The violence at the State Archive of Kristiansand constitutes some of Southern Norway's darkest chapters in terms of occupation history.
Gestapo (the German Secret Police) took over the State Archive in January 1942 and turned it into a regional headquarters. The take over was led by Hauptstumführer and Criminal Commissioner Rudolf Kerner, the head of the German Secret Police in Kristiansand.During the war years more than 3500 people from the region were imprisoned in the building for more than four days. Many of them became victims of Gestapo's method of interrogation, which consisted of torture and torment. More than 400 people were brutally tortured regularly in the building's basement. 162 persons were executed or died in concentration camps. These people are today honoured by name on a stone monument by the entrance to the building.
Arkivet's reputation as the "House of Horror" and the "Stronghold of Torture" reached far beyond Norway's borders. The prisoners at Grini, the Gestapo prison camp in Oslo, referred to Arkivet as the country's most notorious place for physical and psychological violence and torture. Among the Gestapo headquarters established in Norway, Arkivet is the only one that has been conserved. Its appearance today is almost authentic to the way it looked during the war years.