Ronneberg Family Website

Saboteur’s March

Vemork: The experiences from the heavy-water raid against Vemork in 1943 were revived when the saboteurs from the Linge-company met last weekend. Most of the men of the group, literally walked in their own footsteps during the “Saboteur’s march” Saturday.

It is people of Rjukan who have taken the initiative and arranged this march. The trail goes along the same route as the Linge-men used when they descended from the mountain above Rjukan to get to Vemork, on the night leading to the 28th February 1943. Heading the march last Saturday, were the heavy-water saboteurs, followed by the 3000 taking part in it.

Most of the Linge-men had not been in the area since the raid in 1943. The slope had its starting point in Fjøsbudalen (valley of Fjøsbu), where also the heavy water saboteurs had their last base before moving to Vemork. As they were climbing down, a lot of memories came to mind. “When you walk in the same surroundings, the time between now and then seems very short,” was among the comments heard while we were on our way.

Joachim Rønneberg remembers well how it was when the Linge men in 1943, climbing down the hillside at Vemork, got to see the heavy water plant for first time.

“The 7 meter high building appeared large in the hilly country. Little was said, everyone found it grim and felt only expectation and excitement. We were close to the target. Now it was only the operation itself that remained.”

Forty seven years after, eight of the ten saboteurs from the heavywater-raid met again. Knut Haugland was unable to attend, and Kaspar Idland is dead. Joining the reunion, were also Knut Lier Hansen and Rolf Sørlie, who were involved in the sinking of the Tinnsjø-ferry “Hydro” that carried heavy water in 1944. This action put a final stop to the German production of heavy water at Rjukan.

For the first time since the days of the war, so many of the remaining saboteurs were gathered at once, even though most of them have, from time to time, met through the Linge club.

“It has been nice to meet again. The friendship that develops under the conditions we lived through, will always be something special,” says Joachim Rønneberg.

Kjetil Lillesæter