Telavåg


About 25 kilometers southwest of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast is a small fishing village called Telavåg. During the first half of the Second World War, the village was a hub for agents arriving by boat from Britain to Norway. From Telava they were later sent to their destinations/quests in Norway. Transport also went in the opposite direction for people wishing to flee to the UK. Most of the time, the transport went to the Shetland Islands and from there to the British mainland. But it was also a risky business for those involved, which would turn out one day in April 1942. Two agents had arrived by boat and were kept hidden in a house in Telavåg. The Germans had learned about this through an informant and on April 26 sent about 60 men to Telavåg to arrest the agents. When the agents were confronted, a gun battle was erupted, where two officers from the Gestapo were killed along with one of the agents. During the attack, a large number of weapons were also found.

The German commissar Josef Terboven could not let this go unnoticed and therefore decided to set an example. On April 30, all the inhabitants of Telavåg were arrested, all the buildings were burned down, the boats in the harbor were destroyed/submerged and all the cattle were slaughtered. All men between the ages of 16 and 60 who were not murdered were sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. Of these, 31 were killed. Women and children were sent to Fremne’s school outside Norheimsund about fifty kilometres east of Bergen where they were imprisoned for about two years before they were released. The Germans also had information signs in nearby villages that it was strictly forbidden to settle in Telavåg and that this would be punished with death. No other village in Norway was hit as hard during the war as Telavåg. On the day of the massacre, the two Gestapo officers were honored with state burial in Bergen.

Current status: Museum (2019).

Address: Årvikadalen 20, 5380 Telavåg.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

What happened to Telavåg was exactly the same as happened to Lidice in Czech Republic, Oradour in France, Khatyn in Belarus or Kragujevac in Serbia, but is not as well known. The basis of the massacres at these sites was exactly the same as in Tela, but perhaps it is its seclusion on the Norwegian west coast that has made it unable to find its way to people’s consciousness. After the war, the Tela was rebuilt. At the museum, which is also about the transport of agents and others during the Second World War, there is an interesting exhibition and, above all, an interesting film about the massacre.

Follow up in books: Mackenzie, W.J.M.: The Secret History of SOE: The Special Operations Executive 1940 – 1945 (2002).