The Resistance

Various forms for resistance are illustrated here in this room. The resistance took place in various fields. Both civil and military targets were hit when Kristiansand was attacked by German warships and bomber planes on the 9th of April, 1940. 13 civilians and 8 military personnel were killed during the attack. Aside from Odderøya, the military resistance in Agder was minimal. The Norwegian forces pulled back and assembled north of Evje.  By the 15th of April, there was already a capitulation agreement signed between the German and Norwegian forces in Setesdal.

There gradually emerged a civil and military resistance against the occupation of Norway and attempt to Nazify the country. Norway’s most valuable contribution in the battle against Hitler-Germany was the shipping between Norway and allied countries. London organized the Norwegian merchant ships in a large shipping business, Nortraship which was made available to the Allies. Over 34 000 Norwegian seafarers, whereof 3500 were from southern Norway, sailed during the war. Around 700 Norwegian ships were sunk.  Over 4500 Norwegians lost their lives at sea. 500 of them were from  Agder.    

Milorg was the designated name of the secret organized military resistance in Norway. It took several years before they were able to build a powerful organization that could conduct guerilla warfare and espionage. They hid in the mountains or remote forested areas and eventually became known as “the guys in the woods”.  The soldiers received food, weapons, clothes and equipment from England, dropped by parachute at predetermined points.  

The first years of the war were the biggest and best for the resistance movement based in Agder. It was led by Major Arne Laudal. He had up to 5000 men under his command and operated from Rogaland in the west, to Telemark in the east. The resistance group was revealed to the Gestapo in Decemeber, 1942. This led to numerous arrests. Major Laudal was subject to hard torture and, together with 5 others, sentenced to death and executed on the 9th of May, 1944 in Trandumskogen a forest in Ullensaker, Akershus county, north of Oslo.. The resistance work in southern Norway was characterized by smaller and less organized groups after the disclosure of the Laudal organization. 

An important part of the resistance meant having contact with the Allies. For example, they sent messages in Morse code about German ships that traveled along the Norwegian coast. They were strategic targets for English bomber planes.

The civil resistance movement was expressed in various fields. The Norwegian national socialist  government tried to Nazify the schools. Teachers from southern Norway were also arrested in March, 1942. Many of them were among the 500 teachers sent to Kirkenes into forced labour because they refused to become members of The Nazi Teachers’ Organization. Many thousands of men and women conducted resistance work through the printing and distribution of illegal newspapers.  Engaging in such work came with a high amount of risk. Many of them were arrested and ended up in German concentration camps.