The history of the State Archive (Arkivet)

The history of the State Archive (Arkivet)

Arkivet opens on the 7th of March. Jacob Friis is Keeper of the Rolls.

Arkivet is occupied by German soldiers on the 10th of April.

From the 6th of December, parts of the building are again used as State Archive.

In late January, Sipo/SD (Sicherheits-Dienst) takes over Arkivet and uses it as their regional headquarters. The take over is led by the head of the German Secret Police in Kristiansand, Rudolf Kerner. Prison cells and torture chambers are built in the basement. Detainees from all over southern Norway are brought to the building. Arkivet becomes known as the “House of Horror” and the “Stronghold of Torture”.

When peace is obtained, the Norwegian Resistance takes possession of the building. The State Archive uses the building as an archive up until the autumn of 1998, when the institution moves to new and bigger facilities in Prestheia, Kristiansand.

In December it is decided that the building be proclaimed for sale. An Arkivet action committee reacts towards the planned sales, and the plans are stopped.

Following the first meeting of the “Action Committee for Arkivet” on the 9th of January, the articulated aims are “to create an information centre about the region’s occupation history and a centre for forward-looking work on peace, as well as working towards co-localisation and cooperation with the Red Cross, Amnesty International, UN-Association and similar humanitarian and peacekeeping organisations”. On the 24th of August the “Action Committee for Arkivet” is established as a private foundation – the Arkivet Foundation.

On the 9th of April, Statsbygg (the Directorate of Public Construction and Property) hands over the building to the Arkivet Foundation free of charge.

Following a comprehensive and expensive restoration, the centre opens to the public on the 8th of May.

During the first two years of operation more than 15,000 visitors have participated in the guided tour programme. 10,000 of these are school children. The humanitarian organisations have more than 20 employees and a considerable volunteer network. The Arkivet Foundation is gradually becoming a prominent actor in southern Norway regarding the dissemination of history and within the field of human rights work.