machine over there,
it was Bagatella in what colored the whole area red.
This has burned down,
and thus you travel up and into the tunnel at Bjørnvann.
There were between 3,000 and 4,000 people who stayed until the last days.
Tell me, how was this tunnel built?
It is well known, but I don’t think people know it.
When I look at the walls around here,
they are just as black as the tunnel.
It gives an unpleasant feeling.
You heard rumbling water from the mountain walls around.
You were also afraid that those you didn’t want to enter the tunnel,
would come looking for light.
So that at times during the day, you turned off all electricity.
It had to be quiet.
Then it was just water you heard.
And darkness.
We were so lucky.
There were 16 people in the cabin that my father had built.
Sydvaranger was in the lead,
by bringing some material into the tunnel.
So that those who had the opportunity and the efficiency,
they built small cabins to gather the family as much as possible,
because of the children.
And all in all, it was cold there.
You had cabins.
You have said that some lived in tents,
some lived in boats.
Everything we could use to look for light, was used.
And you describe a quite claustrophobic feeling,
with these dark walls and this water.
And in the middle of this, you are also a lot of children.
You are a five year old.
What did you do during the days?
We were given strict orders.
The mothers were the ones who stayed most of the time where the children were.
And we were not allowed to move as far away from where we belonged.
So the railway track became the place where we sat.
We sat on the track.
We played.
I was so lucky that I got a large dry bag full of chocolate
from Marie Kiosken in Bjørnevald.
And then I had a party.
And then I invited all those who were nearby.
When our parents went to try and get some food,
we could sit there, because we got orders.
At night, the children were allowed to use the track.
Early in the day, the adults tried to use the same track.
But when you think about 45-50 cm distance from your head and up,
and then the walls around you,
we call it a stone sky and stone walls.
It probably did something to most people.
I don’t think anyone who sits here today, who has been in the tunnel,
will forget that.
But we also have to talk about the joyful things that happened in the tunnel.
And then I turn to you, Sissel.
11 children were born in this tunnel.
You are one of them.
What do you know about the circumstances surrounding this birth?
I know that my father died earlier.
It must have been between the 14th and 20th.
He died and was put in a tent in the tunnel.
He was with my siblings.
My brother was five years old, and my sister,
two days after the 19th, died.
She walked, I don’t know, 12-15 km from Passvik,
where we lived in a cabin.
A very high pregnancy.
Yes, the day after she was born.
I was born on the 20th.
And it was Nelly who received us.
Nelly Lund, a legendary midwife who received 10 children in this tunnel.
Before we talk about her, let’s watch a clip from the archive,
from Knut Erik Jensen’s film Finnmark, between east and west, with Nelly.
It was difficult, and it was responsible,
and I tried to do what I could.
I must mention that the mothers were fantastic.
I don’t understand that they managed to do what they did.
They were always in a good mood.
I never heard any complaints.
That was Nelly Lund, and she was very proud of her mothers.
But she must have been a fantastic woman herself.
She was very unique, as I knew her.
She cared a lot about her mothers.
They were the ones she focused on.
Of course she cared about us as children.
She called us her children.
She was very proud of us.
What did she have to help herself with?
It was a highly provisional birth.
She had a sewing machine.
In her spare time, she sewed.
She had a little box, like she had little…
I don’t know how to say it.
She had a sewing machine, and she sewed.
When the birth came to one or the other mother,
she put the sewing machine down.
It was a sewing machine that you could lower.
And that’s where she put us.
She had Petromax lamps.
She also had a wardrobe full of blankets,
to keep her warm.
She had one dramatic birth.
It was one of us who had arrived too early,
a few months early.
He packed her in a boomer.
She was very small.
He put her on his chest, and she walked with him for several hours,
to keep her warm and alive.
He was bad.
But he survived, and he’s alive today.
Fantastic.
Later in the show, we’ll talk about the Russian prisoner.
On the table, if anyone has seen it,
there’s a crocodile, cut out of wood,
quite artificial.
You got it from her?
Yes, I got it in 1993.
In 1983, I had my first grandchild.
She got it from a Russian prisoner.
She gave them food.
If I remember correctly,
it was on the roundabout,
where the camp was.
She constantly gave them food.
She got it.
I got it in 1983.
Many have played with it.
Ingrid, I have to ask you,
because you also remember that day,
when you were allowed to come out.
What has been left of it?
When they came and shouted that the Germans were on the run,
that there was peace,
we saw the reaction of the adults.
There was joy,
and there were tears.
We didn’t understand what was going on.
As time went on,
we tried to get as much as possible with us,
to get out towards the opening.
There was a mountain,
marked in front of us,
so far in the first round.
The mothers gathered,
hugging their children.
The fathers tried to figure out what this was.
They stood there,
and suddenly it broke out.
All the songs we love.
Day by day,
it froze when it was played.
After that,
it was international.
Ingrid Limstrand,
with the first group,
went towards the exit.
When they removed the milk,
we got to see the flag.
The Norwegian flag,
that hung over.
Ingrid had seven goats,
and we talked a lot about who it was
who went with the goats.
It was Ingrid Limstrand.
Then we got that as well.
Thank you so much.
We will continue.
After the Russians had taken Kirkenes,
they moved on to Neiden.
The last big battle between the Russians and the Germans,
it was there.
About 40 km west of Kirkenes.
It happened on the 27th of October.
Many were hiding in bunkers,
along with their families.
Among others, the two we will meet now.
Neiden river.
Today, a famous salmon river.
But 75 years ago,
the edge was red with blood.
The Russians came down to the river,
and crossed it.
Then there was a battle.
Many fell into the river.
Albert Sari told us about it.
He was hiding among the stones.
Every time he moved,
there was gunfire.
He took a gun,
and shot through his gun.
That’s what happened.
The Russians attacked Neiden with a rain-controlled brigade,
which crossed the mountain from Passvik.
The day after the battle,
there was a column of rain.
Maybe a couple of hundred barrels of rain.
It was quite heavy rain.
They are probably from Siberia.
The column of rain is as heavy as a soldier.
It’s good.
A column of rain can carry at least 50-60 kilos.
More than a man.
The civilians in Neiden
were caught in the line of fire
by German and Russian soldiers.
You heard the sound of the projectiles
when they went over,
and then it exploded.
The Germans shot back.
They shot back and forth all day.
We were in Jorhule, or bunker, as we called it.
There were a lot of civilians.
There were young people,
grandmothers and mothers.
We had a good bunker,
and it was well hidden.
The Germans took it,
and we hid in the bunker.
We hid in the bunker.
We hid in the bunker, and it was well hidden.
The Germans didn’t dare to go in there,
because the Russians were already there.
When the Germans blew up the bridge,
there were two games.
We had a carbide lamp hanging in the bunker.
It was the only lighting.
It fell down because of the air pressure.
I had a great-grandmother
who was more of a Lestatian.
When the lamp fell,
she started to sing
the psalms in Sámi.
She probably thought
that you were a newcomer.
So much for the dramatic October days in 1944
and the liberation of Sørvaranger.
Now we will turn back time a few years
and look at the background
before this area and the city of Kirkenes
ended up in the middle of the crossroads
between east and west.
Operation Barbarossa.
Hitler’s attack on Sørvaranger.
Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941
changed the picture of war in Norway.
Finnmark went from being on the outskirts of war
to becoming the most important strategic area in the country.
With the Germans’ attack on Murmansk,
Kirkenes ended up in a war zone.
German troops flooded the city.
The local population decreased.
The Germans were everywhere.
Kirkenes was hit by 328 Russian bomb attacks
until the liberation in 1944.
That means a bomb attack every third day.
The Bomb Inferno took place
when the Germans made the city the main supply base
for the 220,000 German soldiers on the northern front.
Red wine, cognac and rum against the cold winter air.
For a time,
three months worth of food, equipment and ammunition
were stored here.
And not least, good drinking water.
With the bombing of the supply bases,
the Russians wanted to put the German northern front
out of the picture.
Kirkenes became the most strategically important
bomb target in Norway.
The civilian population understood this
and accepted the bombing.
But they had to pay a very high price.
Not least the children.
Svea Andersen and Justen Eliasson, welcome.
Thank you.
You were children
in the middle of these years
with almost constant bombing here in Kirkenes.
Svea, what kind of memories do you have
of everyday life in this childhood?
Yes, the memories I have are that
we were moved from…
We lived in Bråten’s backyard
in a room at the kitchen.
It was me, four brothers and mom and dad.
Dad had built a house.
A new, beautiful house.
It smelled so good.
With beautiful woodwork.
The house was located
out of the city center.
All the way down to what we called Saga.
It was one on Haganesveien in Grund.
And it was the last house on that road.
So we were very close to the priest.
And we were going to make it so beautiful.
The kitchen was big.
Now there was a living room and a bedroom for mom and dad.
And a basement.
Life was going to be good in a new house.
A new house.
With a closet in the basement.
It was just a mess.
A lot of junk.
But we didn’t live there anymore.
We didn’t live there for more than a year.
Then the war came to me.
I remember that.
We had a view of the priest.
And we looked over to Jakobsnes.
At Jakobsnes, there was a pacific timber mill.
It was a huge, large mill.
With a lot of good material.
And a lot of dry wood.
It was bombed.
And it caught fire.
It was a ball of another world.
With sparks and smoke up in the sky.
It was completely red.
Then Victor said to me,
Svea, the war has come.
But don’t be afraid.
We will take care of it.
If there is a bombing, you can just lay in the cellar.
And hide it in the dining room.
So I didn’t have to be afraid.
But that was a terrible sight.
And we had an orchestra seat.
When we stood in our living room and slept.
Jostein, bombings happened.
Very, very often.
What do you remember?
Did you have normality?
Or were you very afraid?
We were afraid in our own way.
But at the same time, I was just a boy.
When it came to this.
I was three or four years old when the Germans came here.
In a way, I sat on the stairs.
And watched more than one movie.
We sat and watched the grenades.
They exploded near the plane.
We thought the next grenade would hit closer.
In a way, we thought it was exciting.
But I never heard from my parents.
They never mentioned that Norway was at war.
They were protected against the word war.
I have to say.
But we were out playing every day.
Like most children.
When we were out playing, there was a running line.
My mother told me to stay as close to home as possible.
In case of an airplane alarm.
But as a boy, you know.
You were tall and short.
What do you think the mothers felt?
There were a thousand airplane alarms.
It was constant.
I have said this.
When you were scared.
Even at night, when there were airplane alarms.
There was a period of day we call fading.
There was no light strip in the window.
It could be a bomb target.
Or an attack target.
When there was an airplane alarm, we ran.
I had a staircase from the kitchen to the basement.
And into a dining room we had there.
It was better than mom’s prison.
Mom’s prison.
Mom’s prison, yes.
It was the best.
The security.
Today, when I have grown up.
There is no more representative monument.
A mother’s monument.
When we were out playing and there was an airplane alarm.
You did not go home.
It was another mother who took you under her wings.
My mother did not know where I was.
Svea, you are also very concerned about the role of women and mothers.
In your childhood in war.
I have children who ask me when we talk about war.
Grandma was never afraid.
I think I was afraid four times during the whole war.
That’s because her mother was an anchor.
Calm and had everything under control.
When there was an airplane alarm, we went to the cell.
We sat there until the danger was over.
Then we went up.
Then life went on.
But the boys, they ran into the bomb room.
We had a long way from Saga to the bomb room we went in.
They had to run and lay on their feet.
But I have been most close to the cell.
But of course a mother …
Blending was one thing.
But my mother had control over everything else.
We had a box of kerosene.
I do not know if it was like that.
They used kerosene boats.
It stood at the confinement.
At the kitchen.
It was supposed to keep away all the basilurks and diseases.
We also got vaccines against both.
I got typhus, among other things.
In addition to that, she had everything under control.
Then you are not afraid when you have an adult with you who is safe.
Because those times I have been afraid,
I have been with adult people who did not have it under control.
And completely scared.
But still safety, but you experienced …
You both did things you should not experience as children.
You jumped up with some playmates on a German wagon behind a horse.
