Falstad Prison Camp

The site today known as the Falstad Memorial and Human Rights Museum is representative for successive internment and penal histories on the site. Set up as an educational facility for unintegrated youth in the 1920s, during the Nazi occupation of Norway of the Second World War the facility gradually became a concentration camp for opponents of the new Nazi and for political prisoners from Nazi-occupied territories.  The facility functioned as labour camp, internment and transit camp for more than 4200 individuals of 15 nationalities, most of them originally from the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Norway (local political prisoners made up the most numerous population of the camp), among them also members of the Jewish community. The internees worked for the defense and fortification system, Festung Norwegen, built in occupied Norway and for the infrastructure works needed in the North (also through Organization Todt). After 1945, Falstad was turned into a detention and forced labour camp for collaborators, who were thus both penalized for their complicity and encouraged to contribute to the post-war rebuilding process. The economy of post-war Falstad included craft production, chopping wood, cleaning, office work, kitchen duties, construction work and carpentry. The memorial was gradually set up starting from the 1980s thanks to the initial efforts of former prisoners association (in particular from Yugoslavia).