First engineering meeting in Free Norway

– We put all our energy into our efforts for the liberation and reconstruction of Norway and hope that the FNI will soon be able to fully resume its activities in our country.

The first minutes of the Finnmark department meeting after the war have been found in the shadows of history and donated to the reconstruction museum in Hammerfest. The handover was made a short time ago by Tekna President Lars Olav Grøvik and Tekna Finnmark Department Head Bernt Nilsen. Also present during the handover was the former head of the Finnmark department, Klaus Henriksen, who is the man who came up with the protocol.

– This memorandum clearly shows that the engineers were ready to roll up their sleeves and help get society back on its feet after the destruction of war, said Lars Olav Grøvik during the handover. The president of Tekna pointed out that the engineers had an important role to play during the reconstruction in 1945. – Incidentally, the evacuation of Finnmark is not something you have only heard of. It also directly affected my own family – my uncle, who was a fisherman on the coast of Finnmark, was also forcibly sent south, Grøvik said.

– The protocol is an interesting and important historical document, says Lodve A. Svare, who is head of department at the Museum of Reconstruction. – This shows that the engineers were the early adopters, and played an important role with their expertise in the reconstruction. The protocol is an important piece of the big puzzle that tells the dramatic story of Finnmark’s reconstruction, he stresses.

finnmark free

In 1944, Finnmark and Nord-Troms were set on fire by the German occupying power during its withdrawal, and the population was forcibly evacuated. On October 25, 1944, Kirkenes was liberated by Soviet Union forces.

May 8 is Liberation Day in Norway and the rest of Europe. But according to protocol, the first meeting of the branch of the Association of Norwegian Engineers (NIF) in Free Norway took place already on January 21, 1945. Then 11 engineers met at Snekkerbua in Bjørnevatn outside Kirkenes .

Who were the 11 engineers gathered in Bjørnevatn in January 1945? The Finnmark branch was established as early as 1925, and many members from the eastern part of the long county worked at A/S Sydvaranger, which was established in 1906.

In addition to the local engineers from A/S Syd-Varanger, three engineers “belonging to the Norwegian forces” also took part in this meeting. These were to belong to the 2nd Mountain Company of the Norwegian Brigade in England, which had arrived at Kirkenes via Murmansk a few weeks earlier.

Resume activity

The members decide during the assembly to resume the activities of the pre-war association. A new board was elected, with Bjarne Greiner of Bjørnevatn at the helm as the new chairman. According to the minutes, engineer Halvorsen then recounted the life and work of Norwegian engineers outside Norway during the occupation. Mrs. Greiner, engineer, served coffee and cakes, which were appreciated. An attempt was then made to take a photo of the assembly, but this failed, as Bjørnevatn’s only photographer “for important reasons could not obtain permission to take a photo”.

Liberation and reconstruction

The assembly decided to send the following greeting:

The Association of Norwegian Engineers in Great Britain Eleven engineers gathered for the first branch meeting for NIF in Free Norway The Association of Norwegian Engineers in Great Britain sends its greetings. We put all our energy into our efforts for the liberation and reconstruction of Norway and hope that the FNI will soon be able to fully resume its activities in our country.

This is the Renaissance Museum

Finnmark and North Troms Restoration Museum conveys the dramatic events of World War II, such as the forced evacuation, fire and reconstruction. After the peace, the Norwegian authorities tried to control the return, but people braved bans and the danger of mines to return home and begin the heavy reconstruction work.

Read the article in iFinnmark on delivery of the protocol

The association during the war

During the war, the name of the association was Den Norske Ingeniørforening (NIF).

Massive resignations of members, dismissal of the president and dismissal of the general secretary, installation of a Nazi direction and destruction of the finances of the association. The war years are a very dramatic chapter in the history of the association. Read more about it in the article:
When the Nazis took over the Association of Engineers.

Many members traveled overseas during the war. Four overseas NIF departments were formed:

The Liberation of Eastern Finnmark

learn more about the liberation of East Finnmark (Wikipedia).

Rolf Mckinney

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