The Labour-Duty  


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The Labour-Duty

During The War, there was, of course no ordinary military duty. Instead we got ”The Labour-Duty” established in 1940. Early on this duty could consist of everything from helping farmers harvest, draining wetlands, cutting timber and such task. In the beginning it was an voluntarily service.

But in 1941 people got drafted into this service. This labour service became too tempting for the NS (the Norwegian Naziparty) to pass bye, and slowly this Labour-Service was infiltrated by the Nazis. Many youths were recruited, some also from Lofoten. They were sent to build barracks used by the Yugoslavian and Russian POWs working on the extension of the railroad towards Kirkenes. This Labour-Services even had some extraordinary competitions like digging a ditch as fast as possible, and such.

They also marched with the shovels like a rifle on their shoulders. The service became very unpopular among the population and the Norwegian Resistance. The officers had to do the Nazi salute with the right arm out stretched. In 1944-45 the Resistance blew up several enlisting offices with archives, holecard-machines to prevent further enlisting. The Nazis answered this, by refusing whoever didn’t meet for Labour-duty (AT), their rationcards. “Wer nicht arbeitet, soll auch nicht essen”. And on top of this, there was an overhanging threat of beeing arrested by the Gestapo.

The Norwegian resistance led by Gunnar Sønsteby answered this with an incredible operation. They attacked the heart of the ration-card system, and ran away with 75 000 ration-cards. They had to use a truck to get it all removed… With so many ration-cards lost, the whole rationing system would brake down.

The Resistance then called the Nazi Minister of supplies, Mr.Wist, offering all the ration-cards to bee returned, if the Nazis distributed these cards without asking for Labour-Detail membership, something that the Norwegian Nazi’s grumpily had to agree. The result of this incredible manoeuvre, solved the dangerous possibility to draft Norwegians into the German Army through the AT.


Emblem from AT

Spade AT

Cap for Officer AT

German Labour-Services
O fficer

Cap for soldier AT
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