And then something happens that you have never forgotten.
No.
I can never forget that.
It’s nailed, it’s locked, it’s one-way.
There were three of us.
One named Leif Knudsen.
And one named Lilian Rommo.
And then there was me.
We were used to the Germans driving wagons and horses.
We got a reservation time there.
So we thought it was fun to sit on.
Then a wagon came out of Egnheimsvei.
A long wagon with wheels.
Four wheels, so a long wagon with wheels on it.
We shouted to sit on it, and we did.
We jumped up in the wagon.
Lilian sat on the edge of a plank.
There was a plank on the ridge over there.
One way or another, she fell over the ridge and down the hill.
And the wheels drove over her.
I remember that she fell with her head.
I saw the eyes go back to her.
This was March 8th 1944.
She died on her mother’s birthday.
I was a young boy.
I ran home.
She lived in the neighbouring house.
Agnes, her mother, was standing there, cutting bread.
I was a young boy, unthinking.
I said, Lilian is dead, Lilian is dead.
The German who was driving the wagon came.
He came carrying Lilian in his arms.
We stood at the kitchen.
It was an experience you can never forget.
I was at her funeral.
In the living room, she lay in the open field.
Leif Hagen stood there and explained.
She was just a young girl.
She was born in 1938.
We walked around the field.
Leif said, now you sleep, Lilian.
We were at the funeral.
She was buried in a chapel.
In Langeøre.
We were at the funeral.
I remember that the last bell rang.
The church bell rang.
That day, when the last bell rang,
I was back at the funeral for Lilian.
I will never forget that bell.
It is still there.
I have another story to tell.
I think we have to wrap this up.
I know you have so many stories,
but I’m glad you told this one, Jostein.
While the church was bombed by Russian planes,
Murmansk, the nearest big city on the Russian side,
suffered a similar fate.
There was a large ice-free ocean,
which became an important bomb target for the German planes.
The Russians received the allied convoys
that came with war material.
Start against Murmansk.
Destroyer planes take over the security of the Stuka association.
Over Murmansk.
Fight with a Soviet fighter.
Murmansk at the time was a ghost town.
It was bombed practically every day from the front.
The front was only about 20 miles away.
And whenever there was a raid,
we could see these long-barreled anti-aircraft guns,
and they were so accurate, it was unbelievable.
I’ve never seen so many German aircraft shot out of the sky.
Before the war, Murmansk was the largest city in the world.
More than 120,000 people lived here,
and its population was constantly increasing.
It was the only non-freezing port of the Soviet Union.
The Germans’ goal was to destroy the strategically important port.
During the war, the Germans carried out more than 800 missions
against the city of Murmansk.
The biggest tragedy happened on June 18, 1942.
In one day, the Germans dropped 12,000 bombs on the city of Murmansk.
There was practically nothing left of the city.
The port was also bombed.
The buildings were destroyed, the power plants, the medical center.
Many buildings and piers were destroyed.
The Russians built the port again,
to be able to receive the dozens of convoys
with weapons, cars, planes, tanks,
and supplies of all kinds to the Red Army.
The port was the heart through which blood was shed.
Equipment, equipment, supplies, food.
Everything passed through this port.
The port worked to bring victory every day.
The port worked at any time.
There were periods when it was necessary to urgently
unload the cargo.
Many workers simply did not leave the bomb shelters.
They did not hide in the bomb shelters,
because it was urgent to unload the cargo.
The displacements through the Murmansk convoys
were of crucial importance for the Russians’ ability
to defeat the Germans on the Eastern Front.
The whole of the bombed population in Murmansk stood up.
During the war, our women played a significant role
in ensuring the operation of the enterprise.
Supplies, equipment, food, everything was unloaded.
We worked, there was no light.
In the dark.
Get into this trunk.
That’s how it was.
That’s how it was.
There were all kinds of cargo.
We did not leave work for three days.
Everything was sent to the front.
Everything for the victory, so that the Germans could disperse faster.
On a hill over the town of Murmansk,
Alosha is on guard.
The enemy’s eyes are directed to the west,
where the Lithuanian front was located, just a few miles away.
The statue is 35.5 meters high.
In front of it, the eternal flame burns.
And here lies the unknown soldier’s grave.
On May 6, 1986, the name of the city of the hero was given to Murmansk.
In the decree, which designated the appropriation of this title,
there is a phrase,
for the protection of the strategic port of the country.
The main strategic port of the country.
The Germans took over 5 million Russian or Soviet prisoners of war together during the war.
100,000 of these ended up in Norway.
Many of them here in Sørvaranger.
Here they lived in camps under terrible conditions
and were put to heavy, often risky work.
They built roads, tunnels, dams.
They loaded and unloaded ships
and did everything the Germans needed to do
to drive out occupation and war.
There are many we have spoken to who tell us,
Svea, you are among them,
that the prisoners of war have been stuck in their childhood.
What was it, first and foremost, that made such a strong impression?
They came marching, or I can’t say marching.
When we saw the Germans marching,
they had a bang-bang in the streets
and sang, Halli, jallo, halli, jallo.
The Russian prisoners came in rows.
They had a German on each side with their boat ready.
They almost snuck out.
Badly dressed.
There is a Russian prisoner up at the Kvenseland museum.
He has shoes on his feet.
But I didn’t see any of those who went with shoes on.
They had big soles on their feet.
They had holes in their feet.
I don’t know what was inside.
They had bad clothes.
They often had a worn-out, old wool cap on top.
They had different head shapes.
They also had expressions on their faces.
There was nothing good to look at.
But still, to see them marching out in the morning and back in the afternoon,
it’s almost a routine for you and their mother, you’ve said.
Yes.
That group of people walked past us.
We stood in the living room window and looked at them.
We went to the priest where they had their daily prayer for the Germans.
They were there the whole day, and then they went back again.
We, like many others,
even though we didn’t have enough food for the boys growing up,
I have to say,
there was often a small lunch box,
which I ordered for the Russian prisoners.
I actually left it on the fridge.
We had a lunch box next to the house,
very close to the road.
That was before they were supposed to be able to deliver the food.
I had a plate where I put a slice of bread,
or a slice of potato, or whatever it was.
When they came back,
I can’t understand how they managed
to get the food out of the bag so quickly,
and then pick it up under the carpet.
I thought many times,
maybe the Germans are a bit kind,
but they were cunning.
What also happened was that,
for that slice of bread or whatever they had received,
they left something at home,
which they had made.
It could have been something in a tree,
or often it was out of a blind box.
One time there was a ring there,
and another time they had made a small screen,
with a lot of scribbles on it.
I thought, what in God’s name?
Creativity right in the middle of misery.
It’s so sad that I don’t have any of that at home.
But we were also on the move,
and we didn’t get everything we needed
when we were leaving the city.
You said that it was your TV to watch,
to look out the window,
and then your mother stood in front of some film music.
Yes, my mother was very fond of singing.
I still remember that,
and she took to the tune,
when they passed by.
There goes a quiet train,
through the fields of battle,
with bows in all languages.
It bows down to him,
with a cross on his shoulder,
with a message from home and peace.
And there were many verses.
She had them until they came to the priest.
Yes, that deserves an applause.
Ernst Sneve, you and your family,
you were among those who moved to Passvik,
to get rid of the bombing in Kirkenes.
But the Germans were everywhere,
and the occupation forces were everywhere.
And you experienced the brutality,
but at the same time,
it wasn’t easy to be a German soldier either.
No.
There was an eternal flow,
back and forth,
to the front and from the front.
And one day,
several commissars came down from the front,
and a young German sat down,
and said,
I don’t want to go anymore, I can’t take it anymore.
And he was forced to get up and move on.
He cried and asked for help,
but he refused to go with them.
And then an officer took him and shot him.
When we were chased out of the cabin,
the Germans arranged a radio station,
but during that session,
we lost our dog.
It was gone.
And the following summer,
my sister and I ran up to the edge of the water,
and we smelled something strange.
And we started to rummage in the bushes,
and we saw some hair.
So I ran up to my mother and said,
I think we have found our dog.
So she came down with a pen,
and started to scribble.
And she got a little finger on this.
It was most likely the soldier who had been shot.
And the authorities were told
that there was a corpse lying there.
I don’t know how long it took,
but after a while,
a Norwegian military car with three people arrived.
And I knew where the corpse was.
My mother was up in the cabin,
and so was my sister,
so I was alone in the cabin.
And then it says a little about how
the person was pale during the war.
Because they were very similar.
So they filled a bag with this,
and then they lit it.
And I stood there and looked at it.
No one chased me away.
And I remember that I burned myself.
I remember that in that flame,
I saw that my head got bigger and bigger.
So after a while,
one of the soldiers put a foot in his stomach,
and I chopped his back.
And I burned him in two on the fire.
And I burned him in two on the fire.
And still no one said anything?
No. And I stood there and looked at it.
A car was also a sensation.
Because it was not common with cars.
So when this was done,
and they packed it up,
I asked if I could sit on it.
A few hundred meters.
Because it was a city that allowed you to sit on a car.
So I sat next to the bag,
a few hundred meters,
and then I left and went home.
And that basically tells me
how pale people had become
after four years of war and misery.
And it was …
When we came back to the cabin
after we had come out of the tunnel,
it was the same everywhere.
People had become so pale.
When the boys stood there,
they looked pale.
It was nothing.
It is so great to hear you
tell the story here.
We are going a little further now.
We are going to talk about
another part of the story of war,
which is the story of the resistance struggle.
The resistance struggle,
the other side of the country,
we have heard a lot about.
Among other things,
there was a long border
with a neutral Sweden
to play on.
Many also had close contact
with the exile governments in London.
Here in East-Finland,
the Soviet Union was
the closest ally
against Nazi Germany.
And it was quite natural
that those who wanted to fight the resistance
sought the east.
Partisans.
That term is a bit misleading,
at least if it arouses associations
with guerrilla soldiers
who carry out sabotage,
a bit like you know from the Balkans.
The Norwegian partisans
were actually pure
interrogation agents
in Soviet service.
One of the most famous
was Trygve Eriksen.
Trygve Eriksen is my grandfather.
My name is Trond Henriksen.
I am from Vatse
and have spent a lot of my childhood
in Kiberg.
Trygve Eriksen received training
in Russia as a partisan.
He was part of air raids
over Finnmark.
He was part of submarine raids
around Finnmark.
So he was part of
a lot of dangerous missions.
It makes me very proud
to have a grandfather
who was a war hero.
I have a family
that has a close relationship
to Russia.
I have a grandfather and aunt
who were partisans during the war.
I have never been to Russia
and now I am looking forward
to a trip.
I am very excited to see
and experience
some of the areas
my grandfather and aunt lived in.
You get butterflies in your stomach
just by walking
and seeing and experiencing things over there.
You get butterflies in your stomach
just by walking
and seeing and experiencing things over there.
It is a strong feeling
to see the people
and hear Russian music.
Because it is not only the war
in itself that I think
is strong
in coming to Russia and here.
It looks like
it has never been in a war.
I have read stories
about my grandfather
being on a plane
and being on board
a plane like that
and being a part
of a war like that.
I have never seen
a war like that.
I have never seen
a war like that.
I have never seen
to be on board
a plane like that
and almost not be able
to face the Germans.
A lot of German planes.
It is impressive.
The whole family
has a connection to Russia.
The whole family has a connection to Russia.
They felt
a love for the Russian people
all their lives.
Thank you for the conversation.
It was a strong feeling
to meet you.
It was a strong feeling
to be in the area
where my grandfather
and his brother
and not least his daughter
were for five years
and received training
in partisan activity.
My grandfather
went to Norway many times
to spy on the Germans
and report from
transport ships.
It is a good feeling
a good feeling
but very strong.
The Kiber society
experienced
a strong
a strong awakening
after the war.
You can only imagine
how divided
the Kiber society was
during that period
during the ten years of surveillance.
The close ties
between Finnmark and
North-Russia
are unknown to many.
Family ties
and memories of a good neighborhood
do not let themselves
be wiped out
but I am afraid
by injustice
can have caused
great personal
burdens in the shadow
of the Cold War.
