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A World War II German bunker can be found on the outskirts of the Borgarsyssel Museum in Sarpsborg. This was part of a defense shield for the German-controlled "Sarpebrua" bridge, which was strategically important. Borregaard factories, which were a "war-important" industrial plant, had to be protected and guarded as well. On both sides of Sarpsborg's St. Marie gate, the defense facility included trenches, cover rooms, and bunkers. Organization Todt The bunker was built in 1942 by Norwegians forced to work in Organization Todt. This was a semi-public organization based in Germany that was founded in 1938. The goal was to construct military facilities and roads capable of supporting heavy loads like army tanks. During World War II, the organization was in charge of a number of major development projects in Germany as well as in German-occupied areas. The bunker took 6 months to build and was designed by Sjøblom in Oslo, who also built a majority of the other bunkers in the district. Roscher, a member of Organization Todt, was in charge of the work on the German side. According to sources, "normal working hours were from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, with every Sunday off." It was sometimes necessary to work two shifts during the casting process in order to avoid joints in the concrete. The standard collective wage of NOK 1.56 per hour was paid to the workers. They were paid on a weekly basis. Workers could stay in a barracks (at a cost of 60% of their salary) if the weather was particularly bad.Construction workers were given extra ration cards for food and work clothes, but they were still responsible for the rest. Despite the fact that the bunker was constructed in 1942, work on the area continued until 1945, when it was liberated. From the depths of obscurity Numerous installations across the country were destroyed or covered up after 1945, as people instinctively tried to forget everything about the war. Until 1989, the bunker at Borgarsyssel Museum was also overlooked. Einar Gundersen, the museum's operations manager at the time, decided to investigate further in the area where the bunker must have been as part of a reconstruction project. In his letter he says: «I really had no idea where the entrance had been, so I dug carefully along the edge of the concrete mantle, which was approx. one meter below the ground. The excavation revealed a kind of funnel, which went down steeply, and it soon turned out that it was the stairs down to the entrance. Eventually, shards of gunfire as well as an iron-clad door appeared, but several days of hand digging were needed before we got an overview of the construction. The excitement was great when we were finally able to open the door, which was closed but unlocked. Incredibly; the door slid nicely on the hinges after all these years! Down with extension cord and light, and many tense faces peeking in through the opening (…) There was nothing to be found in any of the rooms. However, the disappointment over the lack of content was offset by the incredibly good condition of the bunker (…) Thanks to the fact that the door was closed before the bunker was covered, the bunker was thus "canned" and thus preserved in an excellent way. That was certainly not the intention of those who dug over it! ” Both the interior metal roof and the paneled walls were in good condition. There were no signs of moisture - or rot damage to anything other than the door, which was in poor condition. Today, the Defense Museum describes the bunker at Borgarsyssel Museum as the best preserved from World War II in Norway. An exhibition about the occupation period After the bunker was excavated in 1989, Borgarsyssel Museum received the right to use it from the landowner Borregaard AS. The same year, work began on creating an exhibition in the bunker's three small rooms. The narrow, narrow corridor that you first enter is devoted to a history of the occupation period in the district. The rooms inside are furnished with the weapons and effects that would have been there if the bunker had been in use in a war situation. In the largest room is a machine gun (MG-42) on a plane aimed at Sarpebrua. There are also necessary first aid equipment and gas masks, as well as helmets and handguns. The smallest room is furnished as a communication and rest room with table, stools, radio and field telephone. On the table is, among other things, German soldier tobacco, and on the walls there are "pin-up" pictures from the time. The bunker has a "guard crew" who are dressed and equipped as German soldiers. One of the soldiers is standing in the guard room, while the other two are sitting in the break room listening to a radio broadcast. A German radio broadcast from 1942 The radio broadcast that can be played in the exhibition is an authentic broadcast from Berlin on Christmas Eve itself in 1942. In sounding German, the posts that were located throughout the occupied territories of the Third Reich are called, and greetings from the various front sections come in turn . The broadcast was intended as encouragement and recognition to the German soldiers who were not allowed to celebrate Christmas with their families. It ends with a crackling, crackling and a little melancholy version of "Merry Christmas" in German. Technically, this radio broadcast is one of the highlights of the German propaganda apparatus. In the broadcast we can hear a message from Stalingrad, «the front at the Volga». In reality, the Germans were so pressured at this time that all radio messages from there ceased the week before Christmas. The Stalingrad message was therefore a propaganda bluff, made in a studio in Berlin. Text Mona Beate Vattekar / Østfoldmuseene
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