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Scandinavian American. [volume] (Seattle, Wash.) 1945-1958, September 01, 1945, Image 12

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They Lit the Fuse at Rjukan
Details of the sabotage action
which Nazi General Von Falken
horst once described as the most
skillful ever executed in all of
Europe. have now been revealed.
In February of 1943 a vital portion
of the "heavy water" apparatus
at the vast Rjukan electrolytic
works was completely destroyed.
The report given at that time
described the saboteurs as three
Norwegian-speaking men in Britt
ish uniforms, and continued to
state that "the damage was not
extensive except at the spot where
the attempt was made, and there
the devastation was complete."
Not until some Weeks had passed
did laymen realize the true signif
icance of this particular act of
"pinpoint sabotage." The Ger
mans. thinking that the saboteurs
were still in the vicinity, sent
three trainloads of troops to comb
the Hardanger Vidda. a high pla
teau in south central Norway.
This miniature army was led by
no less r1 personage than Joseph
Terboven. German Reichskommis
sar for Norway. The whole area
was isolated. a partial curfew was
established at Rjukan. and over
90 of the plant‘s employees were
arrested. It was immediately ap—
parent that “heavy water." hith
erto something of a chemical cu
riosity. was of vital importance to
the German war effort. Even to
day the military importance of
this product is shrouded in secrecy.
Norwegians Trained in Britain
Only now have the “three Nor
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wegian-speaking men in British
uniforms” been identified, and
their account of the prize sabotage
act of the war is no less thrilling
than the prelude. They turned out
to be nine men in all. who, togeth
er with their leader. a tall, dark
Norwegian lad from the western
provinces. preferred to remain
“After thorough instructions in
England." he related, “we climbed
aboard a plane for Norway. Ac
cording to plan we were to be
dropped at a prearranged spot
where some of the Home Forces
boys would be on hand to receive
us. In the meantime we found it
impossible to contact them and
were slipped out some distance off
our course. a good 50 miles from
Rjukan. in fact. We had no soon
er hit the ground than we found
ourselves lost in a blinding snow
storm which forCed us to keep un
der cover for well over a week.
As soon as it was over we moved
on. and after a day‘s march we
contacted the boys from the Home
Forces. All of us then set a course
[or Rjukan.
Silent Sabowgo,
1 "We had been studying a floor
iplan of the plant for weeks. and
lthe plan of action was already
idraWn up in every detail. Even
Ethough none of us had ever been
fin the area about the plant, let
{alone within the plant itself, we
I knew more about that section than
iw‘" did about the insides of our
town homes. That gives you some
lidea of the thorough instruction
lwe'd been givenf
L “This was to be a quiet opera
utionwwhat we call ‘silent sabo
itage.‘ By that, 1 mean there was
ito be no clubbing down guards
‘before we set our charges; we
‘jwere to avoid them if humanly
1possible. The big difficulty was
that we were to be completely out
‘of the territory before ‘he alarm
fwas spread. This wasn‘t going to
[be easy. We decided to move in
‘Ion the plant from the side where
‘we'd be least expected.
“We crossed Rjukan valley and
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Norway's labor
Forces Unite
For the first time since 1917 all
labor groups in Norway are now
united in a single party. The Nor
wegian Labor Party. Norway's
largest. and the Norwegian Com
munist Party announced their po
litical and organizational union on
July 24. The final amalgamation
of the two parties stems back to
the days when Labor and Com
munist Party leaders met, as fel
low prisoners. in Nazi Concentra
tion camps and agreed on a post
war union of the two parties. Ne
gotiations. which were initiated by
the Norwegian Trade Union Con
gress on June 8 have now been
concluded in full agreement. De
spite various differences between
factions within both groups. the
determination of the negotiators
won through to an agreement
which is hailed as a milestone in
Norway‘s labor history. Respon
sible for this amalgamation are
Konrad Nordahl, Labor congress
came down on the plant along a
ridge which was thought to be in
accessible. You know how the
plant lies—on the floor of a deep
valley with walls as steep as
church steeples. Well. we moved
in and then split up into two
groups. The ‘cover party.’ made
up of four men. surrounded the
German guard station while the
'action party,’ which Included five
men, continued to the plant and
went to work. ‘
“All the doors were locked, but
we got into the plant through a
tunnel which we know of. We
strung our wires quietly and
placed our charge where it would
do the most damage. The charge
itself wasn't large, but it was
heavy enough to wreck the vital
fixture. The fuse, too. was short;
so short. in fact. that we had to
move fast once it was lit. The
reason W’: used such a short fuse
was to make sure an action as
important as this one would be
successful. even though the dan
ger to us would be greater.
