Maximo Guiliermo Manus (1914 - 1996) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Bergen, Hordaland
Death: Died in Bærum sykehus, Oslo
Managed by: Tormod Engebu
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About Maximo Guiliermo Manus

Max Manus (Maximo Guillermo Manus) DSO, MC & Bar (9 December 1914, Bergen – 20 September 1996, Asker) was a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II.

Kilder

Biography

Max Manus was born to a Norwegian father and a Danish mother in the Norwegian city of Bergen. His father's name was originally Johan Magnussen, but he changed his surname to Manus after living several years in foreign (mainly Spanish-speaking) countries.

After fighting as a volunteer for Finland in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939/1940, he returned to Norway on the day of the German invasion of Norway on 9 April 1940. He was one of the pioneers in the Norwegian resistance movement, and was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941. He escaped to England for training and went back as a saboteur for the Norwegian Independent Company 1, better known as Lingekompaniet. He became a specialist in ship sabotage and, by using Limpet mine, sank ships that were important to the German Kriegsmarine, including the SS Monte Rosa in 1944 and the SS Donau on 16 January 1945. Max Manus ended the war as a First Lieutenant (Løytnant).

He was famous for being one of the most brilliant saboteurs during World War II, and after the war he wrote several books about his adventures. After the war, he started the successful office supply company Max Manus AS.

He was awarded Norway's highest decoration for military gallantry, the War Cross with sword. He was awarded this decoration twice: the War Cross with two swords. In addition to his Norwegian decorations, Manus received the British Military Cross and Bar.

He lived in Spain for the final years of his life and died there in 1996.

His autobiographical accounts

Two books were written by Max Manus shortly after World War II. The first, Det vil helst gå godt ("It Usually Goes Well") describes some of his enterprising and event-filled wandering and working in the jungles of South America and Latin America. He returned to Scandinavia before the outbreak of World War II, upon which he soon joined up with the Norwegian Army and went to fight in a volunteer detachment with the Finns against the Russians.

After the war in Finland, Max Manus returned to Norway as the Nazis invaded on April 9, 1940. He fought during the Norwegian campaign, whereupon he decided to return to Oslo and work underground against the occupiers, both organising a resistance movement, illegal public propaganda and the manufacture of weaponry. He and his comrades nearly managed to assassinate Himmler and Goebbels when they visited Oslo.

His work was effective and he soon became a wanted man by the Gestapo. He was eventually captured and received injuries trying to escape. He had to be treated in the main Oslo hospital. The doctor at the hospital gave the Gestapo officers a false explanation and said Max Manus needed treatment for a broken back, damaged shoulder and serious concussion. The truth, however, was that he was only bruised and had a light concussion. After 27 days, with the aid of a nurse, he managed to escape through a second-floor window using a rope. In a dramatic flight, he crossed the border into Sweden. By then, Russia had entered the war against Nazi Germany, so Manus travelled through Russia, via Turkey, Arabia, by ship via Cape Town to the US, to eventually be able to return to the fight in Europe.

He reconnected with the Norwegian military in the US and went on to further training in Canada and later crossed the Atlantic again to Belfast, then England. Here and in Scotland he trained further and developed professional skills in sabotage and undercover work of many kinds. He was then required to learn parachuting and was dropped in the forests near Oslo with a sabotage team.

In Norway he resumed his organizational work and made various sabotage attempts on ships in the Oslofjord with home-designed limpet mines and even ‘swimmer-assisted torpedoes’. The former were the more successful, sinking and damaging some vessels. It was a long but intense learning process of great practical difficulty and hazard. He made numerous hazardous trips back and forth across the border to Sweden, where he was able to get a respite from the constant mental and physical pressures of being undercover. Many of his comrades-in-arms were killed, captured and tortured, but Manus managed to survive through a combination of determination not to be taken and some very narrow escapes.

Max Manus’ second book was Det blir alvor ("It Gets Serious"), in which he continues the saga of his resistance work and his great successes in sinking in 1945 two large vessels of great importance to the German war machine. When peace was declared, Max Manus found himself to be chosen to be the personal protection officer of the then Crown Prince of Norway on his triumphal parade in Oslo, and then also with King Haakon VII. This was a great honour, and he was lauded as one of Norway’s most resilient and successful fighters, aged only 29 at the time.

After the war

Max Manus went into the office supply business after the war: In the fall of 1945 he and Sophus Clausen went to the United States to set up contracts for office machines. Together they started the company Clausen og Manus. In the years after the war, Manus also hired people who had been convicted for collaborating with Nazi Germany, among them Walter Fyrst.[1] Manus did this after internal discussions and was motivated by a wish for reconciliation, as well as professional considerations.[2]. In 1952, the company was split into Sophus Clausen AS and Max Manus AS which now distributed Olivetti and Philips office machines. The company still exists today.[3]

Max Manus married Ida Nikoline 'Tikken' Lindebrække in 1947. They met while she was working as a liaison for the Norwegian saboteurs at the British consulate in Stockholm. Tikken was the daughter of the County Governor of Bergen and was the sister of Sjur Lindebrække, who was a bank manager, and later became chairman of Høyre.

Manus would suffer from nightmares, alcoholism and bouts of depression after his experiences in the war, but he did tell about some of his experiences in interviews. After retirement, Max and 'Tikken' moved to Spain. Max died there in 1996.

In December 2007, it was announced that a movie about the life of Max Manus was to be made in Norway,[4] starring Aksel Hennie in the leading role. The film premiered on 19 December 2008.

