Western Europe 1939-1945: Occupation

How did occupation affect peoples’ lives?

Report on Gestapo methods of interrogation used in Norway, 17th March 1941

Catalogue ref: HS 8/852

Report on Gestapo interrogation methods; HS 8/852

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What is this source?

This is an extract from a report on interrogation methods used by the Gestapo in Norway. Officials who worked for the British intelligence services wrote it.

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It was probably compiled after interviews with members of the Norwegian resistance movement who had been interrogated by the Gestapo.


What’s the background to this source?

After invading Poland, Hitler’s forces invaded Denmark and Norway. Norway was especially important to Hitler. In the First World War Germany had been starved of food and supplies by the British Royal Navy. Hitler wanted to avoid this happening again. Norway had ports and airfields that his submarines and aircraft could use to attack the Royal Navy and also Britain’s supply lines from the USA.

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The Norwegians resisted with British help when Germany invaded in April 1940. However, the British were defeated and Norway surrendered in June 1940. Despite this, there was an important underground resistance movement in Norway. This movement had strong links with British intelligence and received supplies and equipment throughout the war.


It’s worth knowing that...

Norway’s experiences during the war are still being debated and are a sensitive issue. There is no doubt that there was heroic resistance by Norwegians but there was also collaboration as well.

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The report states that the Gestapo relied heavily on rumours. Recent research by historians shows that there were relatively few Gestapo officers compared to the numbers of people they watched over. They did rely heavily on gossip and rumours from Dutch informers.


Does this source support the drawing by T. Cuneo?

  1. Why were rumours so important to the Gestapo?
  2. Explain how the Gestapo used “mental pressure” on their suspects.
  3. Why did they tend to use this over physical torture?
  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this document as evidence of what it was like to live under Nazi rule?

Use this table to record your views.