Though we knew that we‘d be in
the vicinity when the charge ex
ploded, we were hardly out of the
plant, befote we heard it go off.
“Luck was on our side. It seems
that during the winter some of
the land mines planted along the
pipe lines near the main buildings
had been in the habit of exploding
unexpectedly. When the Germans
heard. the report thevaeren‘t im
mediately certain just what had
happened. The ‘cover party“ saw
one of the Germans come out of
the guard station door- after the
explosion. All of the boys lay
there with their fingers on the
trigger. Fortunateiy for u:. he
turned around and walked bark
in againmevidently thinking it
was just another laml mme. Our
whole party slippmi away with no
further complications.
RPm-ho-d Sweden In l'nflmwvar
"We [allowed the mountains
and traveled by day. knowzng that
if we didn't get our rcst each
night, We'd never make it. But
there were some valleys which we
had to cruss by night for safety's
sake: Dalforene, Hallingdal, Val
dres. Gudbrandsdalen and Outer
dalen were passed without any in
Knowing that the ice on Lake
Mjosa had already thawed. the
party made a long detour to the
north. and at the same time avoid
ed large concentrations of Ger
mans in this area. The river
Glomma was crossed in a “bor
rowed" boat and. aside from two'
Norwegians which the party met
on a forest trail, not a single per
son was encountered.
"Al the Swedish border," con-g
r-luded the leader. “we slipped off‘
our uniforms and skiied into Swe-,
den in mn- underwear. wind pants:
and jackets: for all intents and'
purpOSes, a party of regular Nor-‘
wegian refuge“. A few days rest;
after the 500-mlle ski tour. and,
we Were ready to board a plane»
for England. mlulon completed"!
chairman and Gunnar Braathen,
secretary of the same group; Nor
wegian Labor 'Party representa
tives Prime Minister Einar Ger
hardsen, Trygve Bratteli and Mar
tin Tranmael; and Communist
P a r t y representatives Minister
Strand Johansen, Samuel Title
stad, and Roald Halvorsen.
Full Trade Union Support
The new organization. knowu as
“The Norwegian Labor Party,"
will be led by a common council
pending the first meeting of the
unified labor groups scheduled for
September 2. Both the old Labor
Party and the Norwegian Com
munist Party have ceased to exist
as separate entities. The new
amalgamation will present a com
mon list of parliamentary candi
dates for the October 8th election
with the full support of the whole
trade union organization.
The labor program, to which
both parties subscribed on June
27, is headed by the following
statement: “The Norwegian Labor
Party springs from the soil of
democracy. The management of
the nation's affairs will be founded
on popular sovereignty as it was
established in the constitution and
as it has developed through pop
ular government The Party's im
mediate goal is to protect our
democracy and to develop it into
a true popular government."
The leftist press in 0510 was
unanimous in expressing its pleas
ure over the merger. “Arbeider
bladet." the Labor Party organ.
devoted a lead to a review of the
negotiations preceding the union
and an evaluation of the difficul
ties overcome. “The announce
ment of the two party union."
stated “Arbeiderbladet.” "was a
source of pleasure and satisfaction
to the whole working class». Unit
ed, we can now meet both as fel
low laborers and as members of
the same political party. The com
ing election," predicts “Arbeider
bladet," “will represent a victory
for the whole of Norwegian labor.
Though many unsolved problems
and great difficulties may lie
ahead. goodwill will guarantee the
removal~ of all friction "
0f the conservative .press, only
“Aftenposten” commented on the
merger. It ventured a question as
to the people's willingness tn ao—
cept the stronger state which
could well emerge following the
autumn elections.