The cold relationship
between East and West
had greater personal
consequences here in the country
than in other parts of the country.
Unfortunately, my grandfather
was not able to experience
the two recognized
partisan activities.
I think this is a good
starting point
in obedience
to put down a wreath
on the partisan boat
in Kiber.
Another thing that I think
is very consistent
is that Norwegian veterans
have engaged so strongly in this matter.
There are two reasons for that.
One is that our
organization
which has
the king as a high protector
has been here in Kiber
and has complained
to the people about the handling
of the partisans.
We want to follow up
his work there and ensure
that it is well known.
History writing must be done
over and over again
about the history.
It is always subjective
and must be written in several ways.
Welcome Harald Sunde.
You must be one of those
who try to write
history again.
You have done a
strong mapping of
the partisans
and their activities.
First of all, who became
the partisans in Østfinnmark?
The partisans were
recruited by those who fled to
Fiskeradøya in the autumn of 1940.
So the question is, who fled
over there?
It was poor fishermen.
It was people who were
fulfilled because of their political
intentions, the communists.
They had perhaps also heard
about the Russian revolution
where wealth and prosperity
would be more evenly distributed.
They had also
probably heard about the
mother trade, where the goods
came from Arkangelsk and
Kvidsjøen, loaded with goods.
So a scary and dangerous
occupied Finnmark versus
a communist
welfare society
in the east.
There were actually many who
chose to leave the east,
and about 100 Norwegians
crossed the border.
Most of them from Kiberg,
and some from Søveranger,
but about 100 people.
Of these, it was the men
who were asked if they could
participate as interrogation agents
back on Norwegian soil.
We call them partisans.
How many?
About 50 people.
About 50 people.
You have given a book
on your own initiative
called In the footsteps
of the partisans.
Where did they operate?
Tell us about it.
They were sent out
from the base in Lavna,
outside Murmansk, to these
different locations.
They were at different locations
during the war.
In Pasvektalen, there was
an operational group that was
there for a couple of years,
while the shortest group,
the one in Øvreneiden,
was there for a couple of days
at different locations
during the war.
What kind of work did they do?
They followed
what the Germans were doing.
If you look at the map,
you can see that there are
two areas they were interested in.
They were interested in the coast,
to follow German convoys,
German supplies to the Lithuanian front,
and they were interested in the church area,
because there was such a large
construction here.
The idea was to report
with radio communication
to the base in Lavna,
outside Murmansk,
about what they saw,
so that the Soviet Union
could try to use this
in their warfare.
They could bomb
material warehouses,
fuel warehouses and so on.
They could send out U-boats
to take supply ships.
So the partisans were
eye and ear
on Norwegian soil,
and the Soviet Union
had an exerting force
through its bombers
and U-boats
to take down the Germans.
But they ran a violent risk,
and the number of casualties was large.
I think the picture on the front page
of their book illustrates
that quite well.
I have used this picture
because it is an iconic picture
and it tells a little about
how it went with these guys.
All these five were
part of the first partisan group
that went ashore
at Langbunes in the fall of 1941.
I can tell you a little
about how it went with them.
To the left is Kåre Øyen,
he was a Kola-Norman from Tsypnavodok.
He was a partisan in Syltevika
later in the war,
but died in battle in Persfjord
in July 1943.
To the right is Ragnvald Mikkelsen,
he was a partisan in Sørøya
in Western Finnmark.
He survived the war.
After the war he went back
to the Soviet Union
to get some wages and a boat
that he thought he would have there.
He was imprisoned and tried
to escape from prison and was shot
in the Soviet Union.
To the left is Ingold Eriksen,
he died of illness in the Soviet Union.
In the middle was Håkon Halvari,
he was also a partisan in the Soviet Union
and died in battle with the Germans.
To the right is
Ingevald Mikkelsen,
he was killed
by his fellow partisans
on a beach in Arnauja
in Nordtroms
because he had a mental breakdown.
None of the five survived the war.
And out of the
around 50 partisans
about half died?
Yes, about half.
About half.
What importance did
the effort he made
and the information
they managed to collect?
It’s a bit uncertain.
For a period they were presented
as the partisan information
that was
the base in Murmansk.
That it was very important
and that it was invaluable information
and had
80 ships sunk
and so on and so forth.
Then the pendulum swung back
so that some thought it was as few as 15 ships
that had sunk because of the
partisan activity.
This is something historians
will look at and where the pendulum
swings back and forth.
What is clear is that the Germans
knew it was partisan groups.
Many German troops
went to Mangar to look for them
and a lot of personnel
was tied up to
try to find out about this espionage.
So there is no doubt they had
an impact, but how big
is difficult to say.
Then we have to talk about
the recognition or lack of
such as the partisans got
after the war.
You have worked a lot
with this. What have you
come to believe about it?
No, they were
unfriendly. During the war
they were enemies
of the Germans.
After the war some of them
went back to the Soviet Union
and five of them were arrested there
for leaking information
and doing something wrong there.
Two of them even died in the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union did not necessarily
have friends after the war.
Those who survived and came back to Norway
were followed by Norwegian
authorities and the police.
It was an occupational ban.
They were not allowed to work
in the south of Norway.
So they suffered
both during and after the war.
It was not good
to have been a partisan after the war
in Finnmark.
But later, when we should have been better?
Yes, we have
almost
tried to
celebrate the king’s house,
but I almost have to do it.
King Olav in 1983
and King Harald in 1992
held good speeches
where one
apologized
for what
the Norwegian society had done.
But when the Solberg government
in 2017 had the opportunity
through its war decoration project
to honor the partisans,
they concluded that the partisans
were not worth medals.
So they
did not take the opportunity they had.
But then something happened
three days ago.
Defense Minister Frank Bakke Jensen
was visiting here in Kirkenes.
Suddenly he stood there
and apologized on behalf of the government
for the treatment
the partisans had received.
It was both unexpected and surprising,
but incredibly joyful.
Finally, we must talk about
what happened today.
Today a monument was unveiled
for those who were
the initiators.
You have to briefly explain that
before we get to see some pictures.
One thing was these partisan groups
with those who lay in cages.
All those who were assistants.
There were many more assistants
who gave food, information and clothes
to these groups.
They were of course
in Germany’s searchlight.
After this group
who were up in Gallok in 1943
outside Kirkenes
10 assistants were arrested.
Three of them
were sentenced to death
and were executed on Langeøre
outside Kirkenes in December 1943.
These three have not had any
memorials before today.
Applause for that.
Harald Sunde,
I know there are many who
appreciate your commitment.
Thank you for coming to us.
We have also been so lucky
to have the North Fleet choir with us.
They sang on the square
earlier today.
Here and now we will hear
Russia’s national anthem.
Russia, our sacred country
Russia, our beloved country
Powerful will, great glory
Your heritage for all times
Glory to the Fatherland
Our free
Brotherly nations
Eternal union
Pious ancestors
People’s wisdom
Russia, our country
We are proud of you
When the Germans were
forced to retreat in Finnmark
they also began to evacuate
the population first.
They urged people to leave
voluntarily.
There were reports of
terrorist propaganda
about what the Bolsheviks
from the east would do to them.
But people were against it.
They would rather stay.
Then, on October 28, 1944,
came the order from Hitler
that the people of this part
of the country
would be cut off.
Everyone had to be evacuated
by force
and everything
had to be burned.
They were merciless,
the German soldiers,
who stormed every town and village
and chased people away.
The greatest man-made disaster
in Norwegian history.
The burnings, the destruction
and forced evacuations
of Finnmark and Nordklums.
75,000 people were made
to flee their own country.
Hitler gave a personal order
where he ordered his generals
to march forward mercilessly.
FALL OF FINNMARK
It was the few surviving houses
in eastern Finnmark
that the Germans could not
just burn.
But from Tana to Lingen
the destruction was total.
Everything was not done.
FALL OF FINNMARK
FALL OF FINNMARK
One fifth of the country
was destroyed and the people
were forced to flee.
The brutality felt
no limits.
A whole culture
was destroyed.
Just to underline
the extent of the destruction
I would like you to reflect
on a few numbers.
This was burned or destroyed.
12,000 houses,
4,700
fjøs
or outhouses,
500 industrial enterprises,
200 fisheries,
350 bridges,
150 schools
and more than 22,000
telegraph poles
were cut off.
Welcome again Asbjørn Jaklin
and Per Christian Olsen.
Both authors of books
about the destruction of
Finnmark and Nordsroms
and forced evacuations.
Right now there is a debate
about what was behind the decisions
about this.
Was it political motives
more than military necessity?
We will not go into that debate
right now until we
concentrate on the fact that
the consequence for the civilian population
was the same.
Catastrophal.
In this crisis situation
there are some heroes
Asbjørn, one of them,
a major in the Salvation Army
and the director of the Children’s Home.
Yes, that is correct.
It is a 46-year-old woman
from Salten,
Ingerta Horsdal,
who is the director of our school,
the Children’s Home.
Responsible for 22 children
aged 1-15 years.
When she was on the run
she was originally in Vardø,
but is now in Finn-Kongkjeila
when the Germans arrive.
She says,
here it is going to burn.
You have three hours to get the kids in the boat.
It is interesting to think
what we would have done in such a situation.
Would we have lit the fire?
Or would we have
let the children escape?
Horsdal is not in doubt.
She tricks the Germans
and she puts the kids in bed.
In the middle of the night
the 22 children escape.
She and some of the helpers
from the farm.
Up in the mountains
the youngest must be carried in backpacks
between large stages and farms.
She says
in her own story
that she thought the kids were lost,
but that they started to cry
when the flash grenades went off.
The German warship
on the fjord started to
whistle with flash grenades.
They cried.
They walk
20 km
for many hours
over the mountains
down to a village called Sjånes.
There they get killed
by another fire brigade
and German patrol.
In this way
the operation failed,
but it also shows a fantastic
heroism that people
show in this situation
by defying the Germans.
Another unknown hero
we have to say.
A hotel owner in Tromsø.
Another generation of
worthy hotel owners in Tromsø.
He is also
in a position
where he
has to make a choice.
He defies the Germans
and he defies
the Norwegian home front.
The home front
has issued a ban
that no one
should help with forced evacuations.
Forced evacuations
are the Germans’ responsibility
alone and alone.
So to force
the Norwegian refugees
to leave
is like cooperating with the Germans.
Ragnar Hansen
was in a situation
where he could be considered
a traitor after the war
by helping
the refugees.
But like Gerta
there is a
moral compass
in him.
He defies
an incredible civil resistance.
If there is something
that can
control
our actions
then you should
listen to your inner compass.
Then you won’t
make a moral mistake.
That’s what Ragnar Hansen did.
He organized Tromsø
as a large refugee camp.
The refugees
who came from Finnmark
have a lot to thank Ragnar Hansen
for because
nothing was prepared by the Nazi authorities.
He was in the business
of housing people
and giving them food.
He saw it clearer than anyone else
and brought the entire Tromsø population
to this worthy
aid campaign.
A unique aid campaign.
Many might have prevented
an even bigger humanitarian disaster.
This is a refugee crisis.
If people on the run
who don’t have anything with them
are to survive
they need help.
Then Ragnar Hansen
was there.
I think he is a shadow type.
You might have seen the movie
The Shadow List
where he defies the authorities
and follows his inner
moral compass.
It’s a good piece of teaching.
In many situations.
During a month
many evacuations were made.
Those who were left
around 23,000 went into hiding.
They hid in caves
all around
Finnmark,
north of Tromsø.
They were not safe.
There are stories
that this is a form of
hunting for these people.
They used
a lot of resources
to hunt for unarmed civilians.
Snow boats,
herding boats that came
into the fjords.
There are many examples.
In Sørøya
there is a lot going on.
Gamvikt, the fishing village
where all the refugees
are being chased
trying to go down to the ruins.
It’s a brutality
that takes the lives
of people who think
this is peaceful
which sometimes has been claimed.
There are also
killings of civilians.
