11 April 2011


So we have our old friend Graham over at the moment and since the weather was nice on Sunday we headed out to Glesvær for a walk and coffee and cake at the cafe. Glesvær is a pretty little fishing village on the south of Sotra that has a real summer feel to it. It was a favorite spot for sea kayaking and now its works for pram pushing.

On the way back I spotted a sign to Telavåg, which was a place I always wanted to visit, so not being in a rush to get back we followed it. Six km down the road we came to a very pretty village, nestled in a rocky bay. Perched up on a cliff above the village is an excellent museum that tells the story of the tragedy that unfolded almost 70 years ago.

In 1941, following the Nazi invasion of Norway the villages on the west coast of Sotra became centres for smuggling arms and people to and from the Shetland Isles. The service was so busy it became called the Shetland bus.  Back before the Sotra bridge put Telavåg an easy 30 minute drive from Bergen city centre, the area was very remote and isolated. Ideal for illicit partisan activites.

But there are snakes and cowards everywhere and soon the German's had learned of the activites, so they sent a troop, including two senior Gestapo officers to the village to arrest two resistance fighters staying in the postmasters house. They arrived early in the morning and caught the partisans in bed. In the ensuing gunfight the Gestapo officers and one of the freedom fighters were killed. The Germans were enraged and extracted a harsh revenge.

They first rounded up all the men and destroyed the houses of the postmaster and several other key people. The men were all shipped off and ended up in a concentration camp in east Germany, only 41 survived the war. Then they returned, rounded up the women, children and old people before levelling the village. Every house, boat house and barn were destroyed. They sunk the once proud fishing fleet. The survivours were then shipped off to Bergen and later spread around Norway. This was the worst attrocity against civillians in Norway during the war and served to galvanise resistance elsewhere.

After the war, rebuilding the village became a matter of national pride and within four years all of the buildings were replaced. Now its hard to differentiate this pretty village with its colourful wooden houses from any of the others along the coast.

The museum is well worth a visit and has an excellent film that tells the story.

And now

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