Norsk Biografisk Leksikon

Max Manus, født 9. februar 1914, fødested Bergen, død 20. september 1996, dødssted Asker, Akershus. Motstandsmann og forretningsmann.

Foreldre: Translatør Johan Magnussen (Juan Manus) (1877–1952) og Gerda Kjørup (f. 1892). Gift 22.3.1947 med Ida Nikoline (“Tikken”) Lie Lindebrække (28.6.1914–), datter av fylkesmann Gjert Lindebrække (1879–1960) og Ida Bessesen Lie (1881–1944). Svoger til Sjur Lindebrække (1909–98).

Max Manus var en av de mest kjente motstandsmennene under den annen verdenskrig. Han utførte en rekke dristige sabotasjeaksjoner i Norge og var fra 1944 med i “Oslogjengen”.

Max Manus ble født i Bergen, moren var dansk. Bare 13 år gammel ble han tatt med til en onkel på Cuba, og de følgende år var han messegutt, anleggsarbeider i Sør-Amerika og gjennomførte eventyrlige vandringer over Andesfjellene til Argentina, for etter mange viderverdigheter å returnere til Norge. Før det tyske angrepet på Norge 1940 deltok Manus som frivillig soldat i vinterkrigen i Finland etter det sovjetiske overfallet. Han nådde imidlertid hjem tidsnok til å delta i krigen i Norge i 1940, nærmere bestemt ved Kongsvinger. Her sloss han sammen med andre finlandsfrivillige mot en tysk bataljon.

Manus kom inn i organisert motstandsarbeid allerede fra høsten 1940. Han var med på å gi ut den illegale avisen “Vi vil oss et land”, men drev også med forberedelser til militær motstand. 16. januar 1941 ble han overrasket i sin leilighet i Vidars gate i Oslo av seks personer fra Statspolitiet, men klarte å kaste seg ut gjennom et vindu. Med brukket rygg ble han sendt til Ullevål sykehus, men etter en knapp måned firte han seg ut av et vindu og ble hjulpet videre i sikkerhet.

Etter en 7-måneders tur via Stockholm og halve jorden rundt, kom Manus seg til Storbritannia. 17. desember samme år ble han tatt opp i Nor.I.C.1 (Kompani Linge). Hans spesialitet ble skipssabotasje. 12. mars 1943 kom han tilbake til Norge sammen med Gregers Gram for å gjennomføre operasjon “Mardonius”: skipssabotasje med magnetiske sprengladninger festet til skip i Oslo havneområde. Natt til 27. april klarte han sammen med to andre å senke Ortelsburg (3800 tonn), gi Tugela (5800 tonn) slagside samt senke en oljelekter.

Senere deltok Manus i operasjon “Bundle” fra oktober 1943 til april 1944, også dette skipssabotasje. Han hadde kontakt både med Gunnar Sønsteby(“Nr. 24”) og til Sentralledelsen i Milorg. Etter to mislykkede sabotasjeforsøk reiste Manus tilbake til Stockholm.

Fra våren 1944 ble han en del av “Oslogjengen”, ledet av Sønsteby. Dette var Sentralledelsens sabotasjegjeng, og Manus deltok i flere aksjoner i det siste krigsåret. Samtidig arbeidet han sammen med Gram med å spre propaganda innad i tyskernes rekker. Juni 1944 forsøkte han, også da sammen med Gram, å senke troppetransportskipet Monte Rosa, men skipet ble bare skadet. Manus klarte imidlertid i januar 1945 sammen med Roy Nielsen å senke Donau, også det et troppetransportskip. Dette skipet hadde 1942 fraktet arresterte norske jøder til Tyskland.

I frigjøringsdagene 1945 fikk “Oslogjengen” ansvaret for sikkerheten til kronprins Olav da han ankom til Oslo 13. mai. Kronprinsen kjørte gjennom byen i åpen bil med Manus som livvakt plassert i forsetet med sin stengun parat. Det samme skjedde da kong Haakon 7 kom hjem fra Storbritannia 7. juni: Manus ble plassert som livvakt i forsetet på kongens bil.

Like etter krigen skrev Manus bøkene Det vil helst gå godt og Det blir alvor om opplevelsene under krigen. De ble solgt i over 300 000 eksemplarer, og bøkene gav Manus en nærmest legendarisk posisjon som motstandsmann. Med pengene fra boksalget bygde han opp kontormaskinfirmaet Max Manus A/S.

Manus ble tildelt de høyeste norske, britiske og amerikanske militære dekorasjoner. Som en av svært få fikk han bl.a. Krigskorset med to sverd. Han gjorde i mange år tjeneste i Heimevernet, bl.a. som områdesjef i Asker, og var en periode formann i Oslo Forsvarsforening. Han giftet seg med Ida Lindebrække, som under krigen arbeidet hos den britiske konsulen i Stockholm, med særlig ansvar for Linge-karene. De siste årene av hans liv bodde ekteparet mest på Kanariøyene.

Verker

  • Det vil helst gå godt, 1945
  • Det blir alvor, 1946
  • Mitt liv (sm.m. B. Benkow), 1995

Kilder og litteratur

  • Manus' egne bøker (se ovenfor)
  • HEH 1984
  • A. Moland: biografi i NKrL, 1995
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Max Manus's Timeline

1914
December 9, 1914
Bergen, Hordaland
1947
March 22, 1947
Age 32
London
1996
September 20, 1996
Age 81
Bærum sykehus, Oslo
1996
Age 81
Oslo, Norway