At the beginning of WW II the Scandinavian countries hoped that they could remain neutral during the whole conflict just like during WW I. However, Denmark and Norway were of great strategic importance, so both countries were occupied by the Germans during two months spring 1940.
The Germans had planned to give Norway a special role in the building of the New Europe. As „Festung Norwegen“ Norway was supposed to protect the German Reich against blockade from the sea and on the other hand serve as point of departure for the German fleet and airplanes in the North Sea and the Arctic. In addition, the strategic plans were to construct a railway line in northern and arctic Norway from Trondheim to Narvik and later to Kirkenes in Finnmark. Narvik was of strategic importance as high quality iron ore, of great importance to the war industry, was transported here from Sweden, and the projected Narvik-Kirkenes railway line was for transport of goods and for the German attack against Murmansk
From the occupied Czechoslovakia to Norway
It became soon clear that the Germans had highly underestimated the available work force. Already during the first year of the occupation it was decided to send workers to Norway from abroad.
During spring 1942 the Einsatzsgruppe Wiking, a section of the paramilitary organisation „Organization Todt“, asked the central in Berlin for foreign labour force for the construction of bunkers on the Norwegian coast. In December the same year occupied Norway received the first transport of young men from the occupied Czechoslovakia.
The demand for extra man-power to German-occupied Norway arrived when the Protectorate of Bohemia and Morava was already working at full speed. During autumn 1942 men born in 1921 and 1922 were recruited and a number of them were sent north.
Already at working camps in Germany the Czech workers got to know that they would be sent to Norway. After necessary administrative work and physical examinations it was finally decided who would be sent. Only the most fit were sent.