Two ugly examples
that I have used
are in Leretsfjord
outside Alta
where Peder Henriksen
and his father
are trying to fish
one morning.
A snow boat
comes
into the fjord
opens fire at them
they manage to cut
the line to the yarn
and the fjord to the land.
Peder Henriksen gets hurt
and his father gets shot and killed.
There are other stories
about brutality.
We have to keep in mind
that forced evacuations
were made by the Germans
in two weeks.
Imagine moving
between 50 and 60 thousand people
out of an area
that actually covers
20% of Norway’s territory
without planning in advance.
It was an ad hoc situation
that
could have ended
with a catastrophe
that no one took responsibility for.
In some places
they didn’t take responsibility
so you got an industrial
displacement of people.
The most gruesome example
is from Porshanger
where to force people
to leave
the Germans drove up
two large cargo ships.
One was called Karl Arp
and they took 1,800 people.
The other one, Adolf Binder,
took 1,200 people.
3,000 people from this area
from Tana and Porshanger
were taken down there.
Poor, almost no food
almost no water
sanitary conditions
young and old
people died
down in the cargo ship.
So that…
It gives the impression
that after the war
when the public
got to know about this
the newspapers actually wrote
slave ships, Karl Arp
and Adolf Binder.
It was in the newspapers.
After the war, and now
I challenge you to be short
we have a little time
but
no one gets judged
for this, not Nuremberg.
No, what happens is that
Norwegian authorities
want to punish
a responsible security force
General Oberst Lothar Rendulich
in Norway.
But then there is a new win.
It is established
an international court
and it is new.
It is the Americans who run this
and have taken the initiative
that war criminals will be judged.
So Rendulich is then
charged for the grotesque
things he has done in Yugoslavia
and then charged for what he has done
in Northern Norway.
And then it was like this
that Donald Trump was supposed to follow
international conventions.
It sounds a little strange,
this logic about war.
But it is a ban in these conventions
to destroy the enemy’s property.
Burn and raze.
At least it is
necessarily necessary for war.
So unfortunately
and highly regrettable
will the war criminal
Rendulich be hanged
for entering under this pretext.
He manages to convince them
that he meant this was military.
He manages to convince
the American judges
that he was in a vulnerable situation
when he was at the retreat
and will be hanged
in that way.
And it is extremely regrettable
that there is such an effect
of this release
which must guard a violent intention
in Norway.
It is for the first
that it becomes more difficult
to hire other responsible officers
when the highest authority
is released.
And one more effect
that I think is very important
is that this release probably contributes
to some finding out
that it could not have been
In Norway, here in Finnmark
one wishes to get
Kvistling convicted.
Strong demand from Finnmark
that Kvistling
should be
punished
for his
part of the responsibility.
He was involved in planning
and carrying out
forced evacuations.
But the National Advocate
turned his back to the powerful
in Finnmark.
And I thought at first
that maybe it was because
the National Advocate
trumped all the other things
he had done wrong.
But then I went through Kvistling
and I came to a point
where he is accused of stealing furniture
from the Freemasonry in Oslo
and selling copper pieces of Napoleon
from the castle.
According to the Penal Code
paragraph 257,
he should be punished for stealing
the property of another person
without the consent of the owner.
And if someone lost something in Norway
without the consent of the owner
we know where in the country they were.
Maybe not in the Freemasonry in Oslo.
No, not in the Freemasonry in Oslo.
But the Freemasonry got the furniture back.
The King got Søltøy
and copper pieces of Napoleon back.
But it was worse in Finnmark.
So I call it
pure class justice.
Social group number one
in Oslo was approved.
And there you get
applause for that.
We are now going back
where we were initially
to the square in Kirkenes.
Today was the big official
marking of the 75th anniversary
of the liberation
with prominent
official representatives
from both Norway and Russia.
Be like Kirkenes!
Here in the north
the war was deep.
Deeper than
other places in the country.
The city in East Finnmark
was heavily bombed
A whole part of the country
was wiped out.
Two thirds of the population
was forced to flee.
Others had to hide
in secluded conditions.
Women and men,
children and the elderly.
The forced migration
and the burning
in the autumn of 1944
inflicted great suffering
on the civilian population
I remember
the confusion
about the destruction
my grandfather and father
expressed when they
visited Finnmark after the war.
And as we all know
the suffering
was not over
when the war ended.
The people here in the north
deserve honor for their
reckless actions
and surveillance
because of their close relationship
to our great neighboring country in the east.
In addition, this
affected individuals
and a whole part of the country
in a time that
was already very difficult
we can hardly imagine.
This has affected families
for several generations.
Norway will never
forget the Soviet army’s
heroic efforts.
We know what loss
and sacrifice it required.
The many soldiers
who participated on the Soviet side
are also our heroes.
The events of 75 years ago
give strength
and inspiration to the
neighborhood that for many years
has been fought for by peace
between our two countries.
We have cleared
borders
both to land and water
and on the basis of these
borders we have built a cooperation
adapted to our own time.
We have always
put our common interests
at the center.
This is how we have built
a cooperation.
And to the people here in
Østvinmark I can say
thank you for the courage,
endurance
through the years of war
and the time after.
I wish you all the best
for the celebration of peace
that came here to Østvinmark
October 1944.
Russian correspondent
Jan Espen Kruse, welcome.
You live in Moscow now
you have lived in Russia
for a longer period
and I thought
I would like to ask you
about the Russian perspective
on this 75 years
marking. What does it mean
from a Russian perspective?
It is very, very important
it is almost difficult for us
in Norway to understand
how much what is connected to the war
how much it means
to the Russians.
We have seen the Russian foreign minister today
he doesn’t do this
because he is a pocahontas
but this means a lot to him
it means a lot to the Russians
and it has something to do with
that most Russians
they feel that
the Soviet Union’s efforts
during the Second World War
their significance, the great sacrifices
they made, that it may not be
fully understood in the West
and that it may be
diminished a little
and that for example
the invasion of Normandy
will be held very high
while the Russian victory
without them
the war would not have been
as challenging
and from the Russian side
you see a lot
and you wish, you appreciate
that the Soviet Union’s efforts
like here in East-Finland
that it is remembered
and that it is appreciated.
Lavrov has
at the same time
come the last few days
with very harsh
criticism of Norway
especially the foreign policy
yesterday he did that
today he has repeated it
are you surprised by
that sharp tone?
Yes, I have to say that
I am surprised by
how sharp the tone is
most of the arguments
we have heard before
but that
they will gather
the day before
this important marking
and during the marking
as we heard at the press conference today
that that happens
that is a very hard
very strong signal
from the Russian side
and from the Norwegian side
they have their own interests
we have our own interests
we are a part of NATO
we have to practice
and not let Russia
decide what kind of military policy
we are going to do
but here is the question
has Norway changed anything
in its military policy
the last 10-20 years
or is everything the same?
there are different opinions
and the Russians
of course think that
when NATO practices
further and further north
you automatically get closer and closer
to the very important military bases
Russia’s most important military base
on the Kola Peninsula
some miles over there
you mentioned the press conference
today we will take a look
at what Lavrov reported
there
King Harald greets
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
during the marking in Kirkenes today
Lavrov is one of the biggest stars
in international politics
but nevertheless he takes three days
to visit Kirkenes
from the Russian side
the liberation of East Finnmark
is very important to mark
but from the moment
Lavrov came to Finnmark
he created headlines
by saying that the spy
Frode Berg can be released at any time
at the press conference today
the journalists were eager
to know more about Berg’s story
I can add that Mr. Berg
was convicted of espionage
he asked for pardon
but it is being considered
I hope it won’t take much time
you will find out the result
whether it is days or weeks
before Frode Berg is released
is still not clear
during the press conference
Lavrov repeated
concerns about what he called
NATO’s rearmament in the north
as I said
we carefully look at
how the Norwegian territory
and the quality and quantity
of NATO’s presence
it concerns the modernization
of airfields
for the North Atlantic Alliance
it concerns the modernization
of port terminals
to receive
American nuclear submarines
of course
we have to take this into account
in our military planning
so that these threats
are not materialized
during the slightly chaotic
closing of the press conference
NRK asked Lavrov
what can be done to improve
the friendly relationship
between Norway and Russia
we have a very warm relationship
you shouldn’t do this
we have a very good relationship
but the statements yesterday
were not very critical
do you think that friends
should only compliment each other
friends should say what they feel
we will stay in the official corner
a little longer
earlier today
I had a visit from
Prime Minister Erna Solberg
she also got to comment
on the big political relationship
between Norway and Russia
but first I asked her to tell
what this marking of the liberation day
means
it is important to remember
that the effort
that was made
by the Soviet Union
to ensure that we could
liberate Nazi Germany
and the regime
was extremely important
but that the Soviet Union
made a special effort
in relation to Norway
there are two important things
to remember
one is that they came here
with great help
that they got the Germans
to stay in the north
that was one of the few countries
that Russia or the Soviet Union
actually withdrew
when the Second World War
was over
and the relationship to Russia
is a part of everyday life
here in this part of the country
and people here are of course
very concerned about the spy case
Frode Berg in these days
yesterday Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
said that he can become a free man
come home at any time
are you happy about that?
I am happy about the signals
that Lavrov gave yesterday
Norway has worked since he was arrested
to get Frode Berg back
and we do it in different ways
and I don’t comment on that
because we are most concerned
about getting a result
but you say that Norway has participated
in the negotiations
and in the process
I say that Norway has worked
to get Frode Berg back
Lavrov
he also came with a broad side
we have to say that
against Norwegian defence policy
he called it anti-Russian
what do you think about
the criticism he brought?
it was not unexpected
it is the same as the Russian
criticism of
NATO countries
and including Norway
but it is not correct
and it is important to remember
the enormous military development
Russia has had in recent years
the capacities they have
how far their new missile systems
can reach
and hit
and that we based on that
which I often say internationally
we don’t think that
Russia has aggressive intentions
towards Norway
but we are in their way
should they get into a conflict
would they have a need
Norway
with our
coastline
the entrance here
our own interest
is to ensure
that we are deterrent enough
and that we have enough capacity
but you put aside Russia’s
rearmament and that Norway
will defend itself
some miles further west
they have built up a radar
American soldiers
on a permanent basis
much further north
they are practicing very close borders
what signals
does Norway send to Russia
with the increased activity?
I think it is important to remember
what has happened in Europe
in recent years
to assess what is happening in NATO
one thing is the capacities
Russia has, which is stronger
they have shown willingness to show them
Russia, and even though we have
a relatively close border
they have occupied
an area of another European country
they have annexed it
they have supported
and actively participated
in the destabilization
in Ukraine, they have broken
the people’s right
for a small country like Norway
the people’s right is the most important
pillar in a security policy
and the fact that many countries
in Europe have felt more
insecure, more afraid of this rhetoric
and therefore wished to see
a NATO that is present
and clear, and can defend
all NATO member states
this has been important, and this has happened
to several governments
to bring NATO back into the close areas
what important strategies
does Norway have to have?
But if we look at the aftermath
it has been a very
firm line that Norway
should have
a suppressing front
not to provoke
not to challenge
that is not what we are doing
and now we must not let Russia
be the voice for
the interpretation of what we are doing
we are concerned that we have capacities
that can meet, that can
hold, and that can contribute
and the military
suggestion
or recommendations that came
show that we are not there yet
but we have increased our
forces, and that is absolutely correct
because we have completely different capacities
and a much more restless world
and this is not
acting against Russia, but it is an understanding
of where we geopolitically are
and it is an understanding of
what is Russia’s
self-defense
strategy, which
means that Norway is in a position
where we have to have a suppressing capacity
and where the choice
to be a NATO member
is still an equally
important choice for Norway
because we need to have
an alliance with a country that
supports us, has the same systems as us
and that can help us in a war situation
I would like to go back to the area
we are in now, because here
the relationship to Russia
is traditionally very close
there are relatives and friends, there are
business associations, there is an extensive
cultural exchange and so on
and I feel that the work
is becoming
much more difficult
in relation to
Oslo, Moscow and geopolitically
do you understand
that criticism, that frustration?
