Human Dignity

The Action Committee for Arkivet was formally established in Kristiansand on the 9th of January 1998, as a spontaneous reaction to the notice from Statsbygg (the Directorate of Public Construction and Property) in December 1997, which stated that the property be proclaimed for sale.

Both war veterans and socially aware citizens strongly reacted towards the planned sales of the building. They were provoked by the lack of history awareness that was shown with regard to the Nazi tyranny and the many survivors whose wounds had not been healed and who still had bitter memories from the violence and torture they suffered when Arkivet was a Gestapo headquarters.

Ms Aud Blattmann, a Parliamentarian from the Labour Party in Vest-Agder, raised the question of preservation in Parliament on the 17th of December 1997. Fortunately, the Ministry of Labour and Administration put a stop to the planned sales in anticipation of a local initiative to preserve and make use of the building. The Action Committee for Arkivet was quick to present an initial plan to the Ministry following the meeting on the 9th of January 1998.

Among the buildings occupied by Gestapo, Arkivet is the only one in the country which has not been completely transformed. It has hence been possible to restore sections of it to look like they did during the occupation. Today, these sections are used as part of Arkivet's current work within the fields of peace and conflict resolution.

Mr Osmund Faremo was an active member of the Norwegian Resistance and one of those who were imprisoned at Arkivet. Despite the cruelest torture, he refused to tell the Nazis anything. The Gestapo administration in Kristiansand consequently sent him to the prison camp Grini in Oslo. After a few months he was transferred to the concentration camp Natzweiler in France and later to Mauthausen in Austria. After years in various concentration camps, Mr Faremo was barely alive when the Allied forces won the war. In March 1945, weighing 40 kilos, he was saved in Mauthausen by the Swedish Red Cross.

Mr Faremo urges that we all hold responsibility for our common future. He believes that "the 'Voices from Arkivet' can - and should - become an important component in the education of civilised behaviour towards our fellow human beings."