Although I was aware the the Nazi’s occupied Norway, I knew very little about it; it’s simply not something that gets taught in British schools (at least not in my day) and I have to say that the Resistance Museum provided the perfect starting point to learning more about that time.
The museum has lots of really excellent models of important points during the Nazi occupation – which proved handy as not all the information panels provided an English translation. The Museum itself opened in 1970 in order to present a chronological exploration of the five years Norway was occupied.
Germany occupied Norway on 9th April 1940; they were given aid by the leader of the Norwegian Nazi party Vidkun Quisling who announced he was prime minister that same day. By June the King and Norwegian government had fled to London, but Norway remained in a state of war with Germany despite the great risks involved.
The Museum does a good job of explaining the ways in which the Resistance worked – how important the BBC was for gathering news, how secret printing presses got information to the people and the ways in which messages were smuggled by those who had been imprisoned.
About 45,00 Norwegians were imprisoned during the war and more than 100,000 Eastern Europeans were brought in as forced labour. About a third of the Jewish population of Norway were killed in Auschwitz.
Resistance was organised by the Norwegian government in exile with help from the British government. Their victories included destroying the water plant at Vemork to prevent Germany making atomic weapons and the destruction of the German battleship Tirpitz.
The hardships of the Norwegian people and the bravery of those involved in the resistance efforts are perfectly highlighted by the museum which is a fitting tribute to them. Freedom finally came at the end of the war on 8 May 1945. The Norwegian Parliament reopened in December of that year.
I’d definitely recommend a visit; you can find more of my photos here.