First of all, we have to celebrate how good
this cooperation has been since the Wall fell
in 14 days we will also celebrate
when the Wall fell
and the Iron Curtain disappeared
after that we got a fantastic uplifting
in this people-to-people cooperation
close cooperation
but it has always been a Norwegian
Oslo or country strategy
that we should have low tensions
in the north, that we should make sure
that we know what we are doing
that we should warn and give orders
but also that we should have extensive cooperation
in the north, and we do
because we are one-sided dependents on each other
we are making sure that we manage
our fisheries resources
we are in everything called search and rescue
we are in many other areas
where we have had close cooperation
so there has been some worse cooperation
on people-to-people the last few years
one of the reasons is actually
something that Russia does for voluntary organizations
to receive money
from a country that, for example
Norway or the Secretary of State
makes it much more difficult
than it was if you go
10-15-20 years back
simply because a civil society
in Russia is under pressure
so I think we should look
at that challenge as well
because that has also contributed to
that some of the cooperation platforms
that could have been much bigger
are a bit more difficult
If we look ahead
what is it like to decide
and define what kind of relationship
Norway and Russia will have in the years to come?
I hope we can manage to
improve what we have today
in relation to having
good cooperation in the common challenges
that we must solve
and the mutual respect
for each country’s right
to make their own choices
without consequences for the others
that is fundamental
and that is why we have a security policy
that is clear about this
Erna Solberg, thank you
for coming to us, and congratulations
on the liberation day here in Kirkenes
It has been a nice day
It has been a nice day for Erna Solberg
but here we have two
quite different views
on what is happening
Yes, that is it
and that is perhaps a bit of the problem
The one side is getting ready
and the other side says
we also have to get ready
and then you continue
the armament race
and it is difficult
it is complicated
it is difficult to give a direct excuse
because you have different
military interests
quite obviously
but if you look at it
from the Russian side
you are concerned
that the USA
is the big driving force
in the interest
to invest more
in the military in the northern areas
and that
the Russians
think that
Norway is not strong enough
for their own interests
but that they are carrying out
the orders that come
from the other side of the Atlantic
that is how you see it from the Russian side
And then we have to talk about
the Frode Berg case
because now it looks like
after all the sun signs
to be solved
does that have any meaning
for the relationship between Norway and Russia
Foreign Minister Lavrov says
that this case has not affected
at all
I am not entirely sure about that
Now we should not pretend
that the Frode Berg case
is the only important thing
in the relationship between Norway and Russia
but that it has cast
its long shadows
over a lot since this happened
I think that is completely obvious
and even if our Prime Minister
and others
do not want to be open
about what game
or negotiations
that are going on behind the scenes
this case has always
cast its shadow over this relationship
Finally
there was a lot of debate
about Vladimir Putin
the President was to be invited
here to Kirkenes
that did not happen
Should he have been here?
We do not know what he would have answered
He has not received the invitation
And who knows
This is important
We have been in touch with Putin
and maybe he would have
thought it was strange
We are a neighboring country
that is interesting
But there is no
comparison
for Foreign Minister Lavrov
who has been here today
who really is a great
politician
both in Russia
and internationally
It has gone
very well
seen from the Norwegian side
Of course it would have been fun
to have President Putin here
but maybe next time
Thank you so much Jan Espen
The Second World War
is called the Great Featherland War
in Russia
and if you look at the number
you have to be able to say
that it was a
catastrophe
compared to the Soviet Union
27 million
died
Almost 9 million of these
were soldiers
In the north, just 12 miles
east of Kirkenes
it was the Lithuanian front
that demanded lives
both Russian and German
In Lithuania it was a
post-war war for three years
Then, in October 1944
the Soviet Union
launched an attack
It was worse than hell
said a German soldier
October 7, 1944
the Russians launched
an attack in the north
by bombing the most
German positions
with 100,000 grenades
The German front line
exploded. The Russians
stormed forward
The German generals panicked
and realized the defeat
The most important
winter supplies in Kirkenes
had to be saved
The soldiers were ordered
to stop the Russians
at all costs
while supplies were being
shipped out
The battles were bloody
with thousands of deaths
on each side
The 130,000 attacking
soldiers from the Red Army
and the Northern Fleet
were defeated by the Germans
With 750 planes
against 160 Germans
the Russians also had
the air dominance
In just three weeks
the Russians liberated
Kola Haløya and Sørvaranger
the only area in Norway
that was liberated with combat
at a very high price
in blood
NORTHERN FLEET
Stian Bones, welcome
Welcome again, Per Christian Olsen
Stian, worse than hell
is what they say
about the Lithuanian front
Explain first, what was at stake
right there?
What was at stake
was together with two strategic
goals that the Germans
were on the verge of
or wished to achieve on the Northern Front
They had started a military train
that was supposed to roll
and they had two stops
One was Murmansk, the other
was Kandalaksja
They thought it would go quite well
They were optimistic
considering the aerobatics
Along the North
they would do the job alone
On the Kandalaksja front
they would do the job together with the Finns
On the way there
they also had a third
strategic goal, very important
that had to do with
the German armament industry
In the great
war
nickel was important
to make armor steel
They also secured that on the way
Now they failed
to achieve two of these goals
Murmansk and Kandalaksja
One can ask
what was the reason
It is very important
that they failed
In that way
the Soviet Union
managed to
have a lifeline
from the North, from Murmansk
and to the rest of the Eastern Front
still tied together
And that
during the World War
was a bloodbath
that went from
the Western Powers
to Murmansk
and to the Eastern Front
Murmansk tied
the Eastern and Western Front together
It is crucial
for the World War
In that way, the Northern Front
is strategically very important
And it stopped there
It was a stalemate for three years
Tell us about the situation
on the ground
People who know Finnmark
know that it is wide
and there are walls
and when you get closer to the coast
there are rocks
and cliffs
and it is
from A to O
impassable
And the landscape
at Litsa
and the whole landscape towards Murmansk
looks a lot like Finnmark
We have been there
We can show the pictures
of Litsadalen
And there we see
We were there this summer
and filmed this
And what we see
is exactly what I described
And it is
strange to be there
because you think
about nice trips
Maybe you want to go to Rypa
Maybe you want to pick berries
You just want to have a nice day
But this is
one of the bloodiest places
And not least
there was an unfriendly climate
There was an unfriendly climate
The Germans attacked
in the fall
And the soldiers were
top trained, mountain hunters
But they were poorly equipped
to fight in the winter
And that was what they got
After a while
the advance stopped
It went pretty evenly
to Titovka river
to the Litsa front
But after a while it stopped
There was attack back and forth
And then came the winter
The winter came
The soldiers
had to fight a battle
to survive
against the winter forces
How were they going to
manage that
Some dug snow holes
Some got injured
Got dragged back
Many died
Frozen to death
And the high point
for such an
inhuman battle
came in the spring
1942
When the Russians started
a spring offensive in May
They had received summer uniforms
They thought the winter
had returned
In the middle of the attack
came a polar low pressure
It was like a clamp
in Iceland’s hand
over the landscape
Many soldiers died
In some positions
you can find
Russian, Soviet
and German soldiers
who have fought together
for a last hope to survive together
But unfortunately
And there was a huge loss
on both sides
In Soviet history
you talk about the 10 battles
on the eastern front
We have to think of the northern front
as a part of the eastern front
We see here
a symbol
of the great losses
In Soviet history
you talk about the 10 battles
on the eastern front
The 10 decisive battles
The battle against the church
Petsamo-Opera
was the 10th battle
It says something
about the war
Those who have read about the war
know that the eastern front
was where you should not be
during the war
And the Germans
lost many
Both sides
The losses
in general
during the war
is a bit uncertain
The church at Petsamo
It is a sight
that takes your breath away
Think about it
So many dead
And this is just a fraction
of those who died
on the Ice Sea front
The Lithuanian front
Because this is in Dalen
before the great uprising
started on the 7th of October
1944
We have to add up
several thousands
So we end up with
several tens of thousands
If you count both
dead and wounded
we can count
up to 100 000
And that is significant
But the offensive
when it started
the Germans were overtaken
Exactly
The offensive started
And there was a massive rain of grenades
100 000 grenades
fell over the German positions
and hit holes
And the Soviets
moved forward in a violent speed
to start with
And you can say
that this success
was in many ways
the Russians
What is it called?
What do you call it?
It was the Russians
It was the Soviets
Yes, the Soviets
They didn’t get enough
supplies
so they got momentum
in the operation
to be able to carry out
what was the goal
to carry out a sharp tank manoeuvre
and crush the German forces
They couldn’t do that
It went so fast
that the Russians
had to take a 3 day break
to get supplies
and replace the men
And that was
part of the Germans
getting away from the tank manoeuvre
This Stalingrad in the north
that the commander
Merezkov had planned
That was his goal
when the offensive
started
the 7th of October
But Stian, the amazing pictures
you draw of
May, the offensive
and the cold conditions
After a while
the Lithuanian front
has been studied
by those reasons
It has been studied
There are two things
military historians have been concerned about
One is that
this is the first major
war operation in the Arctic
And it was
an operation where
military, army and air defence
worked together
This was unique
After a while, both
the Russians and the Americans
the Norwegians
were interested in
how a war in the Arctic
would unfold
if it were to be repeated
A number of those involved
in this war
and got first hand knowledge
of how to conduct war in the Arctic
Merezkov quickly
took up important positions
in the Soviet Union
Merezkov, the commander
was involved in ending
the Russian war against Japan
On the Norwegian side
Arne Dag-Findahl
the Norwegian commander
who got to know these people
He was the first
commander or chief
of the district command in Northern Norway
after the Second World War
because he had experience
from Northern Norway
We are going to take a tour
of Litsa Valley
as we hear about
this huge
number of fallen
soldiers
It is visible there
day by day
This is Sergei
Alexander and Alexei
Three out of hundreds
are volunteers
Every summer they spend
their free time
looking for the remains
of fallen soldiers
In front of us
is the height
marked on the map
258 meters
This is the bloodiest height
during the war
The biggest losses
of the Red Army
Sergei looks at the work
they do as peacekeeping
You could call it
counter-war work
or anti-war work
The war begins when
they forget
And this is very terrible
It is not like it is shown
in the movies or movies
It was horrible
A lot of soldiers died
So now
we are going to try
to walk again
through the heights
This is the first find
It looks like
a fragment
A fragment of a shell
Here it is
It will hit
and that’s it
Wait
Hold it
otherwise
Our Soviet helmet
A sample of 1939
Not 1939
But a Kalashnikov
Well
Here it is
A soldier
Wait
Wait guys
Take it off
May God rest his soul
May God rest
May God rest his soul
Your soldier
Here is his head
Aha
The lower jaw
Here is the front
Guys, do you have a bag?
Let’s put it
right on him
Call us
Take off his head
Do you need a big one?
I don’t know
Spread the bag
We are going to put it on him
Lesha
Guys, we need to call
We need to call
Maybe the rifle will help
What is it?
Guys, let’s open it
Right and left
Right and left
From the head
There is only one head
Maybe it was torn
Maybe
Maybe
Remember how many soldiers were found without a head
Do you have a lighter?
I got nervous
I need to sit and think
I need to sit and think
Sometimes you just need to sit
and decide
I need to sit and decide
Oh
There is something
A fragment from a mine
A serious signal
Something is ringing
Something in the roots
I don’t understand
I don’t understand
What is it?
Here are the boots
Nikifor, the head is there
Nikifor, the head is there
Spread it
Spread it
Sereg
Look here
If the head is there
If the head is there
The boot is here
Helga
The boots are here
The boots are here
The boots are here
Here
Here
Here are his vertebrates
Wait a minute
Then we sort it
This tree grew on it
It grew
Under it
There was one
And it’s all over the place.
The ribs, the spine, the vertebrae, if I say it correctly.
Then it’s better not to break the tree.
We won’t break the tree.
We won’t break anything under the tree.
I consider it a memorial.
Rest your soul, Lord.
Your warrior, who died for his friends.
And in 11 months, from October to September 1945,
it was the Russians who ruled this area of Norway.