Of the American press represen
tatives in Oslo, M. Lorimer Moe,
of the “Christian Science Moni‘
tor," has this to say of the mer
ger: . . . "This does not mean that
Labor has made great concessions
to the Communists in the recent
deal. The fact is that the Norwe
gian Communist Party gained
great sympathy among all groups
of the people during the war be
cause of its staunch activist stand.
It is also true now. as in the pre
war days, that the Norwegians
have no fear of Communism in
itself. As long as the party thinks
Norwegian first and last and is
primarily concerned with the wel
fare of the Norwegian people. the
A Wartime Survex
Edited with the assistance of the Swedish Public .\uthoriflea
This book is especially edited for the Ameriun public'and the
Swedish population in America. It is an excellent source of in
form'ation and guidance of the conditions at present day Sweden.
The book is written in popular style, but the attempt to make
it easy to read has not precluded the incorporation of a great deal
01' exact information that will help the reader to form a true
and clear conception of Sweden in wartime. The book is divided
in twenty-seven different chapters. each chapter is written by
experts in their respective fields. .
The King
The- Political System
Th" liefemu- nl’ .\‘vulmllty
The Hump Guard -
Suvial \Velfan- \Vurk l‘ul' Soldiers
The Home Frunl
i'hyuicul TruininK
Th9 Wnrtimo~ Hcmmmiv
Tim l-‘cmd Supply
The: Flu-l l'rnblc-m
Tlu- Mnnufm-lun- ul' Sui-sunning
Prnfuwly Illustrated. Bound, 52.00
885 lmxlngton A venue
long-Time Doctor
0f Astoria Dies
Dr. Toivo Johhannes Forsstrom,
who came to Adtoria. 40 years ago
from, Finland and became one of
the Northwest's best known phy
sicians, died at his homq August
Dr. Forsstrom was born in Fin
land July 30, 1867, and came here
in June. 1906. from Bjorneborg',
Finland, where he had been city
health officer for several years.
He was a member of the Clatsop
County Medical society, the Ore
gon State Medical association. and
the American College of Surgeons.
He was educated in the public
schools of Finland. the University
of Helsingfors and did postgradu
ate study in the medical schools
in Berlin and Vienna. He was a
member of the Masonic lodge. He
had been in ill health for some
time and retired from active prac
tice last May.
Surviving are his wife. Nelma
Northe Forsstrom. whom he mar
ried here in 1933; a step-daughter.
Mrs. Robert Friedrich: a step-son.
Melvin Nnrthe, and a grandson.
Wartime Gap In. Pacific}
Transport Filled By
Swedish Vesflsels
STOCKHOLM. Aug. 30 {By air
mail).~~ For more than a year aft
er Pearl Harbor, practically the
only ships running between the
United States and Australia were
five vessels of the Swedish Trans.
atlantic Line. the Goonawarra.
Kanangora, Kookaburra. Mirra
booka, and Parakoola. Apprecia
tion of the services ré'ndered Aus
tralia by the "five big Swedes"
has been epressed by Herbert
Evatt. Australian Foreign Minis—
ter. according to a report appear
ing‘ in a chdish shipping jour
The first freighter to reach Aus
tralia after Pearl Harbor was the
Goonawarra, and la rge crowds
turned out to greet her when she
arrived at Sidney with vital cargo
~airplanes on deck. and trucks,
machine tools. wood pulp, sheet
metal. and agricultural machinery,
etc. in her holds. Thirty planes
were carried from San Francisco
on one occasion by a Swedish
ship. the bridge of which had to
be raised considerably in order to
allow a free View over the crowded
deck. After the vessel had ar
rived safely at her Australian dos.
tination. exports immediately went
on board to study the Swedes'
loading technique.
An invitatltm to 1.000 Allied
soldlers nnw stationed in Norwav
and Denmark to visit Sweden has
been etxended by the General
Staff. the Trade Union Federation.
and RESO. travel organization of
the Swedish people's movrments.
Norwegians are not particular
about what title the party bears."
.\‘hlpplnx and Transpurmllon
The- Labor Market
'l‘lu- Trade Unions
'l‘ln- Swedish Churvh
Tlu- l'rosn
"Mun Broaden-Hug
Hno Arm
Tlu- 'l‘hvutl'c
and many other Lute-mung
subjerln. ‘
New York 22. N. Y.

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