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Trondheim, Brettingen and Hattfjelldal. The Story of Mr. Opl


At the end of January, the son of Mr. Zdeněk Opl visited us at the Faculty of Arts in Prague. He brought us pictures of his father's forced stay in Trondheim and Hattfjeldal for research purposes, as well as period materials, personal notes and post-war memories. Fascinating and rare written legacy!

Zdeněk Opl (born in Prague in 1922) was assigned to work for the Empire from November 1942 and worked in the port on the construction of the submarine dock Dora I. in Trondheim. After a few weeks, he was transferred to less physically demanding work as an auxiliary staff to the Strinda labor camp on the outskirts of Trondheim for health reasons. In mid-1943, he was transferred as a food supplier to a labor camp, 100 km from Trondheim. The Germans built bunkers there in the former Brettingen fortress and 80 civilian workers (besides the Germans, Norwegians, Belgians and Czechoslovaks) as well as 60 Serbian prisoners of war were deployed there.

In 1944, Mr. Opl was transferred to a labor camp inland, to the settlement of Hattfjelldal. Here the Germans were preparing to build a factory for wood gas fuel to drive cars. Mr. Opl arrived with a group of 11 Czechoslovaks who, together with 60 conscripts from Poland and France, and later with other prisoners of war, were building a factory.

Hattfjelldal is located near the Swedish border. Dozens of deployed workers tried to escape. Mr. Oplo did not manage to escape, fortunately the Germans did not find out about his one-day disappearance. He suffered from a number of health problems due to physically demanding work and frosts as low as -42 ° C and was treated for several weeks in a remote military hospital in Mo i Rana.

In November 1944, Mr. Opl was sent home on medical leave. From there he was again called to forced labor in the Third Reich after a month. He never returned to Norway and spent Christmas at his new workplace near Berlin. At the beginning of 1945, he managed to negotiate a return home with the Todt authorities for health reasons.

The information comes from the post-war notes of Mr. Opl that he wrote in 1952 for the chronicle of the village of Vrané na Vltavou.

We publish the photos with the consent of the family.

Source: Private archive of sons of Mr. Opl

Filozofická fakulta
Univerzita Karlova
nám. Jana Palacha 1/2
116 38 Praha 1