Welcome again, Ernst Sneve.
Welcome, Steinar Wikan.
Ernst, when we talk about the time under the Russians,
this short year,
it was different than the years during the German occupation.
That’s what most people say.
People were largely happy with the liberation, of course,
and had a good relationship with the Russians.
You had left Kirkenes,
you lived in a cabin in Passvik,
and soldiers came by all the time.
One late winter evening,
someone knocked on your door.
What happened?
We were all sleeping in the cabin.
My father woke up to someone knocking hard on the door.
He went downstairs,
and on the outside there was a Russian officer
and 10-15 soldiers.
My father understood that they wanted to spend the night
on the floor in the cabin,
because it was January, February 1945,
and it was freezing cold.
They had to keep warm,
so they were allowed to sleep there.
We didn’t know anything about it,
but many wanted to sleep there.
I remember looking out the window in the morning,
and I saw a lot of men in overcoats
washing themselves in the snow.
Those were the soldiers,
and I had never seen them before.
I didn’t even know how close they were.
The officer told my father
that he wanted to thank us in a proper way,
and invite us to a party later.
My father agreed,
and we didn’t expect anything to happen.
A few days later,
a Russian truck drove up to the cabin.
The officer had a interpreter with him,
and invited us to a party.
My mother was very anxious,
because all year long people had heard
how dangerous the Russians were.
My mother said,
should we dare to join them?
My father said,
if they want to hurt us,
they will take us by force,
so we don’t have a reason to say
that it’s okay to join them.
We got in the truck,
which was full of halves,
and we were driven over the pass.
I don’t know where we were,
but after a while,
we arrived at an area
where there were three or four empty cabins.
We were locked into one of the empty cabins,
and it was well decorated inside.
There were two deep chairs in the middle of the cabin,
where my parents would sit,
and me and my sister would sit next to each other.
We were served food and drinks,
and when we had eaten,
a Russian officer,
a male and a female officer,
took us, the kids, to where we would sleep.
They would sit guard there.
Then the orchestra would play a dance.
Then a female Russian soldier
would start the dance,
and a male officer would start the dance with my mother.
They danced for a while,
and then the Russian officer
brought my mother back to the chair.
My father thought it was impolite
to just walk away from her on the floor.
They danced and danced and danced,
and he didn’t know what time it was
when the music was being played,
while someone was dancing.
Sweating and shaking,
as if he had to give up.
As he had danced with her,
he was probably very happy about it,
and the musician finally got a break.
After a few hours,
we got away,
we were in the shed across the street,
and we were loaded onto the truck again,
and we all got a present.
I don’t know what the others got,
but I remember mine very well.
It was a black bakelite box
with a screw cap on it.
When I opened it,
it was full of sugar.
I had never seen sugar before.
I took one in my mouth,
and it was one of the most disgusting things
I had ever tasted.
I claim that you have never made
such a piece of sugar later on.
We were driven home,
and it all ended very, very well.
A story about…
Yes, applause.
About… Thank you.
Steinar Wikan.
Perhaps not all stories about the Russians
were as rosy.
Your mother,
she lived…
She was often alone.
Your father was in the military,
on missions.
It didn’t always feel as safe.
No, perhaps not.
We lost everything.
At home,
the fjords and houses,
everything was burned
by the Germans on the 22nd of October.
On the 23rd, the Russians came.
Everything we had hidden,
and dug down,
was plundered.
It was taken from others.
It was more…
We can understand the Russians
who took what was left.
They didn’t know where the owners were.
The owners were gone.
Otherwise, everything was lost.
It was more to be reckoned with
as a war crime.
We had nothing.
Everything we tried to hide
was gone.
But we managed to get a cabin.
We got to use a cabin
that was on the property.
A free-time cabin that the Germans
hadn’t seen.
It was a mountain cabin.
My father joined the military.
He was gone for 14 months.
My mother had two children.
Me and my sister.
Two years when the Russians came,
and three years when they left.
We had to show
that there were men in the house.
We placed big boots
by the door,
and hung up men’s clothes.
When the Russians…
They didn’t take the houses from people.
They just buried themselves in the ground
and made a roof over it.
They lived there
all winter.
But they came in
and wanted to steal something.
According to Russian customs,
what wasn’t taken care of
could be taken.
What was left out
could be taken.
That morning,
a Russian soldier came in.
My mother wasn’t dressed yet.
She was standing behind a portier,
a curtain between the two rooms.
She saw the soldier
go straight over the kitchen floor
to the shelf on the other side.
There was a clock.
She had two clocks that had been
hidden by burning and rummaging.
Both were stolen.
This was the second clock that was taken.
She ran over there
to try to take it.
She was puffed out
with a machine gun.
As a little boy,
I was awoken by this,
so I ran over there
and tried to get the clock back
and take it from her.
But I was puffed out.
The Russian soldiers
who were all over the place
made a mess
with clocks,
especially clocks,
and bicycles,
and other things
that they considered
as souvenirs.
There was a rationalization
of these theories afterwards.
Yes.
When Igor Diakhanov was here,
I think it was in 1990,
he was the Norwegian
speaking Russian
who came here in 1944
and helped
in the contact
between the civilian population
and the Russians.
We had a meeting
with him from the history team.
He told that story.
He said
he had many such cases
where people complained
that they had been
stealing clocks.
And he had
interrogated
one such person.
He was from a village
far away in Siberia,
in Yakutia,
and he said
in this way,
In Norway
there has been war,
now there is peace.
In the village in Siberia
there is no war
and there is no peace.
We have nothing.
We don’t have clocks.
In a year
everything will be rebuilt
in Norway
and everyone can buy
what they want.
In Siberia
we can’t buy
any clocks.
In that context
there was
only a bagatelle.
It was a souvenir for him.
And you bought that explanation.
Do you think it was a good explanation?
I didn’t hear it then,
but it was
a kind of explanation
for them.
They saw
things that were
little valuable.
For the Norwegians
it was something they could buy quickly.
But for them
it was a souvenir.
You had a lot of things like that.
And the Russians who
were interviewed
were amazed
that they cared
about such simple things.
Otherwise it went well.
Stian Bones,
both positive and
less positive experiences
with the Russians.
You have
researched
the positive first.
The positive
is the dominant, we could say.
Especially if we look up
and see how it went
with the liberated part of Norway
compared to other areas.
Here it manifested
among other things
that
we started
cultural exchange
already the same year
the Russians were here.
It was
public events,
cultural events that the locals
could participate in.
Not least by establishing
the first
connection between Norway and the Soviet Union
as a friendship association.
The first of them was established here.
The founder of it
was the colonel Peter Holt
and the Russian commander
Pavel Lokin Grig.
He was nicknamed Grig
because his parents were
Norway’s friends.
It was a bit of a cross between them.
The third
and the most visible
was the sports.
During the winter
you got
ski competitions.
In the spring of 1945
it was in April
8th April
if I remember correctly,
a large arena was arranged
in front of the church, a ski arena,
between the Norwegians
and the Russians.
The Russians were not happier
than they picked up the soldiers
who were on the other side of the front
on the eastern front, up here
to compete in skiing.
At least they had a competitive instinct.
During this
there was always
uncertainty this year.
Would they come back?
It was
a kind of undercurrent
and it was there
for a long time.
Such things are hard to measure.
What I can see
are written reports
that measured people’s moods.
Some people said
to public figures
that they were worried.
They didn’t know
how they would
start rebuilding
when the situation was
so uncertain.
This was reported.
The most visible expression
for this was
the Norwegian
military chief
in the Eastern Front,
Arne Dagfinn Dahl,
who sent reports
to London.
He was in contact with the government
in London and reported
about his fear
that this would become
a Russian area of interest.
He exaggerated
the fear
in relation to
the fear the government in London
had. He
took it harder than them.
During the period he described
this as a real fear
that the Russians
would come to be.
We know that this did not happen.
This did not happen.
The Norwegian
exile government in London
was actually
taken a little by surprise
by the rapid Russian advance.
It was never easy
to send Norwegian forces
to Eastern Finland
before the liberation
was actually completed.
But
on November 11th
230 men
from the Scottish brigade
and a dozen
civilians
arrived.
Locally, these Norwegian
forces were called
the Londoners.
The relations with the local population
became
quite tense.
There were some expectations
that crashed with the realities.
Welcome,
Evelyn Olsen-Leed.
You and your family
moved into a house
on Bjørnevatn after you
came out of the tunnel.
Do you remember
the first time you saw
someone from the Norwegian force
come up the street where you lived?
Yes, it was like this.
Probably because
there was so much tension
we had to go out
and play every afternoon.
When we had eaten, we went out.
We stood on the stairs
and we saw the troop
with soldiers
marching
into their own homes.
We looked at
the soldiers and thought
there were soldiers everywhere
so we thought
they were practicing
or something. We didn’t know
what they were going to do.
Suddenly,
when they had come
all the way inside
to Bjørnevatn,
we heard a terrible
commotion and screaming
and crying.
Then we were chased
inside with the kids.
We weren’t supposed to be outside
or hear or understand anything.
I was ten years old
and of course
this
shook us up.
What was going on?
We didn’t understand what was going on.
I started to wonder
what was going on.
Then I realized
that it was
girls who had been
in Germany
who had been cut.
Then we heard
that they had been cut
after how much they thought
they had been in Germany.
Whether they had been lovers
or workers.
Then I got so scared.
I thought,
my God, if they come here
and cut my mom.
My mom had a very long
light wave hair.
I have a picture here,
but I can’t show it to you.
I have seen it.
She had very nice hair.
I thought,
will they come and cut my mom
just because she worked
in Germany?
I thought that was terrible.
They didn’t come.
They passed by
our house
and left.
I thought,
my God, they didn’t come
and took my mom.
Then I realized
that we weren’t
registered in Bjørnevatn.
We didn’t belong to Bjørnevatn.
It was probably because
she wasn’t taken.
That struck me.
It was different
levels of society.
Some got
children
with soldiers,
but like their mother,
she became a nanny during the war
and had to work
to support
the family.
You didn’t understand
as a ten-year-old,
but what have you reflected
about what happened
and the treatment
these women received?
I thought it was
terrible
that they
would be hit
in that way
just because they
worked for the Germans.
Why did they work for the Germans?
Why did it
only affect the women?
The men around us
also worked for the Germans.
They didn’t get
the same treatment
as the women
did.
It was terribly unfair.
You started to think about it more and more.
Why was it
so unfair
that it affected the women?
Her mother
kept me well-informed.
She had the chance
to take the job
she got from the Germans.
She started with the laundry.
No one can understand
what the laundry
was all about.
You didn’t have water
or a washing machine.
You had a
laundry house
by the river,
where she cooked and
washed the clothes.
I was seven, and my brother was five.
We had to help her.
She cut a big hole
in the ice,
and we stood there
with our clothes on a stick
and helped her
wash the clothes.
She got 15 kroner
for a laundry
for a German troop.
15 kroner!
You can’t understand
how that happened.
It wasn’t a luxury
accommodation.
Jaklin,
why was there
a cultural clash
between the Norwegian soldiers
and the local population?
They came from
two different worlds.
It’s sad to hear this,
because it’s a sad
and sad affair.
When these people left Scotland,
they received a greeting
from King Håkon.
It said
Remember
that when you come home,
these soldiers from Scotland,
you will come
to countrymen
who for four years
have been
subjected to suffering
and persecution.
The king also said
to remember
that these people at home
have been on the front line
all this time.
These were wise words
from the king,
but unfortunately
this reminder
was quickly forgotten.
It became very
difficult between those
who were to come
as their own countrymen
and soldiers.
There were different things
one reacted to.
It wasn’t
just necessarily political
sympathy,
that one had sympathized
with Nazism.
It was economic
solidarity.
It looked different
than they had thought.
It manifested itself
in a way in a sad way.
Yes, it was written in a sad way
back and forth.
I’m not a lyricist,
but it makes sense.
I’m going to
read two verses
of what these soldiers
put under pressure after
being here for a while.
We had waited a little
but not this.
