|Norwegian World War II hero to speak Oct. 19|
Gunnar Sønsteby, World War II hero, leader of the Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation, author, and former body guard to the King of Norway, will give a public talk about his experiences at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, in the Lecture Bowl, Memorial Union. He will be joined by Ivar Kraglund, assistant director of Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum and Anne Myklebust, Cultural Affairs Officer for the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Sønsteby is a guest speaker on the invite of Gregory S. Gordon, professor of law. Professor Gordon is heading up the newly established UND Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies (CHRGS). One of their first projects is to digitize and make available the records of the Nuremberg Trials relating to Norway. The Chester Fritz Library is working with the CHRGS on this project to make the records more widely known. UND Nordic Initiative is pleased to support this visit and lecture of one of Norway's most distinguished citizens.
Nordic Initiative will have a meeting at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 20, with Ivar Kraglund and Anne Mykebust at the Ina Mae Rude Entrepreneur Center. Please mark your calendars for the talk and the meeting.
Gunnar Sønsteby is a national hero of the Norwegian Resistance movement. Sønsteby was born in Rjukan in 1918 and was a 22-year-old student when the Germans invaded Norway in April 1940. After the invasion, he left school and joined the resistance where he became famous as a master of disguise because of his use of nearly 40 fictitious identities. As a member of the resistance, he worked for an underground newspaper (Vi vil oss et land - We want a country of our own), served as a courier between Oslo and Stockholm, and became the British Special Operations Executive resident in Oslo. He is credited with many courageous acts. He quickly established a network of safe houses and contacts with most of the resistancecircles. Sønsteby operated under steadily changing cover names and made his own identity cards, passports, police badges, official letters, driving permits, attestations of residence in the border area, etc. Late in 1942, he masterminded the smuggling - from the Bank of Norway, to Stockholm and on to the Government in London - of the dies for new printing of banknotes. Sønsteby is credited with making a significant contribution to weakening the enemy and setting the preconditions for the liberation of Norway. Sønsteby was also called No. 24 and Kjakan (the chin). The Nazis were never able to catch him. His book Rapport fra Nr. 24 (Report from No. 24) has been published in several editions, also in English and served as the basis for a documentary series on TV. Sønsteby is the most highly decorated citizen of Norway in history, being the only Norwegian awarded the War Cross with Three Swords. On May 13, 2007, a statue of him was erected on Solli Plass in Oslo. The statue was sculpted by Per Ung and portrays a 25-year-old Sønsteby standing next to his bicycle. The statue was unveiled by King Harald V of Norway.