Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kristiansand. Stiftelsen Arkivet. Gestapo WWII. Arne Laudal.

Archive Foundation. The Stiftelsen Arkivet.
Arne Laudal, Norwegian Army Major, executed by the Gestapo.

The Stiftelsen Arkivet building but was Gestapo Headquarters in WWII, 1942-45.  There, down broad stairs, in the basement, were cells and torture rooms. The incarceration display now appears dated, with mannekins and settings decades old.  But the aura of fear, pain in extreme interrogation, brutality remain. Target populations included the Norwegian Resistance. The Arkivet, once a straightforward civil state archive function, became a torture center, and now houses a foundation promoting human rights.

The structure is bland. The workings inside? An expert could compare international torture standard techniques used here with those at Abu Ghraib: ask Mr. Cheeeney about extreme interrogations.  Is torture only torture when it produces blood?

1.  Arne Laudal.  At the right side of the staircase at the entry, is a commemorative bust of Major Arne Laudal, Norwegian Army hero. He organized the Norwegian Resistance in this area, was arrested in 1942, interrogated repeatedly, sentenced to die, and was finally shot in 1945.  He was subjected to torture in this building, held in its cells in the basement, see; and its English translation

2. Photo history.  Coming down those outside stairs:  The Gestapo.

Gestapo descending staircase, The Arkivet, Kristiansand NO

3.  Arne Laudal:  His story is laid out at  He was subjected to "strict interrogation," beatings with a hard rubber baton while forced in a position over the back of a chair, as an example.

Arne Laudal, Arkivet, Kristiansand NO. Norwegian Army Major, and an organizer of the Norwegian Resistance,WWII
4. Background. The original Arkivet dates from 1935, built for ordinary civil archive work, the Norwegian National Archives. It was used by the Germans for antiaircraft activities, returned to civil use briefly, and in 1942 became Nazi headquarters.

5. Current uses.  Amnesty International and other groups promoting human dignity are active in this building. Today, the archive function has been completely moved elsewhere. A humanitarian foundation has turned the building, and a fine extension, as a center for documentation and education, and to provide a locus for organizations dedicated to the preservation of human rights and dignity. See

This photograph of the old Arkivet is from the documentary film shown.

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