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Norwegian Resistance Movements during WWII

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This project is an outline of the Norwegian resistance to the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany which began after Operation Weserübung in 1940 and ended in 1945. Resistance movements during World War II took place in Norway through a variety of actions, military organization, disinformation and propaganda, guerilla attacks and outright warfare.

The more organized military defense and counter-attacks in parts of Western and Northern Norway were aimed at securing strategic positions and evacuation of the government and took several forms:

  • Formal military organizations
  • Partisan groups
  • SEO agents
  • Armed resistance - sabotage, commando raids, assassinations and other special operations during the occupation
  • Civil disobedience and unarmed resistance

Although Norway did not have any major battles beyond those of the Norwegian Campaign, a number of military operations and resistance groups served to subvert the Nazi authorities and contribute to the larger war effort. One of the most successful actions undertaken by the Norwegian resistance was the Norwegian heavy water sabotage, which crippled the German nuclear energy project, Other organizations sabotaged a number of trains and railways.

The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions undertaken by Norwegian saboteurs to prevent the German nuclear energy project from acquiring heavy water (deuteriumoxide), which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. Between 1940 and 1944 a sequence of sabotage actions by the Norwegian resistance movement (supported by Allied bombing) ensured the destruction of the plant and the loss of the heavy water produced.

These operations codenamed Grouse, Freshman, and Gunnerside finally managed to knock the plant out of production in early 1943 … continued

Operation Grouse, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) successfully placed four Norwegian nationals as an advance team in the region of the Hardanger Plateau above the plant. Later in 1942 the unsuccessful Operation Freshman was mounted by British paratroopers; they were to rendezvous with the Norwegians of Operation Grouse and proceed to Vemork. This attempt failed when the military gliders crashed short of their destination, as did one of the tugs, a Handley Page Halifax bomber. The other Halifax returned to base, but all the other participants were killed in the crashes or captured, interrogated, and executed by the Gestapo.

World War II in Norway between 1940 - 1945

The most successful act of sabotage in WWII

In 1943, a team of SOE trained Norwegian commandos succeeded in destroying the production facility with a second attempt, Operation Gunnerside. Operation Gunnerside was later evaluated by SOE as the most successful act of sabotage in all of World War II. These actions were followed by Allied bombing raids. The Germans elected to cease operation and remove the remaining heavy water to Germany. Norwegian resistance forces sank the ferry, SF Hydro, on Lake Tinnsjø, preventing the heavy water from being removed.

Although most organizations opted for passive resistance, significant opposition to the Germans occurred through intelligence gathering, sabotage, supply-missions, raids, espionage, transport of goods imported to the country, release of Norwegian prisoners and escort for citizens fleeing the border to neutral Sweden.

  • Milorg, known as the Home Front was the main Norwegian resistance movement starting as a small sabotage unit developing into a full military force o9f approximately 40,000 Milorg kompani Linge og norske.....
  • Company Linge was a special operations unit that specialized in coastal insertions and combat.
  • In an attempt to stifle Resistance activities the Germans executed several innocent Norwegian men, women and children in retaliation after any Resistance act, the worst act of reprisal was the assault on the fishing village of Telavåg in the spring of 1942. Sweden aided the Norwegian resistance movement with training and equipment in a series of camps camouflaged as police training camps, secretly training around 8,000 men.

Intelligence gathering was instituted by students (two of the four participants were women)

One of the leading sabotage organizations in Norway during most of World War II was the communist Osvald gruppen led by Asbjørn Sunde.

Attempts at maintaining an "ice front" were utilized against the German soldiers, such as never speaking to a German if it could be avoided and refusing to sit beside a German on public transportation. The latter was so annoying to the occupying German authorities that it became illegal to stand on a bus if seats were available.

Civil disobedience as Resistance

Resistance became more open with rudimentary military organizations set up in the forests around the larger cities. A number of Nazi collaborators and officials were killed, and those collaborating with the German or Quisling authorities were ostracized, both during and after the war.

The first mass outbreak of civil disobedience occurred in the autumn of 1940, when students of Oslo University began to wear paper clips on their lapels to demonstrate their resistance to the German occupiers and their Norwegian collaborators. The Norwegian Resistance Museum, at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, gives a good account of the activities of the Norwegian resistance movement.

Jewish community

1892 - 1946

Little effort was made to establish a Norwegian Jewish community throughout the ages. The first synagogue in Norway was built in Oslo in 1892. The Jewish community grew slowly until World War II, bolstered by refugees in the late 1930s which peaked at about 2,100. At least 775 of these were arrested, detained, and/or deported. Murdered in concentration camps, suicide and other causes brought the total of deceased Jewish Norwegians to at least 765 (comprising 230 complete households). In addition to the few who survived concentration camps, some also survived by fleeing the country, mostly to Sweden, but some also to the United Kingdom.

Norway's Resistance Museum

Also known as the Norwegian Home Front Museum (Norwegian: Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum) the museum collection focuses on Norwegian resistance during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945.

