Occupation of the past (Minus Five)

A few weeks ago, I visited the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo again. This time, I went to see the part of their freedom exhibition called “Minus Five – Occupation of the past”. I strongly recommend everyone interested in Viking age and history to pay it a visit.

I have my own reasons for writing this blog post. I hope that all doubt about my “political views” will vanish, and that you will know that every time you see MY PHOTOS in ANY facebook group, any website, etc that promotes “pure Aryan blood”, “The master race”, “White communities” etc… they have used my pictures without my consent!.
Neo Nazism is pure poison to the Viking community – some people are still using the past to promote hatred and exclude and rank people because of race or religion. I do not want to be associated with these people..

mf3All photos by Sól Geirsdóttir,
all texts gathered from the “minus Five Occupation of the past” English guide.
Main texts by Terje Emberland (the Nazi story, Frode Iversen (the alternative story) Additional texts: Davig Vogt, Kathy Elliot
English translation: Fredrik Sundman, Kathy Elliot, Tom Chlitton, Alexandra Sanmark

Nazi germany invaded Norway on the 9th of April 1940. A few months later Vidkun Quisling and his small Nasjonal Samling (National Unification) party came to power in collaboration with the Germans. A Nazi regime, which had no regard for democratic principles or the rule of law, was imposed on the country. The Nazi occupation of Norway lasted five years.

German eagle from the German war cemetary at Ekeberg, Oslo. Loan from the Arm Forces Museum of Norway

The Nazis’ aim was to transform Norway into a racially pure and ideologically totalitarian state. In order to legitimize their rule, the Nazis set about altering Norway’s perception of its past – even history was to be occupied. Through selective, distorted and falsified depictions of archeological, ethnological and historical evidence, they sought to promote Nazism as an historic inevitability.


The Swatsika

The Swatsika has been used since prehistoric times for decoration and as a religious symbol. It is simply a decorative element, which has appeared independently in various cultures all over the world. It has been attributed with various meanings; in India it is a symbol of good fortune – the word swastika is derived from the Sanskrift su atsi meaning, “it is good”.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann unearthed the remains of ancient Troy. His discoveries sparked new interest in the swastika since he viewed it as a significant Indo-European religious symbol. At the same time, ethnologists became interested in the role of the swastika in Hindu, Buddhist and European traditions.mf1“Buddha bucket” with swastika from the Oseberg Viking ship burial
This beautiful bucket made of yew was found on board the Oseberg Viking Ship, one of the many exclusive grave gifts given to the two women buried on the ship in the year of 834 AD. The bucket was probably made in Ireland and is evidence of the Viking’s overseas contacts. What we do not know is whether the bucket came to Norway as Viking plunder, as a gift or as an item of trade. The little figure of brass and enamel has inspired various interpretations; from a Buddha-like figure to a Celtic warrior.

The swastika as a symbol of good fortune.
In the West, the swastika had been used as a symbol of love and good fortune until the 1930s, when the Nazis made this symbol virtually unusable for others than themselves.
Offering plate with swastika patterns from bali, Indonesiamf6
Buddha temple figurine from China

The swastika as a symbol of race

For a long time, people were seen as products of their culture, but in the latter part of the 19th century, a shift took place, when scholars started classifying people according to “natural” physiological and psychological traits. The racial categories introduced by anthropologists now became important for the understanding of people, history and culture.

Anthropologists borrowed linguistic terms such as “Indo-Aryan” and “Indo-Germanic” and thus shaped the image of an ancient white “master race”, the Aryans or Indo-Europeans, who were “creators of culture”. The presence of the swastika in different parts of the world was seen as proof that the supreme Aryan culture had spread across the globe. The search for the origin of this race started in Asia, but this was soon replaced by the idea that the “master race” must have originated in Northern Europe, from where it spread by prehistoric waves of migration, to the south and east.

The SS saw Norwegians, in particular Norwegian Women as a source of “pure blood”, which could be used to increase the “Nordic racial component” in the German population…

The Snartemo sword, Hegebostad, Vest-Agder, c. AD 550
This sword with a gold-plated handle somes from a very rich burial dating from the middle of the 6th century. It most likely belonged to a local chieftain with far-reaching contacts both at home and abroad. The Snartemo sword was one of many museum objects which were evacuated to a secret location just before the German occupation.
Copy of the Snartemo sword. This copy was made in 1942 by the goldsmith J. Tostrup and was presented to Vidkun Quisling in 1943.

Photo: google
The Celtic cross is often used by right-wing radicals and neo-Nazis, together with a number of other symbols from the Old Norse tradition.

