Scorched earth tactics: Kjøllefjord on November 4th, 1944

During our visit to the Nordkinn Peninsula we often ask about the how and why and come across a description of one of the darkest days in the enchanting fishing village of Kjøllefjord < / p>

In Kjøllefjord on November 4th, 1944, people look in amazement at the Kjøllefjorden. Numerous German warships are at anchor. Something like that is not common in this small, remote place. What happened? What will happen. The people here are still ignorant of the scorched earth tactics. But that is about to change.

The day on November 4th, 1944 started well. Everything is peaceful and will soon go on as usual. You think so. The sky is bright blue and the weather is calm. But people are restless. The many warships in the harbor and hardly anyone who can say anything about them.

Just the sign on the shop door with the request that the residents of Kjøllefjord should come to the school. Then the incredible news. Everyone has to be on one of the ships, a maximum of three kilograms of luggage per person is allowed. In the evening every house in Kjøllefjord would be set on fire.

Some bury their most important mementos in the mountains. Others flee to the mountains and hide there. But the idea of ​​Christmas soon and no house, no more existence, that’s terrible,

The adults have to stand at the railing, it’s around 10:00 in the evening. The children should go inside the ship. First you see how the first three houses burn. Shortly afterwards every house was on fire. And even the old Kjøllingfjord church. No pier, no boat, no telephone line would still exist here.

In shock and forced, the people travel to what the German occupiers call “new Norway”.

There is a small plate of vegetable soup on the ship, nothing more. The first stop is Tromsø. The people are housed in the cathedral. A few hundred people, desperate, confused, or completely haphazard. A child is born and right next door two people in this uncertainty promise to belong together forever. They are getting married.

The journey continues south, to Mosjøn. People are hungry, sick from the cold and they are losing their strength. There is always this watery vegetable soup in small containers. Not more. From Melhus at the gates of Trondheim, the train continues. They are completely overcrowded, people are crouching on the floor. We continue towards Elverum, the last stage with the truck.

It will be Christmas soon. Delicious how the occupiers feed themselves. But for them, the starved and weakened people – thin vegetable soup. Christmas 1944: canceled. Christmas 1944: Kjøllefjord no longer exists. Four houses are said to have remained standing. Finnmark no longer exists. All infrastructure has been meticulously destroyed. All the reindeer driven away. There is nothing that could be of use to the Allies or the Russians.

Scorched Earth tactics – order carried out.

As soon as the war is over, most people will be drawn back again, also to Kjøllefjord. They ignore the government’s ban, because the German Wehrmacht mined Finnmark when they withdrew.

They immediately start building, collecting driftwood as building material and trying to find something useful in the ruins. They get new boats and go out fishing. Amazingly quickly, in December 1945, many people can celebrate Christmas again in makeshift shelters in Berlevåg.

It will be until 1951, then they will have a church again in Kjøllefjord. In Denmark, money was collected for this and craftsmen were sent to build the new church.

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