The Norway we had loved
is not what we see.
The people we believed in
were healthy and healthy
in spirit,
but believed in the values of life
and the power of action and resistance.
And it continues.
We had waited
faith and unity and full Norwegian
society’s spirit.
A next love in helplessness
and will to work in hand.
But found a blind
worship of the
God of self-benefit
with self-satisfaction
as the first commandment.
These are strong things.
These are strong words.
These are unnational
egoists they have met,
and it’s clear that
people were surprised.
It was printed in a soldier’s magazine
and it came out.
And then the surprised
Finnmarking sat down and wrote
an answer, and it goes
in the same verse form
about this Lord who came.
We had waited a little
but not this.
The Lord we believed in
is not what we see.
We had waited thanks
and not hard and painful words
for the effort we made
for Norway here in the north.
The answer from the Finnmarkings
gets an applause.
One of the things
the Londoners reacted to
was that women had had children
with the occupation forces.
And as we have heard here,
the women were punished hard.
Unfortunately,
many young people also
experienced painful times.
Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers
came to Norway in 1940.
The young soldiers were known
as the Norwegian girl.
Nature took its course,
and in the course of the war
between 10,000 and 12,000 children
were born with a German father.
The mothers were subjected
to condemnation and revenge
because of their close ties
with a failed occupation force.
We are free!
It is peace!
A Norwegian joy
has celebrated its rebirth
in these hectic days.
We have cheered out
all the longings and hopes
every Norwegian woman and man
has carried in their hearts.
The endless year of oppression
is over.
After the war,
the government adopted the so-called
War Child Election,
which was intended to get
mothers and young people
out of the country.
Norway was one of the few countries
that set up its own
internment camp for women.
It is the intention
of 2,000 German girls
of all categories
in this camp.
But as a first step,
it is to clean up and clean up
after the men,
who have also done something
quite incredible here.
The measures must first and foremost
be seen as a lead in the fight
against gender illness,
as it is estimated that
about 75% of the girls
out here are infectious.
Many of the children were
taken from their mothers by force
and placed in orphanages
Some to Finland, others to Sweden.
Many of the war children
were raised with poor treatment
in school, orphanages
and the local community.
In 2002, VTOK Storting
apologized to the war children.
And as late as in 2018,
the women who had had
close relations with German soldiers
received a new apology
from Prime Minister Erna Solberg
on behalf of the government.
The treatment of these women
was given great importance
when it comes to
upholding the fundamental principles
we have for a just state.
And it is with this foundation
that I today, on behalf of the government,
will apologize.
Linda Randahl, Knut Tiger Johansen
Welcome. Linda, your
grandfather was
an Austrian soldier.
That means that your father
was what was called
the German boy. When did you
find out?
I found out when I was 15 years old.
I had a family
who visited us a lot.
We talked about different things
and after a while
the lady in the family
started asking
your uncle, I wasn’t
your father’s brother.
It was a bit back and forth
and I said yes,
because my grandparents
were married before the war.
She said that can’t be true.
And then
we didn’t talk about it anymore.
But when I got home that night
I went straight to mom and dad
in the bedroom and said
that my grandfather
wasn’t my grandfather.
And then they had to tell everything.
So then I found out.
And what was funny
afterwards was when I
went to my friends
and told them about it
I felt a kind of
dazzling sensation
at the time.
They said
that they had never heard of this.
It was
common knowledge for them
but I had never heard of it.
Why didn’t your father
talk about it?
No,
what they still say
today.
My grandmother married
the man I always
considered my grandfather.
Right after the war.
So he adopted his father.
And his grandfather
didn’t want us to
not recognize him as his grandfather.
But I think
there were other things
that they didn’t talk about
at all.
And you have been a bit
that this
also for your generation
you were born late in the 60’s
and this
has affected people.
You say you know many
who have started to look for
great-grandparents.
Yes,
I met Seines
a few days ago
who had just
found his family
in Austria.
And we have never
talked about this
between us grandchildren.
And there are many
who see this,
especially here where we
have lived on the border
where the war is often
taken up because of the good
conditions we have in Russia.
So it gets so close all the time.
And of course there are many
reflections around this
but we have never talked
about the women,
the mothers who gave birth
to the enemy.
I have actually thought
about both the young people
and the mothers
that when
peace came to us
and we saw the light of the future
for many of them
the future
they had foreseen
was a bit in the dust.
Because some of them
were with their loved ones
to Germany or Austria
and some had planned to do it
and it never happened.
And life was completely different
than they might have imagined
when the children were born.
There are many different stories
but I don’t think
most of them went into
a simpler life.
Knut Taiger-Johansen,
you grew up here in Kirkenes
without knowing
who your father was
and was among others taken
to be German young
and got to hear it.
And it probably wasn’t easy
but then, at the age of 60
the whole life story
takes a completely new turn
and it started with an ad
in Sørvarrang Ravis.
Yes, that’s right.
In Sørvarrang Ravis
there was a Russian soldier
and it said
that a boy
was wanted.
And my daughter said
that
dad,
you have to take us
to Sørvarrang Ravis.
No, I can promise you
that I won’t do that.
And you know what?
She started the investigation.
And
yes,
suddenly a Russian team
had to come.
A Russian TV team
to film you?
Yes.
I thought, what in Jesus’ name
is this?
And that film
was in the
basement with my daughter.
And they came there
and said
in a month
you will be traveling to Moscow.
And it was cold.
It was winter.
And they said
no, we can’t travel now.
No, and we were expelled
for another month.
And then we were deported to Moscow.
Deported to Moscow.
And to put it like that,
there you come into a
a bit surrealistic situation.
You end up in a Russian
huge TV studio
in Moscow.
There you get to meet
for the first time…
Yes.
I had two sisters and a brother.
I got to meet them.
And then
one of my sisters
he had
a concert
in Moscow.
The son of one of your sisters?
Yes.
And he
picked me up
and he told me
about my father.
I thought
I had never seen my father.
He told me
everything about my father.
When he came to the church.
He was
with this red man
in
the 4th division.
Yes.
So he was the first to come
into the church and save
the people who were there.
Yes.
And this red man, you see he had a high position.
So he had…
He was a bit of a solution here.
Because he had access to the papers
at the Russian investigation
when they started digging into this case.
And found a map
of your father.
So that’s how they found out about it.
But there was another thing
in the studio that made
at least your daughter
was certain that
this was her family.
There was some similarity there, wasn’t there?
Yes.
And when he came out there
I got to meet him.
Then my daughter says
Oh my God!
That was Jan Ove,
my son.
It was like two drops of water.
Yes.
And then I said
Yes, I had to say that too.
And then she started to hold me
in the groin.
So I thought
Oh my God, you’re fainting.
Yes.
But you understand that
there were nurses there.
So she fainted a little,
but she was well taken care of by the Russian investigation.
They gave her some pills, you know.
Knut, this is a fantastic story.
How has it been
in the meantime?
Has it been good to finally get an answer
on who it was?
Yes, of course
it has been good to get an answer.
But it has been
inside of me.
Because at school I was called
the German boy.
And I asked my mother
Am I a German boy?
No, she said.
You don’t have to listen to them.
It was the boys
who went to high school
who called me.
But she was right.
You shouldn’t listen to them.
Even if you didn’t know
that one day you would get an answer
in a Russian TV studio in Moscow.
No.
Thank you very much
for being able to tell this story,
Knut.
It was like this.
Life in the ruins
in Kirkenes, and the rest
of the burnt-down Finnmark
and Nordtoms after the war,
was anything but easy.
It was marked by the lack of
the very, very most, not least of food.
And there was
also a lot of risk
to reconstruction,
to the other aftermath of the war.
So when the offer came from Røde Kors
and the Swedes were afraid
of sending the kids to Sweden,
many said yes.
It had been a lean year of war
in the north.
Svea Andersen was one of the many
kids sent to Sweden
to be fed.
I was simply ignored.
Food
was one thing.
She was very good at sewing and knitting.
I was dressed up.
And it was real clothes.
And we were
in Sweden
from October
over the worst winter
and
we came home
in the beginning of June
1946.
Svea Andersen,
it’s a few years since this,
but you remember it so well.
The journey went by ship
from Kirkenes to Narvik,
led by mine sweepers,
and from there by footpath
to Sweden.
In Narvik, it still brings back
good memories.
We were met by Swedish sweepers.
They had
bread
with cellulite filling
and cocoa.
I still use it
when I have bad days
to make cocoa.
It helps.
You also followed
a kind of quarantine time
in a gathering camp?
Yes,
we were
put in a
gathering camp.
We were to go out
to Swedish families
and stay there over the winter.
We had to be
self-isolated
and also be healthy.
So we were
in a gathering camp
before we were sent
to the Swedish families.
I was
lucky there.
I think I had
14 days or so.
I got
more sleep when I
arrived in Sweden.
But
you ended up
living
a life
in a Swedish family.
Foreign people,
but
you think it went well?
Yes, they knew I was so lucky.
Very lucky.
I came to a family
that was very happy.
They didn’t have
any children.
A brother lived there.
But they didn’t have any children.
And
it was
incredible.
We experienced so much
I had never seen before.
In addition,
we had to go to school.
There were other
Norwegian kids in the village
where I lived.
We had a gathering.
So
I had a good stay.
But still,
you were there
for 8 months.
A 10-year-old girl
far, far away
from your parents.
That can’t
have been easy.
No, it’s not.
Because
I got
nice clothes,
I got food.
It was warm and nice.
But it’s a bit strange.
On Christmas Eve,
for example,
I had never seen the stars of Advent.
And when they
started the storm,
I got a bit nervous.
But still,
on Christmas Eve,
the whole family
gathered.
The rest of the family,
because they were going to see
the Norwegian girl.
But in the middle of
all that food,
I thought
that Christmas Eve
was a bomb.
And
I remember that
I was wondering how she was doing at home.
And then
she cried.
And then the others said
that
she was crying.
What is that?
And then she saw
something I got as a grandmother.
And today
she is looking for Santa Claus.
Yes, she is.
Yes.
And after 8 months, June
1946, you came home again.
How was it
to come back?
It was like a boat.
To the quay.
We were very excited
when we arrived.
We knew what we had left behind.
Some wreckage
had come up, but not so many.
And my image
from when we reached the quay,
was that on the quayside
down on the Viking quay,
up on the roof,
where all my brothers were sitting.
And I waved,
and I shouted,
and I screamed to them
not to mention
any response at all.
And it was
perhaps because I had
several kilos on my body.
And I screamed.
Wasn’t that what you meant?
I stood up
and had a little bouquet on me.
And they were not used to
seeing their sisters.
But it was very good
to come home.
Lots of people welcomed us.
And there were
some people
who didn’t feel so good.
And that was a bit strange.
But
it was good to be home again.
Those who came,
they wanted to adopt me.
And it could have been so good
that I just stayed.
But it wasn’t so good
for me anyway if I had gone there.
But we had a very good
contact the rest
of my life.
And now I’m gone.
Both my mother-in-law and my father.
But when I turned 90,
I got in the car and drove to Ro.
And on my birthday,
the 21st of July,
every year I used to take the phone
and say, hurray for you,
Tilo. And that felt so good.
Thank you, Svea,
for that picture
of Swedish young people.
You were many. You were several thousand.
The Norwegian forces
who came from London,
they recruited young men from Sørvaranger
to fight against the Germans
west in Finnmark.
Alf Raphaelsen
ran at his age
and became a child soldier.
Yes, how old are you,
you said?
17 years old.
Yes, that keeps coming back.
And after a while,
I was accepted as an adult.
But I was just a child.
With a sharp shot in the magazine,
Alf was sent west
to chase the last Germans
out of Finnmark.
The boat trip along the
burnt-down coast of Finnmark
was painful.
To see the whole coast
burnt down,
it was
indescribable
how painful it was.
I can’t even
describe it with words.
But to see
that it was destroyed
so colossally.
In Porshanger,
Alf met the Germans.
The young soldier
was ready for battle.
It was the end of the war,
and they were ready for it.
And they sat down
to a place called Neverfjord
out by the sea.
