Olaf Kullmann
Olaf Bryn Kullmann was a Norwegian
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 naval officer and peace activist.

Early life and career

He was born in Stord
Stord is a municipality in the county of Hordaland, Norway. Stord is sometimes called "Norway in miniature" - as it has such a variety of landscapes: coastline, fjords, forests, agricultural land, and mountain areas....

 in the county of Hordaland
is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen...

, Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. He was a son of vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 and school manager Jakob Kullmann (1852–1910) and Ingeleiv Kristine Mæland (1864–1951). He studied at the Norwegian Naval Academy
Norwegian Naval Academy
- External links :*...

, and served on a torpedo boat
Torpedo boat
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval vessel designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other large, slow and...

 with the rank of Premier Lieutenant from 1916. He later studied law, graduated with the Candidate of Law
Candidate of Law
Candidate of Law is the degree awarded to jurists who have passed the law exam in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland after studying law for about 5–6 years....

 degree in 1923, served as a deputy in Vestfold
is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg.Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten. The river Numedalslågen runs...

, and from 1925 was an attorney in Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

. From 1925 to 1930 he worked in Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. He then returned to the navy, from 1929 with the rank of Captain. He had responsibility for the torpedo battery at Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress
Oscarsborg Fortress is a coastal fortress in the Oslofjord, close to the small town of Drøbak. The fortress is situated on two small islets, and on the mainland to the west and east, in the fjord and was military territory until 2003 when it was made a publicly available resort island...


Political turnaround

Kullmann eventually turned against the ideas of the existing military. He had been an adviser for the Norwegian Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

 when in 1932 it proposed to replace the entire armed forces with a semi-armed "civil guard", and was a member of the party for some time. In the summer of 1932 he participated on an anti-war congress in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

. For his agitation, Kullmann was suspended and legally relieved of his naval engagements. The campaign was spearheaded by then-Minister of Defence Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

, and a support campaign for Kullmann was spearheaded by the Labour Party. Kullmann also formed a short-lived Peace Party.

The latter half of the 1930s started with the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire...

, which Kullmann protested. For this he was expelled
Deportation means the expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. Today it often refers to the expulsion of foreign nationals whereas the expulsion of nationals is called banishment, exile, or penal transportation...

 from Italy, where he had travelled in 1935. He issued the book Hjelp din bror, etioperen ("Help Your Brother, the Ethiopian") in Norway in 1938. In 1940 Norway was invaded by Germany
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

, involving Norway in World War II. Kullmann subsequently bicycled around Norway to agitate for pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...


Incarceration and death

The German occupiers demanded his signature on a declaration that he would forever cease his pacifist agitation; Kullmann refused and was arrested in June 1941. He was imprisoned in Møllergata 19
Møllergata 19
Møllergata 19 is an address in Oslo, Norway where the city's main police station and jail was located. The address gained notoriety during the German occupation from 1940 to 1945, when the Nazi security police kept its headquarters here...

 and Grini concentration camp before being sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May, 1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD...

 on Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, 3 April 1942, and died there in July. He was memorialized in a poem by fellow Sachsenhausen inmate Arnulf Øverland
Arnulf Øverland
Ole Peter Arnulf Øverland was a Norwegian author born in Kristiansund and raised in Bergen. His works include Berget det blå and Hustavler .-Life:...

 in the 1956 poetry collection Sverdet bak døren.

Kullmann did not marry or have children, but was a granduncle of later Norwegian Nobel Committee
Norwegian Nobel Committee
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize each year.Its five members are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament and roughly represent the political makeup of that body.-History:...

 member Kaci Kullmann Five
Kaci Kullmann Five
Karin Cecilie Kullmann Five is a Norwegian politician for the Conservative Party, and a business professional. She was born Karin Cecilie Kullmann in Bærum and was educated in law, French language and political science at University of Oslo in 1981...


Selected works

  • Fred eller krig for Norden? (1935)
  • Europe Awake (1936)
  • Hjelp din bror, etioperen (1938)
  • Folkereisning mot krig (1939)
  • Lovsangen (1940)

Other sources

  • Gjelsvik, Tore (1979) Norwegian Resistance: 1940-1945 (Univ of Toronto Press) ISBN 978-0773505070
  • Ottosen, Kristian (1990) Liv og død : historien om Sachsenhausen-fangene (Oslo: Aschehoug) ISBN 82-03-16484-6
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