Modern right-wing extremists see the “Germanic” heritage as part of their identity. This is not a result of new archeological or historic research, but a consequence of fabricated “Germanic myths”. Even today, historic facts are concealed and distorted to create an image of the racially pure and noble Germanic ancestors.
The Germanic myth is used to create a cultural and ethnic collective identity and to exclude others as being inferior. It is also employed to legitimise a social utopia in which some people are destined to rule, while others are to be deprived of their rights, deported or even exterminated.

A viking helmet from 10th century
Today, the Viking helmet is an iconic symbol of the Viking Age. In fact, only one helmet from the Viking Age survives, the one displayed here from a richly-furnished man’s grave from Gjermundbu in Buskerud.

The universal Viking

The Viking Age is no longer occupied by the Nazis, nor is it the property of the right-wing extremists. The Vikings and the Old Norse heritage have moved into the public domain.

The Viking Age is an increasingly relevant area of research. New archaeological discoveries in Scandinavia and the rest of the “Viking world” are continuously providing new insights into this turbulent but also innovative era. Researchers are now nuancing the image of the belligerent Vikings: they were also traders, shipbuilders, artisans and cosmopolites.

The popularised Viking has today a universal appeal; these “action heroes” are as popular in Japan as in Norway. The foremost symbols of the Vikings – Viking ships and Viking helmets – are used by oil companies, travel agents, sports teams and pizza parlours, at home and abroad.

The Nazi’s attempt to conquer the past has failed.
History has been saved for the present, but the battle is not over. Some people are still using the past to promote hatred and exclude and rank people because of race or religion.

Dragonhead replica
This curious “dragonhead” was probably made in the early 1930’s in the woodcarver’s workshop at the Viking Ship Museum. Based on more fantasy than fact, it was never approved by Norwegian archaeologists. A.W. Brøgger, Professor and Museum Director (1915-1949) disliked it so much that he ordered it to be placed in storage in perpetuity.

Others were more enthusiastic – the dragonhead seems to have been the inspiration for the NS posters designed by Harald Damsleth. The head fitted the twisted and garish Viking fantasy world of the Nazis.

All photos by Sól Geirsdóttir,
texts gathered from the “minus Five Occupation of the past” English guide.
Main texts by Terje Emberland (the Nazi story, Frode Iversen (the alternative story) Additional texts: Davig Vogt, Kathy Elliot

English translation: Fredrik Sundman, Kathy Elliot, Tom Chlitton, Alexandra Sanmark


46 thoughts on “Occupation of the past (Minus Five)

  1. I truly enjoyed your “Occupation of the past (Minus Five)” artical. An enjoyable Blog to read. And the pics were very good.

  2. I’m homeschooling my 14 year old son and we have been studying WWl and WWll. It’s really great to be able to find articles like yours and share them with my son. The gift of insight and understanding via the internet concerning this time period in history is much appreciated.

  3. A very good post! I am from Germany, and when you are interested in Vikings here, you are almost automaticly put in the right wing corner, as many right wing nuts freely use Viking motives for their purposes.
    It is at times a real task to explain that one is only interested in the archeological histroy and the craftsmanship of the time, and not in any wacky ideology of the 1930´s & 1940´s.
    And you are right I have seen a lot of far rightwingers using your pictures.

    • I am sorry to hear that. The right wing corner has NO EMPIRICAL GROUND to build their “connection” to our culture on. A lot of researchers will tell you that vikings had NO RACIAL AGENDA when pillaging/trading, and so on. I am also sorry that you have had to see my pictures misused by these people of the right wing communities. It is because of people notifying me on facebook, tumblr and so forth that I discover my pictures and can ask them to take them down, or if I have to: report them for copyright infringement.

  4. Hy, I am a student writing a thesis on the legend of Brynhild, and I discovered your blog which ist very interesting! I am happy to read you comments and warnings concerning the attempt to re-write history. Thanks for making it clear and thanks for sharing so openly! Actually I wanted to add: it’s possible to be Jewish and to be in love with viking history, Sigurd-legends and so on! I will keep a eye on you future posts! Bye bye from France!

      • Hy!

        May I ask you a question? Just because I am really interestes in it for my thesis (ok, for myself too!): I am reading a lot now on the topic of medieval scandinavian ages, and I have read that the runes are mentionning only Thor as a god, but they don’t mention neither Frejya or Hel or Loki etc. As I read your posts, you are mentionning making religious rituals and offerings to gods (with an S: plural). So my question is: where do you find a teaching on medieval religious rituals on Scandinavia so you can continue them now? If the runes mention only Thor, how do you know how to make rituals for Frejya for exemple? So far I know, Snorri was a christian, so there is certainly a question about his tellings in the Eddas…

        I would be really happy if you could explain it to me!
        Bye bye from France, Mirjam.