The situation was tense.
But Alf was spared
the worst.
The captain said
there was no need for battle
because the war was over.
He understood that.
It was the end of the war.
And when they left so quickly,
it meant that they
didn’t have any more captains.
And they only had one way.
They came to the sea.
They didn’t come back.
Back in Kirkenes,
Alf was 17 years old.
And he had to work
on the abandoned battlefield.
When we came back here,
we had to clean up
the war that had been
in the past few years.
The Russians took the fallen.
The Germans had to lie down.
So they lay down here.
When we came back here,
we had to clean up
the fallen.
And then
I had to go down
and put water
in the well.
And there I found
a random soldier.
When I took him,
he disappeared.
He was 19 years old.
I was 17 years old.
It was the mothers
I thought of then.
The mothers.
My mother brought me home.
Because it was hard.
Really hard.
I still feel that
when I think about it.
No.
I don’t think
I can say anything more about it.
I have to carry it with me.
We have enemies,
but we are humans too.
Rune Raffaelsen,
the chairman.
This is your father.
How is it to see and hear him speak?
I get used to it.
And that is reflected in what I have told you tonight.
It has been a long night.
You have documented
in a fantastic way
what was daily life.
War affects ordinary people.
I am so lucky that I was born
in a generation that has not experienced war.
But it is a great insight.
As a young person,
I was not very interested in it.
And that is what my father has told me.
I have told him about episodes, of course.
And many others
who were at that age experienced it.
There is nothing special about it.
But it was tough
for those who grew up
to have those memories.
The fact was that it was war here.
Norway was occupied, but here it was war.
So that people had
experiences.
Ingeve Grønveik,
you are a daily journalist
in Støvrang Ravis,
and you also look for
and map
the aftermath of war.
War is visible
every day.
What do you do?
There is so much to do.
You just have to find an area
that no one else has.
My area is flying.
Mainly.
You find a lot on the way,
but flying has been
an interest since I was little.
We have some pictures
of what you are looking for
in the terrain.
Tell us what you find here.
Or show us.
This is on the way
to a bomber
that was shot down
by air defense fire.
It was hit by
some blind people.
It fell down
in Hong Kong.
It’s a Russian bomber.
Actually an American bomber,
but in Russian use.
The thing I’m taking pictures of
is a Russian-produced part.
The Russians thought the plane
was a bit too poorly armed,
so they built a
firing position on it.
As you can see,
it’s full of
this kind of stuff.
You look for planes,
and in 2000
you make a very special find.
Yes.
Not really a find,
because this was known,
but it was far up in the mountains
and inaccessible to most people.
But some local fishermen
knew that there was a plane wreck
and that there were supplies.
My goal was to find
all the planes,
so of course they had to be there.
I brought a friend with me
to the mountains,
and when I got there
and saw the remains
of the plane,
I realized that
this was not possible.
I had to find out who they were,
bury them in Russia,
and tell my family
what had happened.
If I had known how difficult it was,
I wouldn’t have promised myself
that, but I did anyway.
It was difficult,
but you did it.
We can reveal that.
You found the remains
in 2000,
and it took seven years
before he got his grave.
Yes.
I say we, because I got some help,
but it took
four years to identify him,
and three years to get the Russians
to verify this.
It went so far that
it was written directly to Putin
for help.
When it was written to Putin,
it took a couple of months
before I got a message to identify me
at the General Consulate in Kirkenes,
and then everything was in order.
And you have a medal on you,
you have to tell the story behind it.
Yes.
The medal is a civilian medal
that the Russian Defense Minister
is handing out.
It has the name
to people
who have done a special
work to honor the fallen.
And they think
I have done that.
You have.
That’s great.
Maybe it deserves an applause.
Brune,
what we see through Ingvar,
that the war is so visible,
so concrete,
all around,
also makes the memory
more vivid, do you think?
Yes, I think so.
Like I said,
there was war here.
When I grew up,
one of the things we liked the most
was to collect junk all around.
We went to A.V.L.
A.V.L. stands for
Arbeitverflegungslager.
We filled up the junk boxes
and put them in the bin.
That was the funniest thing we did.
But there was also a tragedy.
There were many young boys,
especially, who got injured.
Even their lives.
It happened while I was growing up.
So the war has always
had a central place in this area.
Because there was war here.
Let’s talk about the memory culture
that exists
on both sides
of the border.
We have been able to
be part of a journey
with both Norwegian and Russian
who want to remember
what happened
75 years ago.
Twice a year
Norwegians and Russians
travel together to lay
wreaths and flowers
on the most important war monuments
in Finnmark and Kola.
Here in Litsadalen,
just 5 miles from Murmansk
stood the bloodiest battles.
After the war,
the area was called
Dødensdalen.
But when the main monument
for the Litsa front came up,
they changed it to Ærensdalen.
It’s a massive complex
and it makes a great impression
when you walk there
and see all the names
engraved in the stone.
Everyone who drives
between Kirkenes
and Murmansk
should stop and use
half an hour.
You can walk there
and see what kind of loss
the Russian side had to make
to liberate Finnmark.
This is the central place
where most of the
fallen soldiers are buried.
It’s the main memorial complex
in the Murmansk region.
Every year,
all the veteran delegations
visit this place.
From Ærensdalen,
the Norwegian-Russian tour
continues to Ahmalati,
just off the Norwegian border,
in the middle of Pasvigdal.
Ahmalati is the
memorial site
that means a lot to us
here in Finnmark,
and should mean a lot to Norway.
This is the place
where the 611
Red Army soldiers
who fell in battle on Norwegian soil
were buried after the liberation.
We are very
aware that
this is where the remains
of the 611
Soviet soldiers
who fell on Norwegian soil rest.
It is an honour for us
to be allowed to honour
their memory here today.
We show our gratitude
and thank them
for their efforts to liberate
Kirkenes and Finnmark.
The last monument
is set up in Persfjord
and is connected
to a specific
episode with the partisans.
There are
two Norwegians
and one Russian
who are buried there.
They were shot
during a parade
by the partisans in Persfjord.
The memorial tour
was ended in Kiberg
with a coronation
The commander
at Vardehus Fortress
was honored
with a Norwegian and Russian flag.
We in Varde and Kiberg
are very close
to this story.
There was almost no family
in Kiberg that was not affected
by the partisans activity
or their loved ones.
I work in Finnmark
and up here
there is a completely different
approach to the dialogue with Russia.
When we talk about this
we talk about the difference
between the abstract
main state dialogue
and the more concrete
neighborhood dialogue.
Here we have friends
who want to do something together.
The wish for closer cooperation
across the border
is one sided.
The element of our common history
and liberation of Kirkenes
and the difficult years of the Soviet Union
and today’s development of relations
here in the north
is a good stabilizing
and strengthening of our cooperation
between our two countries.
Rune Raffaelsen
many say that
there is a cold ice
between Norway and Russia
for a very long time.
How would you maintain
a good neighborhood
here in the border area
in such a climate?
We don’t notice
this climate in everyday life.
The only thing I can say
is that we don’t discuss
the international politics
as openly as we did before
in the sense that what happened
in March 2014
when Russia
annexed Crimea
is not an issue.
But in everyday life
there is so much
and there is barely a day
where there is no cooperation
between Norway and Russia.
We have seen this especially
during the marking
of the 75th anniversary
how we can build up enormous…
One of the big manifestations
was that
Herring’s Music Corps
played together with
It’s not the thing
we don’t cooperate on
between Norway and Russia
I have daily contact
with the Russian general
or the Russian General Staff
I often meet with them
about practical things
so that the daily cooperation
goes very well.
And the pioneers here
are ordinary people like
the Irish team,
the artists,
but they don’t have
a concrete cooperation with Russia.
And I think that people here
look at Russia
in a completely different way.
I think the fear of Russia
is inversely proportional
to the distance from Storskog.
So I think that in…
In Bærum
they shout at night
No one I know
No, no, no
Not in Bærum
But when you come here
you have a nature
and I think it has historical roots
I often say
It was Russian soldiers
who died on their way
from Murmansk to Kirkenes
and no one else
I think there is
a lot of respect
among the people
who have experienced this
and that they wish…
And this is a part
of civil preparedness
The fact that Olga Avladimir knows Per and Kari
is crucial for building trust
So the most important thing for Norway now
is to dialogue with Russia
for big, complex projects
that build trust. That’s how we should work.
Traditionally,
says Jan Espen
the big political
climate
that we talked about earlier
that is ice cold
affects the relationship
that most people have
to their neighbours,
Vestendal and Norway
Yes, it does, but it is
phenomenally great
that it is possible to separate these things
that on a local level
we have a much closer
and better relationship
because we can’t avoid
that on a national level
there are significant
problems
between the countries
The reason has been mentioned earlier
there has been talk about
the difference in the annexation of
Krimhalle, the Russian
involvement in eastern Ukraine
This is a difficult international
issue, but of course
this affects
and it is great
that there is an invitation
to the Norwegian Foreign Minister
to visit Russia
Norway
had to take care of them
we will see
when that happens
but the last few years
since 1914, there hasn’t been many
visits, there hasn’t been much dialogue
on the national level
and that is a shame
it creates problems
the relationship could have been
much closer and much better
I’m not going to sit here
and make excuses
but the fact is
that it is a cold
cold war
and you say that
here you don’t notice
anything
but it has been more difficult
before, if you go back several years
when it was a cold war
are you afraid
that you can go in that direction again
that the distance
can get bigger
yes, there is a certain danger
but then I think back
in the middle of the coldest
coldest cold war
in the 50’s Gerhardsen visited Khrushchev
and took up
the situation in Pasekala
to start power generation
in 1962, Khrushchev himself
opened the first power station
and established
the Norwegian-Finnish-Soviet
top commision
that regulated Weinstein
under very difficult conditions
Norway managed to get good dialogue
so I have faith that it is possible
this
in the north
where Norway
meets reality
we can be around the world
with engagement in Colombia
in the Middle East
but here you have to have a concrete policy
and I think the best thing
is that you have a good dialogue
you develop business
it is very important
we have no interest in an increased
tension in the north
we have to use Russia
and it is actually my
there is a negotiating room now
in a dialogue
with Russia
the Chinese side is not easy
for Russia either
and here a lot of exciting things happens
in the northern sea area
where Norway has a great opportunity
to become an important part
we are the first port you meet in the west
when you go from Bering Strait to Europe
yes, Norway
has a negotiating room that can be used
but it must be done in cooperation with Russia
we take that optimism
with us when we now go
towards the end of this broadcast
October 25, 1944
was the liberation day
here in Kirkenes
it was the day
when for the first time in many years
the Norwegian flag could be raised again
and not least
it was the day when you could
sing the national anthem again
and day by day
it is a very special song
for many
who live here
and remember what happened
75 years ago
here is again the Norwegian national anthem
Norwegian National Anthem
Norwegian National Anthem
Norwegian National Anthem
applause
this evening
in Åfellars arena
in Kirkenes is at the end
thank you for watching
we would like to thank
all the time witnesses
who were with us tonight
thank you for sharing
your stories
and I hope
that more people can
carry this on
now it is our responsibility
to be part of
this story
about the years of war
and the liberation
to a part of our collective
national story
about the war in Norway
thank you for tonight
applause
for over a thousand years
Norway and Russia
have lived in peace and good neighborhood
between our two countries
there has never been war
few neighborhoods
can show such a legacy
the only time
the war came here
we stood together
then came Pim
and I took
the cap and Holt
and shot me through cap
yes yes it is a coincidence
And then
it was a camera
the filming
together
yes, this is
can be called
anti-warful work
the war begins
To be honest, it’s very terrible.
It’s not like it’s shown in the movies or in the movies.
There is a fighter.
Peace be with you, God.
Your warrior.

2 thoughts on “For the 80th Anniversary of the Liberation of Northern Norway, the WWII History Is Being Rewritten There

  1. Sincere gratitude for this text. Being for the first time here, even after a very brief browsing of the content, I see that I will return many times, and I am truly happy. Thanks for making my day!

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