Authors: Anne Raghnild Fagerberg and William Sterling Williams
Publisher: Five Points Press
ISBN: 978-0-9836834-1-4

                             When Institutionalized Brutality meets a collective stoic

This is a detailed and harrowing account of the ravages suffered by Norway and the Norwegians under the German occupation during World War II. It is also a saga of the collective defiance of a peace-loving and fiercely independent people and how they withstood together, the brutal repression of a foreign power.

The author was only four years old when the Nazis invaded Norway in early April 1940. In this book, she provides a year-by- year account of her experiences over the five years of German incumbency.

Beginning with the first bombings of Oslo before occupation, the author graphically relates how the free and easy-going atmosphere of pre- war Norway was vitiated by the Nazi regime. She describes evocatively, the terror that was unleashed upon the people, the constant surveillance by the Gestapo, the interminable death threats and the all -pervading atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust created by informers, who could be just anybody who wished to curry favour with those in power at the cost of others. She mentions her own father’s involvement with the resistance, and also her own small contribution of distributing leaflets containing material aimed at counteracting German propaganda. She relates in detail how many people close to her and her family were collected for questioning by the Gestapo, and subsequently deported to concentration camps, never to be heard of again. She mentions the hideouts at her home where her father had hidden a radio and a transmitter, and how they would listen to the news en famille in that secret place. She also recounts the various attempts at spreading pro-German propaganda by the Nazi parties of Norway, headed by Vidkun Quisling, and his subsequent trial and execution when the war came to an end.

This book is a real page turner, it holds your interest from start to finish. One suffers with the author during the reading and exults with her at the end when victory is achieved by the allied forces, that heralded the end of German oppression. One attains a historical perspective of how  the Norwegians handled the occupation. There were also other extenuating circumstances, i.e., they were considered a superior race, and German soldiers were encouraged to mate with Norwegian women in order to contribute to a genetic pool. These “German whores” ( Norwegian women who served German soldiers) were not popular as they misused their privileges at times and at the end of the war, they were suitably punished.

Speaking for myself, I enjoyed the book very much. If you wish to learn about the Nazi occupation of Norway, read this book. You will see very clearly how events transpired.

Warmly recommended.


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