  5. Excellent blog post! Your love for the past and of your people is evident and I don’t think that either could ask for a better warden or protector.

  6. Dette innlegget her er ekstremt viktig, tusen takk for at du skrev det. Det er bra skrevet med bra referanser. For min del er det ekstra viktig, da jeg er på heelt motsatt side av den politiske skalaen, og ikke vil bli oppfattet som nynazist/rasist til tross for at jeg er interresert i vikingtiden.
    Ayways, fortsett å blogge! Det er alltid et lyspunkt å lese et nytt blogginnlegg.

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I am always happy to gather wide-range historical information from you 🙂
    I am sorry about right-wing people using your photos. It is so sad that, as a result, you have to justify yourself – it should just the other way round!!!
    Lots of love.

    • Thank you for your feedback:) I also wish it was the other way around, but I strongly believe that most people understand that I am not appearing on these pages because I want to be there. Sending good vibes xXx

  8. Otroligt glädjande att läsa det här inlägget. Det är med samma glädje som hos dig, som jag ser hur vikingareenectment blommar ut utan nynazistiska element & hur vi ÄNTLIGEN kan “ta tillbaks” vår historia som kidnappades av rasbiologer & högerextrema på 30-talet. Äntligen kan vikingatiden få det nyktra angreppssätt som krävs att kunna ge historiska perioder rättvisa.

    Tack igen för ett viktigt inlägg & ställningstagande!

  9. A real pleasure to read this article, Sol. Following you for some months now, I knew you are not at all part of all this extremist bullshit which happens far too often in reenactement, but it’s has been such great to read your engagement ! You are quite known on the Internet, so with this message you can help to separate Vikings and old symbols from right-winged extremists.
    Tack så mycket ! (sorry, I don’t speak norwegian but swedish)

  10. This post is very disingenuous, but as you live in communist occupied Europe I can only feel pity for you. Open your mind to the possibility that one people spread across the entire globe in ancient times carrying their symbol, the swastika, with them. You say there is no evidence to support this? Well begin your education now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziI1r1giLgQ
    The tradition of the ancient fathers was exclusive to those of the Nordic blood only. It is you who seek to occupy the past and distort reality.

    • I do not need your pity. I have educated myself, based on findings of archaeologists and lectures by experts in “the viking field”. The video you are linking cannot be viewed in my country. I do not seek to occupy the past and distort reality – I seek knowledge about the viking age, and will not let “politically extreme views” have anything to do with our history. End of story.

  11. Speaking of symbols, swastika and the cross had been used from other cultures & race from time to time, including the Egyptians, Indians, Middle Easterns, Central Asians, South east Asians and so on. The origins of the symbols? That I cannot tell for my knowledge cannot extend that much towards the undiscovered/unknown part of history, but for what I know, the earliest form was said to be from India while the cross was said to be from Egypt but rest assured that such info wasn’t considered the “final point” of history, or so they said.

    And speaking of inequality, As a person who’s race isn’t a part of the so-called “master race”, whenever I get to cross with information about Nazi jerks and White supremacists crap & their terrible self-proclamation about everything, my blood boils, especially what they’ve done to my ancestor and my culture, to my very own core it boils. But I am glad that you did not side on them anyway. The struggle of being the non-white is still, and it always have been, a struggle for us ’til now. The ideology of such narrow minded-ness (racism, white supremacy, supreme race vs. inferior race etc) has been practiced through years and years, passed down from generations to generations in order to built more hate & prejudice towards the unwanted while trying their hardest not to meet the equality and truth of this world, fearing that such truth will break their pride bits to bits. I’ve read your good blog for the past 2 years and encountered other potential white supremacist in your comment section who secretly pats your head and assumed that you’re giving the good example of being in their side but you prove them wrong, so dead wrong, & that gave me light.

    People would do anything to protect their pride and their huge status among the rest even if it means killing those who aren’t considered to be a part of them. They sold their mind and soul to false belief in exchange for delusions that made them tall, blinding them from what they really are which a part of them they cannot accept. That is their reality, a reality that they can never and will never grasp.

    Anyways, thank you for this good information regarding your culture and the nazism shit. Hope that gives neo nazis/white supremacist/racists a warning that they’ve been seen.

