Most of the fighting took place in the north of Norway. Many people lost their lives in towns like Narvik, well-known for its iron ore production. This was a product the Germans were in great need of. The Swedish border is only a few miles away, and the iron ore was sent by train across to neutral Sweden. Honningsvåg, which is one of Norway’s most northern towns, was burnt down, and had to be completely rebuilt after the war. On a cruise to the far north in 2003 we stopped at Honningsvåg, now a thriving community full of colourful houses. Only the church – a miracle really – was still standing after the great fire destroyed the town. The British and Norwegian forces fought hard and sank a few warships. But the Germans were too strong and on June 10th 1940 they capitulated and all of Norway was under German command.
King Håkon VII, Crown Prince Olav and the Norwegian Parliament fled to England. They ruled, unofficially, from London until the war ended.
Vidkun Quisling was Norway’s most hated man. He was appointed by Hitler himself to be Prime Minister of Norway.
Here is Quisling with his hero – Hitler
King Håkon VII was a Danish Prince before being asked to become King of Norway in 1905.
It was strange how life almost ‘became normal’ in spite of being occupied. My friends and I were very young, and accepted the situation, like children normally do. Our parents were there and we were well looked after. The Germans were not brutal in their approach towards the general population, and tried to make friends with us children. This would naturally benefit them in the long run. We were blond, blue-eyed and of the same Germanic race. But the story was quite different for those – who in German eyes – became traitors. As soon as the started the Norwegian resistance movement came into being and groups were formed, ready to fight the intruders.
The 9th of April 1940 is forever imprinted on many older people s’ minds in Norway, because that’s the day our country was invaded by German troops. Early in the morning, on a clear and bright day airplanes and warships approached the many inlets leading to Bergen harbour, and all at once we were involved in a very bloody war lasting until 1945.
I lived with my parents and grandparents in a house built by granddad in 1902, about 6-7 miles south of Bergen. It was not a large house, but we managed. In those days the toilet was placed in a shed across the garden, so we were not too bothered having to go outside last thing at night. That’s the way life was in those days!! Indoor plumbing was for the better-off people. My grandfather had retired and he kept busy with the small holding. Our property was big enough for us to keep a couple of pigs, a few goats and raise enough vegetables to sustain us during the winter months. We also had quite a few berrybushes, ie raspberry, gooseberry, red currant and strawberries. My mother made jam and jellies and canned what was left over.
The Germans encountered very little resistance when they arrived in Bergen and surrounding area, with surprisingly few soldiers. At Håkonsvern Fortress (at the inlet of Bergen harbour) shots were fired and a few people killed. The invasion was expected since Hitler’s relentless occupation of several European countries began in 1939, but it still came as a shock. People were relatively calm, according to the books I have read lately about this event, but very frightened.Quite a few of our relatives lived in or around Bergen and many of them left the city within days of the German takeover. Aunts, uncles, cousins and friends arrived at our house and as many as 15-20 stayed for weeks on end. Where they all slept I can’t imagine. Times were hard everywhere in the 1930s and 40s. My own father had a dreadful time finding work, and money was in short supply. I was too young to remember any of this, but somehow it must have made a deep impression on me because I’ve been told I began to stammer so badly that my mother was worried. She was adviced to ignore it, and within a few months I was back to my usual chatty self – no more stammer. One thing my mother insisted upon was that I was to stay in my own bed, no matter where the rest of them slept.
One episode I vaguely remember is that, a few weeks into the war, we were told to evacuate our homes because the resistance planned to blow up a bridge nearby, and it might be dangerous to stay at home. We headed for Totland, a mountainous ski-area some miles from our house. To a four year old this was exciting, and I didn’t mind sleeping in the hayloft on a farm for a couple of nights. As it turned out nothing happened, and we all went back home.
My grandmother is dressed in the local national costume.
I am slightly amazed that I am about to embark on ‘the Blog-scene’. I never expected to do a thing like this. But, if one has something to say the fear of going public can be overcome.
In memory of my much-loved parents:Inger and Lars Bratlid
My father was 35 years old when the German troops arrived in Norway. Along with many of his friends he joined an underground organisation called Kristian Stein. Little did they know how much suffering had to be endured before peace came in 1945.
I don’t intend to write a history of the second world war. That has been done by so many clever and knowledgeable people over the years. I just want to write about the effect the war had on my family and myself, and how we survived the terrible years between 1940 and 1945.
It was my husband’s idea. He said it would be a ‘closed chapter’ when I am no longer around, and he is right of course. I hope that family members yet to be born may be interested in great-grandmother’s life as a small child in war-torn Norway so many years ago.
My kind and gentle father deserves to be remembered, and I want to write about his horrendous experiences under the Nazis.
The information I have gathered comes from books from that era, and stories my father and his friends told me after the war ended.
This is my very first try as a blogger and it is a bit frightening, but I feel I have something to say that might be of interest. I will tell you a little bit about myself and why I decided to write. My name is Elin Smith; I was born and brought up in Norway and lived through the German occupation of our country during World War 2. My father became involved with a group of patriotic Norwegians who performed ‘illegal tasks’ according to the Germans. He, and many of his co-saboteurs, suffered severe hardship in German concentration camps as punishment. It is ‘My Father’s Story’ and what happened to us left behind I would like to start writing about.
My life has been quite interesting. I married my American husband in 1960, and lived in the US for eight years. In 1968 we moved, lock, stock and barrel to England, with three children in tow. We have lived here ever since. Over the years husband, Ron, and I have travelled to many parts of the world. I am very interested in film and photography work. Jazz is a shared hobby for Ron and myself, and I have also filmed at the Whitley Bay jazz-festival two years running.You can find my videos under ‘elinshouse‘ on You Tube.
My plan is to start writing ‘My Father’s Story’ next week. Hope it will be of interest to quite a few people.