Viggo Hansteen

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Harald Viggo Hansteen
Viggo Hansteen.jpg
Viggo Hansteen (c. 1930)
Born 13 September 1900
Oslo, Norway
Died 10 September 1941
Årvoll, Oslo, Norway
Nationality Norwegian
Occupation Lawyer, Politician
Spouse(s) Kirsten Hansteen

Harald Viggo Hansteen (13 September 1900 – 10 September 1941) was a Norwegian lawyer who was executed by the Germans during their five-year occupation of Norway.[1]

Biography[edit]

Harald Viggo Hansteen was born in Oslo, Norway. As a student he was a part of the establishment of Mot Dag. When cooperation between Mot Dag and the Norwegian Communist Party came to an end in 1929, he stayed in the Communist Party. He became a Supreme Court advocate in 1933 and judicial consultant for the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions in 1936. In 1940 he went with the government in exile to London, but came back to Oslo in June. He contributed strongly to the prevention of the Nasjonal Samling's attempt to gain control of the Confederation of Trade Unions. [2]

Hansteen was executed on 10 September 1941 during the state of martial law which followed the so-called Milk Strike (Melkestreiken). The reason for the strike was that food supplies had become increasingly worse by September 1941. Also executed at that same time was labour activist Rolf Wickstrøm, who was the union steward and chairman for the union workers at the Skabo Jernbanevognfabrikk in Oslo. Hansteen and Wickstrøm were the first two Norwegian citizens executed by the Germans during the five-year occupation of Norway. Hansteen and Rolf Wickstrøm are buried in Vår Frelsers gravlund.[3][4]

Viggo Hansteen and Rolf Wickstrøm were honored by the naming of a section of road around Oslo which bears their names. Hansteen's widow Kirsten Hansteen became a part of Einar Gerhardsen's coalition government in 1945 and was Norway's first female cabinet member.

In 1948, a memorial was erected in granite with a bronze relief at the site of Hansteen's execution at Årvoll in the Bjerke district of Oslo. The memorial was directed by Norwegian sculptor Nic Schiøll (1901–1984). It bears the following:

Viggo Hansteen, Rolf Wickstrøm. The first victims in Norway's struggle for freedom from 1940-45. Shot by the Germans 10 September 1941.

— Inscription on the Memorial at Østre skytterlags bane

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