On 10 April 1940, the Germans conducted their first action against the book shops, publishers and libraries in Oslo. By 15 April, the first seizures were made at the Kristiansand public library.
What do you think Reidunn Johnsen and her colleagues at the Kristiansand library did?
It was difficult for a public library to resist the decrees and rules they were subjected to.
On 27 January1944, seven librarians in Kristiansand were arrested. Reidunn Johnsen was one of them. After 2-3 weeks, five of them were released, but library manager Reidunn Johnsen remained a prisoner in Grini prison camp until liberation. She was arrested for financially assisting the resistance movement. Her colleague, Margot Jacobsen, was arrested for the same thing. Margot was sent to a prison camp in Poland.
The Nazis never found out how the library manager and her colleagues worked against Norway’s new regime by protecting the banned book collections in the library.
After the war, Reidunn Johnsen told the newspaper Faedrelandsvennen:
“These books [the Nazi propaganda literature] have now been removed from the shelves and except for one single copy will be destroyed. We hope to establish a separate department somewhere in the basement for this propaganda literature. One or another historian may one day have use for them in the years to come. Besides, we cannot get rid of five years of literature.”