Gerda Grepp

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Gerda Grepp
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-17036-0005, Spanischer Bürgerkrieg, Nordahl Grieg, Ludwig Renn.jpg
Gerda Grepp, with Nordahl Grieg and Ludwig Renn
Born 1907
Died 29 August 1940
Resting place Vestre gravlund, Oslo, Norway
Occupation Journalist
War correspondent
Nationality Norwegian
Relatives Kyrre Grepp (father)
Rachel Grepp (mother)

Gerda Johanne Helland Grepp[1] (1907 – 29 August 1940) was a Norwegian translator and journalist. She was the daughter of former chairman of the Norwegian Labour Party Kyrre Grepp and journalist Rachel Grepp.[2][3]

Spanish Civil War[edit]

Grepp covered the Spanish Civil War as a reporter for the Labour Party newspaper Arbeiderbladet from 1936. She arrived in Barcelona in October 1936, as the first female reporter from Scandinavia.[2] She travelled to Madrid, where she experienced bombing attacks on the city. With Ludwig Renn she drove to the Toledo front.[2] During her travels she was also accompanied by her friend André Malraux.[4] While in Spain, Grepp served as an interpreter for other Norwegians.[4]

Both Grepp and the other Norwegian correspondents in Spain, like Nordahl Grieg and Nini Gleditsch, sympathized with the Republican cause in the war.[4] Gleditsch and Grepp helped organize a large-scale aid effort for Spain, based around the Norwegian labour movement.[5]

According to professor Rune Ottosen, Grepp and Birgit Nissen were marked with "sharp pens against the growing fascism".[6]

In January and February 1937 she visited Málaga, together with Hungarian journalist and reporter for the British daily newspaper News Chronicle, Arthur Koestler.[3][7] During the battle of Málaga she barely escaped the attacking Nationalist forces.[8] Grepp left Málaga on 6 February, while Koestler was still in the city. On 7 February Italian troops occupied the city. Koestler was arrested, sentenced to death as a spy, and placed in a death cell in Sevilla. However, after considerable international pressure he was released from custody.[7] From May 1937 Grepp spent several weeks in the Basque Country. She visited the Republican Basque Army defensive line called the Iron Belt, and experienced the Battle of Bilbao.[9] Grepp frequently found herself in dangerous situations while in Spain.[8] During her time in Spain Grepp was suffering from tuberculosis. Eventually she was compelled by her ill health to leave the war zone and return to Norway.[4]

Death and legacy[edit]

Gerda Grepp died of tuberculosis in German-occupied Norway on 29 August 1940, 33 years old.[4][10] She was buried in Vestre gravlund in Oslo.[1] Grepp's work has since been largely forgotten, her fellow journalist Lise Lindbæk instead being commonly seen as Norway's first female war correspondent.[8]


  1. ^ a b Kirkevergens database. Oslo Municipality, funeral agency. 2006.  Accessed through the grave-site registry of the Genealogy Society of Norway (DIS), select "Id" from the drop-down menu labelled "Find" and enter "675648".
  2. ^ a b c Moen, Jo Stein; Sæther, Rolf (2009). "Norges første kvinnelige krigsreporter". Tusen dager. Norge og den spanske borgerkrigen 1936-1939 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 63–70. 
  3. ^ a b Evensmo, Sigurd (1976). Inn i din tid (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 87–88. ISBN 82-574-0250-8. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Stanghelle, John (1993). Nini Haslund Gleditsch - opprør - ein biografi (in Norwegian). Oslo: Samlaget. pp. 108–10. ISBN 82-521-3931-0. 
  5. ^ Førland, Tor Egil; Tønnesson, Stein; Grimnes, Ole Kristian; Koefoed, Holger (1997). Verden etter 1850 (in Norwegian). Oslo. p. 167. 
  6. ^ Ottosen, Rune (1996). Fra fjærpenn til Internett: Journalister i organisasjon og samfunn (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. p. 107. ISBN 82-03-26128-0. 
  7. ^ a b Moen, Jo Stein; Sæther, Rolf (2009). "Malaga faller". Tusen dager (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 106–113. 
  8. ^ a b c Tretvoll, Halvor F. (12 October 2009). "Hun var den dristigste av alle". Dagsavisen (in Norwegian). Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Moen, Jo Stein; Sæther, Rolf (2009). "I skyggen av Guernica". Tusen dager (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 115–120. 
  10. ^ Moen, Jo Stein; Sæther, Rolf (2009). "Siste kapittel". Tusen dager (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal. pp. 63–70.