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
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.