Arkivet is located in the former state archives in Kristiansand. During the Second World War the building was the headquarters of Gestapo in southern Norway. In Nazi service, the building became a symbol of torture and contempt for human dignity.
The violence at Arkivet in Kristiansand constitutes some of Southern Norway's darkest chapters in terms of occupation history. Gestapo took over the State Archive in January 1942 and turned it into a regional headquarters. More than 300 people were brutally tortured regularly in the building's basement. Today more than 6000 people visit Arkivet each year to learn about the dark past. Most of these are school children and students.
Many of them became victims of Gestapo's method of interrogation, which consisted of torture and torment. 162 persons were executed or died in concentration camps. These people are today honoured by name on a stone monument by the entrance to the building.
Arkivet's reputation as the "House of Horror" and the "Stronghold of Torture" reached far beyond Norway's borders. The prisoners at Grini, the Gestapo prison camp in Oslo, referred to Arkivet as the country's most notorious place for physical and psychological violence and torture. Among the Gestapo headquarters established in Norway, Arkivet is the only one that has been conserved. Its appearance today is almost authentic to the way it looked during the war years.