Brennpunkt Arkivet 7

The torture

During the Second World War ARKIVET was the headquarters of Gestapo in southern Norway. In Nazi service, the building became a symbol of torture and contempt for human dignity.

311 Norwegians were exposed to systematic torture at Arkivet. The oldest was aged 67 years and the youngest was aged 16 years. The majority of the torture victims were between the ages of 20 and 45. There were several Soviet prisoners of war tortured at Arkivet as well and were later executed.

Four of the torture victims were women. Henriette Bie Lorentzen was pregnant when arrested. She was examined by a German doctor who confirmed she was 4 months pregnant before being tortured. Henriette tells how the Gestapo had put a pillow under her belly before they started beating her. She delivered the baby at Grini. The child was placed with its aunt while Henriette was sent on to the Ravensbruk women’s camp.


Normally, the use of heightened interrogation was authorized by the Commander of the German Secret Police in Stavanger. However, if there was not enough time to wait for approval, each case worker at The Archive was permitted to make the decision. Torture methods and tools were made by the Gestapo themselves. They used what they had on hand. It was, therefore, an archive rod, where the victims were bound by the arms and legs and raised up, which become one of the most used methods.

Beating instruments, whips, and handcuffs were used as well. Blows and kicks to vital organs were also widely used which led to significant physical ailments. Other prisoners have told about slower, psychological torture, where one was forced to stand for hours with one’s hands over one’s head.


Doctor Frimannslund who received prisoner Pål Eiken at Kristiansand Hospital after the latter being tortured at Arkivet.

“I treated Eiken the night before he died. He was admitted to the hospital by a German doctor with the diagnosis of asthma. However, there were no signs of this disease. Eiken suffered from kidney illness and a high degree of uremia. The patient was unconscious a couple of hours before he died. He himself informed that he was constantly exposed to abuse during the interrogations. He was made to lie on his stomach over a chair while two Germans beat him with clubs on his back and behind during the interrogations. He was also kicked by the Germans in the stomach, behind, and genitals. Eiken had obvious marks from these abuses. The skin on his behind, the lower part of his back and stomach, and the genitals were blue-black in colour, and there were some surface grazing. […]"

Pål Eiken was the only one to die directly due to the injuries he received during torture at Arkivet. However, there are several other prisoners who died later in captivity because of the abuse they received at Arkivet.


There were at least 34 Soviet prisoners transported in to Arkivet, in addition to Norwegian prisoners. They came from several of the major work camps where they worked as slave labourers. The abuse of these prisoners was the most brutal. There different reasons for why they came to Arkivet. It could be a refusal to work, or as punishment for attempting escape or stealing food.

Approximately 50 Soviet prisoners were executed by the Gestapo at Arkivet. It is uncertain as to where the execution orders for these prisoners came from and for what reason. None of the Gestapo in Kristiansand were convicted for these murders, in the end, because of the lack of evidence. However, in connection with later investigations of the murder of the Soviet prisoners of war in the fall of 1945, the Gestapo themselves were made to participate in the exhumation of the bodies.