Skip to comments.Birger Stromsheim, Hero on Skis in an Anti-Nazi Raid, Dies at 101
Posted on 12/11/2012 8:16:05 PM PST by nickcarraway
There was no Google Earth, no Gore-Tex and only a modest measure of hope on the February night in 1943 when six Norwegians parachuted into the remote and frigid Telemark region of their home country for an outdoor challenge like few others.
They had skis and explosives and a destination: the German-controlled Norsk Hydro facility, high on an isolated and snowy ridge. The Norwegians intended to destroy equipment inside that the Germans were using to produce what is known as heavy water, a crucial ingredient in making a nuclear weapon and one they feared the Nazis would use to build an atomic bomb. One of the demolitions experts on the team, Birger Stromsheim, died Nov. 10 in Oslo at 101.
It was not the first attempt to destroy the heavy water equipment. Just a few months earlier another group of four Norwegians became stranded in the area after British soldiers for whom they were doing advance work were captured, tortured and eventually killed. That first group hunkered down for the winter in an abandoned cabin, built a makeshift radio from a car battery and stolen fishing rods and began planning their own rescue and another assault on Norsk Hydro. They ate lichen that they scraped from rocks, killed an occasional reindeer for meat and vigilantly avoided detection by the occupying Germans.
The second effort would not fail. After parachuting to a plateau, the second group, some of whom grew up in the area, skied in subzero temperatures for several days before uniting with the four stranded soldiers. The combined group then made its way to the opposite side of a steep gorge from the Norsk Hydro facility. With the only bridge across guarded by Nazis, they descended to the bottom and climbed to the top on the other side.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I wonder if the NYT sees any irony in a hero who took extraordinary steps to stop the creation of WMD by a nation ruled by a madman. Nowadays, the NYT seems to support third world nuclear devices -- and the Times knows exactly where they should be dropped.
The greatest generation in more than just America. It never ceases to amaze me that the greatest generation could procreate the idiots that dominated the 60’s.
Nice read and thanks for the link.
Thank you for posting
I visited the plant/museum when I was on a business trip there in 1988 of all places. My customer was in Rjukan and he took us on a tour of the place. He was very proud of their exploits in preventing Hitler from further developing the atomic bomb.
Thanks for the post. I saw this on TV a while back. It reminded me of Major Alakuppi (sp?) who was S-4 at Camp Kaiser in Korea in 1961. I heard he was in the underground ski patrol versus Germany. Anyone know?