    • Thank you for your comment:) My blood boils too, my friend. I’ve never been one of them, in fact very few norwegians have (or are)
      No problem, I felt that I had to write this post because I just.. want to show love for my culture without promoting hate:)

  12. Wow. Just wow. This gave me hope.

    Thanks for clearing your name up.

    At first I thought you’re one of those western reenactors that’s been spitting prejudicial-look towards other race and culture while considering yourself and your culture as “better and master of the universe” crapshit. I’ve seen some of your pics in the net being praised and proudly displayed by some racists and right-winged neo-nazis, alot of ’em proclaimed themselves as “devil’s advocate” or “anti-sjsomethingwhatisit…” (weird name *shrugs*) Alot of ’em are from Reddit, personal blog, propaganda-like blogs and Facebook.

    Sharing the side of my life, me and my peeps were been attacked by racist in the net and in real life for having dark skin, not so pointy nose and shit & it infuriates me to no end. Most of ’em would proclaimed that they “own” us and we “owe” them ‘cuz they “gave us culture and modernize us to become civilize” while we “were born lazy and dirty & had no rights to live” such notion is such a bull. Even it comes to the point that I cannot show my true colors and my culture anymore due to being humiliated left and right. And I’m s frickin’ tired of it. Seriously.

    I’ve been a fan of your posts since last 4 months ago since I’m a major culture freak and wants to observe different cultures and creations created by everyone in this beautiful disaster we called Earth. But I was afraid to approach or even talk to you, seeing that alot of western reenactors impose their stupid racism on the supposedly celebrated culture and turn it into some “all hail the mighty western race!” shiztats… and I thought you’re those silent type one-of-’em type of person. I’ve met a reenactor back then who happens to be Swedish and has been throwing up racist jokes on dark skinned people and I, who happens to be a friend of his, was hurt and he didn’t even had the sensitivity to realize that I’m one of those people they’ve been making fun of.

    But I am relief and in good mood to actually found out that you’re not like ’em, which is cool.

    Then again, thanks for clarifying your name, I hope those douches would stop using you for their disgusting propaganda.

    • I am sorry you had that impression of me. That has always been one of my fears regarding my pictures (neo nazis have seemed to be very fond of them) I can assure you that I have never been a silent type of any kind;) I speak my mind. I am sorry to hear that you have faced so much hatred, be proud and be yourself. I think you’ll find that the hatred vanishes by doing so. Sending good vibes xX

  13. Ooooh! Nice info, I like it. I’m gonna used it for my history class soon, but no worries, I’ll give you big credits for that.

    Btw, there’s also a very old pic of some American children & British children in some elementary school doing the nazi salute in the aftermath of ww1 during the time before world war 2 and hitler was just on the rise back then. It was ironic ‘cuz…ain’t the americans and the brits been hating nazis and opposed them, like…. why? why salute the enemy? lol,I dunno if I should laugh on the irony or the hypocrisy…

    Must have been that same occidental hatred towards the Jews or something….

    Ms. Geirsdottir, have you ever encounter a racist before? Either in public or inside reenactment festivities? Just being curious.

    • Dear oh na na, waz mah name 😉

      Being a huge nerd who always sat on the front row, this really brought a smile to my face. Please remember to credit the authors of the texts stated in this blog post, for the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.

      I think we have all encountered racists. But I have to tell you, in Norway (and especially in the viking environment) there are VERY FEW neo nazis. We just want to celebrate our culture and history. 🙂

  14. Hello,

    Thank you for writing this. As someone who had to leave both my heathen kindred(forever) and the gods(for many years, only recently and slowly changing) because of neo nazis* it does my heart proud to see people denounce them.

    May the Aesir and the Vanir hold you close in their hearts, may your larder be full, and may your struggles make you better, no bitter.

    *I was given a choice between my kindred or informing the relevant authorities about a kindred that pledged themselves “to the gods and the politics of national socialism”. Though my life resembled the Anglo Saxon poem, “The Wanderer” after that, I still believe I made the right call.

    • I am sorry to hear that. Remember that people only have power to change heathenism into something of Nazi load if we give them this power. That, my friend – is why I stand up against it. Countless neo nazis are Oh so disappointed that I am not “one of them” and try to tell me how stupid and uninformed I am, when quite the opposite remains the truth. Thank you for your kind wishes, I can assure you that my struggles are only making me grow stronger. Neo nazis are really no match to speak of. Ps – there are many heathen communities – I am absolutely certain that you will find one that does not mix extreme right-winged politics with the Old Norse Religion. Sending good vibes to you from the Northern Realms.