The museum displays equipment, photos and documents from the war years. It is located at the Akershus Fortress in Oslo.

Amongst artifacts is a 1940 Norwegian krone (see image above). Coins with the H7 monogram were worn by Norwegian nationalists as jewelry during the occupation, and subsequently confiscated by German authorities. The Resistance Museum is located in a building from the 17th century on the grounds of Akershus Fortress, adjoining the memorial for Norwegian patriots executed during the war.



Illegalt arbeid 1940 til 1945 mot tyskerne i Alta området:
Spionasje mot tyskernes krigsskip og tropper og anlegg. Spionasje mot slagskipene "Scharnhorst" og "Tirpitz" i Altafjorden, Langfjorden i Alta og Kåfjord i Alta. I Alta var det en illegal radiostasjon IDA som sendte meldinger til London om slagskipene med mer.

  1. German battleship Scharnhorst
  2. German battleship Tirpitz
  3. Karl Rasmussen Karl Halvdan Rasmussen (født 8. november 1916 i Narvik, død 16. juni 1944 i Tromsø) var en norsk motstandsmann under andre verdenskrig, og leder for radiosenderen Ida under andre verdenskrig, på oppdrag fra britiske Secret Intelligence Service.
  • Norwegian Merchant Fleet 1939 - 1945
  • Warsailors This lists Norwegian ships in the "Homefleet"; ships seized by the Germans, ships that would ordinarily have been in foreign trade but happened to be in Norway when the Germans invaded and were unable to get out, local passenger/cargo steamers, car/passenger ferries etc. In other words - vessels that mostly sailed in Norwegian waters and/or were in domestic trade.

Even though there's no special war story for some of them, their job was an important one in that they kept "daily life" going, and they all sailed in the danger zones and deserve to be mentioned. Additionally, the Norwegians who sailed on them were in a difficult situation in that they had to sail for the "enemy", and risked being sunk by "their own".

Norwegian Resistance

Pelle gruppa

ASK Gruppen

IDA gruppen"

Stiftelsen Norsk Okkupasjonshistorie

Sørøya, Vest Finnmark. Kampene på Sørøya 1944 til 1945:

Frivillige soldater fra Finnmark holdt Sørøya fri for nasister / tyskere 1944 - 1945. Se bok "Øya i ingenmannsland" av O.F. Backer og Per E. Danielsen og Per Waage forlagt av H. Aschehaug 1946. De som falt i Hasvik og Børfjord på Sørøya: Martin Bjørnes (født 1925 Skjervøy), Edmund Gimsøy (f. 1926 Dønnesfjord), Odd Johansen (Slettnes), Roald Johansen (f. 1920 Gamvik), Edvin Jensen Røde (f. 1922 Sørvær)og Arne Røkenes (f. 1922 Hammerfest).

Sørøya, Vest Finnmark, wikipedia


De som var med og kjempet på Sørøya 1944-1945: nn Godø - kaptein - sjef for den norske styrken på Sørøya, nn Fjeld - sersjant, nn Pedersen - sersjant, O. F. Backer - løytnant, nn Hågensen, Erling Arnesen, nn Ellingsen, Hans Arnesen, Hans Gamst, Kåre Nilsen (1930-d) - Breivikbotn - Norges yngste soldat 14 år, Johannes Nuth, Sverre Johannesen, Johannes Johannesen, Johannes Hansen, Håkon Monsen, Bjørn Johannessen, Martin Bjørnes - død 1945, Edmund Gimsøy - død 1945, Odd Johansen - død 1945, Roald Johansen, Edvin Røde (Råde) - død 1945, Arne Røkenes død 1945, nn Heimly, Per E. Danielsen - løytnant, nn Aleksandersen, Asbjørn Johannesen 15år, Alfred nn - Alta bataljon, Leonard nn - Alta bataljon, Kasper nn, Knut Paulsen - korporal, Gerda nn - lotte, Margit Soløy - lotte, Herlaug Soløy - lotte, Astrid nn - lotte, nn Frantsen - fenrik, nn Kjellang, Agnar Olsen, Per Waage, Jens nn - korporal, Åge Jakobsen - korporal, Kåre nn - 15 år, Bjørn nn, Jon nn - fra Alta - korporal, nn Jensen, Hauk Floer, Andreas Bøle, Thomas nn, Anton Nilsen, Arnold Hansen, nn Jansen - løytnant, nn Andersen - radiotelegrafist, nn Workin - fra Tromsø, Åge nn,

References and sources

A great story supplied by a user:

There is a family store my grandmother told re the Nazi take over of Norway. Her cousin was a member of the Oslo Conservatory of Music. When the Germans invaded, Her cousin Marta hid all the original manuscripts of Edvard Grieg. She spent the remainder of the war in a German concentration camp. Grandmother had a crocheted doily that Marta made out of the string from the red cross parcels that came into the camp. Just a small note and not a major resistance.


"Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget.

Norway's Resistance Movement

Resistance Museum

Museum continued

History of the Jews in Norway