DECEMBER 5, 2018

Work sometimes gets in the way of writing. So does trying to obtain information without getting replies. So does procrastination.

I have continued to write on yellow legal pads, although it has been sporadic. I guess part of me wanted more concrete information before really continuing with writing - at least that is what I tell myself. My latest column for the Norwegian American newspaper (see: https://www.norwegianamerican.com/heritage/the-search-for-thor-7/) outlines many, if not all, of the sources I have consulted over the last 2 years. I am sure I have missed something.

I have applied for another grant from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and will be applying for NEA Creative Writing grant as well. Hopefully this might give me the opportunity to travel back to Norway to do actual “creative writing” instead of focusing only on research.

Photos below: Norges Bank (building Thor worked in); View of Drammen; Cafe in Oslo; Book: Norges Bank during the Occupation

JULY 29, 2018

BACK IN NORWAY

I was very lucky to secure funding to be able to come back to Norway for another week of research (and visiting family in Drammen first). Tomorrow I will head to Oslo to conduct research at the National Library, the National Archives, Norges Bank and the Resistance Museum (not all in one day).  I rented a nice Airbnb in the posh embassy area of Oslo (I didn't realize this at the time) and hopefully the weather will have cooled down a bit. Norway and Europe in general has been in the grips of a heat wave - they haven't had rain in Norway since May and everything is very dry - my cousin's lake at the tourist cabin she manages has gone down 50 centimeters. 

Old Norges Bank (in doorway of the modern Sparebanken building)

Old Norges Bank (in doorway of the modern Sparebanken building)

Also, last night walking back to the hotel from Anchas Bodega, I found this doorway: 

 

View of the fountain in the public square at the train station, from Baker Hansen Cafe, Drammen

View of the fountain in the public square at the train station, from Baker Hansen Cafe, Drammen

Since I have hit several snags along the way in terms of my research, this trip I have several goals. 

  1. Visit Norges Bank and find out who manages the archives (they might all be on vacation)
  2. Go through records I have requested to see at the National Archives - I couldn't see any of the files online as I need to be in the country to access them
  3. Revisit the Resistance Museum to see if I missed any details about the Norwegian resistance movement during WWII
  4. Conduct research at the library  - not sure what I will find here but perhaps I will get lucky

July 18 - Ithaca, New York

It has now been almost 2 weeks since I returned to the US from my research trip to Norway. I had to spend most of last week sorting through receipts in order to complete my expense reports.

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I have also spent time trying to figure out the last piece of the mystery but the intrigue just seems to deepen. Currently this is where the "investigation" is:

  • Hammerfest Police - NO war records (confirmed by the police department themselves as well as the archives in Tromsø) 
  • Hammerfest Hospital (Finnmark Sykehus) - First email to them indicated no information but now waiting for an email from the actual archivist there (I also do realize this hospital wasn't extent after the war)
  • Hammerfest Parish Church - Here is the email response from the vicar;

The register for the parish of Hammerfest shows that “Thor Jensen, banfullmektig, ugift” (“Thor Jensen, bank representative, not married) born in Oslo 13th of march 1904 died 6th of October 1941 and were buried 20th of October 1941.

It is not written any cause in the column “Cause of death” in this record. The death is reported to the court 13th of February 1942. The field for “remarks” says “Domprosten, Tr.heim” (The Dean of Trondheim cathedral), my guess is that this refers to a notification from the Deans office in Trondheim about the death or a cremation/sermon that was held in Trondheim.

This is as much information that I was able to find in our records.

  • Hammerfest Historielag (History Team) - Waiting for a reply about possible other avenues to find information on Thor's cause of death. Also, there is a possibility I discovered the relatives of the woman Thor was engaged to before his death, Ruth Haagensen (Hågensen). This information was sent to my contact at the Reconstruction Museum in Hammerfest who has been trying to help me. The information is from a book called the "Tverrelvdalen Relatives". I am trying to track down anyone who might be related to Ruth (not sure if this is the right person even but her name and birth/death dates are realistic).

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