  15. Hi ms. Sol, what can you say about the far right wings in Norway’s politics who agreed on the ideals of the nazis that Scandinavia was the one that gave birth to all cultures? They seemed to like the idea of connecting the nordic culture to nazism and white supremacy and not to mention there are great number of norwegians actually supporting this ideals. I’ve read some guy’s (he’s from Bergen) post on facebook that he believes that nordic culture was the center of all worldly culture and that there should be more hitlers to come /or to born in the next generation, sadly more than 54 liked his post and only 10 to 12 were against him. It was uncomfortable experience to read his long post praising nazis as well as other norwegians agreeing to his post and all but I couldn’t help but to consult this matter to you so that I could atleast maybe hear your thoughts about this.

    • I’d say what most educated people would say -I’d tell them that there are many cultures in this world far older than the Scandinavian culture. I’d also inform them that archaeological findings suggest that vikings were in fact influenced by many of these. This blog post of mine has awakened many reactions… I find this interesting because it is easy to see how peoples personal opinions influence their take on history. But facts are facts, scientific evidence is gold. There are no scientific evidences from the viking age to support Nazi views. Living in this country, and being an active part of the Norwegian viking environment, my personal impression is that there are very few right wing extremists in Norway. Indeed – there are some.
      I think the reason why some people become attracted to neo nazism is lack of knowledge and education. Know that there are no archeological or historical grounds for a link between norse culture and heritage to neo nazism. Cheers

      • Ah! Well said Ms. Sol.

        It’s true and I agree that scientific evidence is gold and such evidence that holds the truth is as rare as the authentic diamond since a lot of neo nazis tried to destroy it by distorting huge amount of facts and make others believe in their lies through the image of “historical textbooks” from so-called “reliable researchers”. Good thing there were alot of us who still knew which ones that aren’t distorted and am happy. I’m sorry for the late reply there were alot of things happened in our house last year. Anyways, I wish you a belated happy new year and thank you again for this feedback of yours.

  16. Thanks a lot for this article, I didn’t know anything about this exhibition !
    I’m glad to see such an exhibition has been produced in Oslo, and wish I could’ve seen it. I’m going to check if there’s a catalogue.
    As a scholar specialized in Viking studies (from France, and having studied in Norway), reading this article reminds me that just as you say, education and knowledge can fight this abusive use of history. In France, we are (only) now starting to study how archaeology was used when we were under Third Reich occupation (Vichy government), it is a very interesting topic.

    I met a certain number of people with a right-wing background, more or less extreme, in Viking reenactment groups in France. (Not in the university, but rather in small associations promoting historical reenactment.) It brings me great relief to read you when you say there a very few in Norway, I think I know what you’re talking about. We should not allow ourselves to “reject” beliefs or interests because of this phenomenon.

  17. Hello! Sorry if this question is pretty out of topic but is Norse paganism/heathenism are animistic belief or just paganism? I’m quite confused because wiccan beliefs tend to appropriate alot of beliefs that isn’t within the original traditional western paganism sphere which others find it pretty offensive. So I was wondering if animism is also a root culture in traditional Norse religion or not.

  18. I agree with Sigurd, your post is very disengenuous. Ever wondered why you cannot view the link he sent you? Because you live in a Marxist country that is against free speech. Nordic countries have proven to be very anti white and most citizens have high levels of white guilt which is forced upon them by their communist governments/leaders and media. Sweden is set to become a 3rd world country soon thanks to your open door policy. Someone it seems is working very hard to break white European homogeneity as multiculturalism is only happening in white countries. Ever wondered if the sources you get your information could be lying or wrong? What political standing do the authors or archiologists have? I bet they are all left wing. Step out of your echo chamber and hear the other side. It’s no coincidence that 97% of modern inventions and medicine were created by white Europeans. Btw, the national socialists never claimed supremacy, they just wanted a homeland just for them without outside interference. What’s wrong with that? After all, every other ethnicity has that…except whites. Oh I forgot, that would be RACIST right?

    • Well, maybe it is you who need to step out of a chamber, ever thought of that? If you ever go to Norway you might want to pay the museum I cited a visit – I bet they will be more than happy to give you in depth information about this exhibition. Or – you could always write one of these researchers an email if you want to talk to them about their their research.

  19. Swastika is Saptarishi with Dhruva, Big Dipper with Pole Star. Shatkona is Shiva/Shakti. Gandaberunda is double headed eagle. Rahu is the Black Sun. 🙂

  20. Up until this post, I had no idea the swastika symbol had a life before the Nazis. Thank you for shedding light on this fascinating subject.

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