Norway mourns hero who sabotaged Nazis' nuclear project
Norway Norway mourns hero who sabotaged Nazis' nuclear project
Joachim RÃ¸nneberg, who has died aged 99, led team that blew up heavy water factory
Norway is mourning the saboteur Joachim RÃ¸nneberg, who led a five-man team that daringly blew up a factory producing heavy water, depriving Nazi Germany of a key ingredient it could have used to make nuclear weapons.
The prime minister, Erna Solberg, s aid RÃ¸nneberg, who died on Sunday at 99, was âone of our finest resistance fightersâ whose âcourage contributed to what has been referred to as the most successful sabotage campaignâ in Norway.
RÃ¸nneberg, then 23, was recruited by the Special Operations Executive, or SOE â" Britainâs wartime intelligence gathering and sabotage unit â" to destroy parts of the heavily guarded plant in Telemark, southern Norway, in a raid in February 1943.
In a 2014 Norwegian documentary coinciding with his 95th birthday, RÃ¸nneberg said the daring operation went âlike a dreamâ â" a reference to the fact that not a single shot was fired. Parachuting on to snow-covered mountains, the group was joined by a handful of other commandos before skiing to their destination. They then penetrated the factory to blow up its production line.Danny Boyle accepts mission for TV series about sabotage of Nazi nuclear weapons Read more
RÃ¸nneberg said he made a las t-minute decision to cut the length of his fuse from several minutes to seconds, ensuring that the explosion would take place but making it more difficult to escape. The group skied hundreds of miles across the mountains to escape and RÃ¸nneberg, wearing a British uniform, ended up in neutral Sweden.
Operation Gunnerside has been recounted in books, documentaries, films and TV series, including The Heroes of Telemark (1965), starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris.
âWe must not forget what he stood for and has passed on to us,â said Eva Vinje Aurdal, the mayor of his hometown of Ã lesund, 235 miles northwest of the capital, Oslo.
The town ordered flags to fly at half mast on Monday and flowers were laid at the foot of a sculpture of RÃ¸nneberg, showing him in a uniform, walking up a rocky path. Inaugurated in 2014 by RÃ¸nneberg, the granite monument carries the names of all the men who took part in the second world war raid.Topics
- Second world war
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