Today on November 6th 2016, the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum (NIA) announced the historical access to the original heavy water cellar at Vemork, the target of the of Norwegian saboteurs in the early morning hours of February 28th 1943.
Operation Gunnerside is the February 1943 WWII operation that has been called the most successful act of sabotage in all of World War II. Penetrating a virtually inaccessible location in the frozen mountains of Telemark, Norway, Norwegian commandos successfully destroyed the heavy water production that may have brought Adolf Hitler the atomic bomb.
The Hydrogen Production Factory had been demolished in 1977, but on September 18th the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum (NIA) began an excavation using an industrial-archeological excavation method to find the original site of the WWII sabotage effort. On October 5th 2017 the historical discovery was made, the ‘heavy water cellar’ was found – intact and in very good condition.
Since the historical discovery on October 5th, the NIA archeological team had been carefully working together with safety experts to make the site safe for guided access to this historical site.
Background of the Archeological Project
The primary goal of this Hydrogen Production Factory project is to uncover unique historical and cultural wartime/industrial heritage elements that the NIA will make available to current and future generations.
Norway’s Telemark County originally took the initiative to create this project, formally handing over the project to the NIA on March 28, 2017. The NIA then took over management of the process with the goal to successfully complete this excavation, and will ultimate create a new museum facility that will showcase the historic heavy water cellar in its actual original state.
Dissemination of the findings of this excavation project is intended to create value for historians, researchers, educators, tourists and the public in general. Target groups will include local, regional and international organizations and individuals.
The industrial-archeological excavation has been undertaken used to uncover what remains of the historic heavy water cellar, keeping all the is found intact for better understanding, observation, and research by current and future generations. A special focus of the excavation has been to gain more knowledge of the specific target of the Norwegian saboteurs in the heavy water cellar.
A New Museum Facility
The heavy water cellar is part of the Hydrogen Production Factory that was completed in1929. The factory as an important part of Norsk Hydro’s development, established in the early 1900s in Notodden and Rjukan, and a key element in the development of the 2nd Industrial Revolution where water power was harnessed to create hydroelectric power as a driving force for industry.
After the excavation is completed, a new museum facility will be constructed and will present the historic heavy water cellar in its actual original state, part of the NIA’s work to preserve and present cultural heritage.
The establishment of Norsk Hydro is the best example of Norway’s key part in this 2nd Industrial Revolution, which contributed to changing the young nation of Norway and thus creating what still stands as one of the world’s best examples of a modern social-democratic society.
Contact for more information and high resolution photos:
Director, Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum
Cell.: +47 932 49 766, e-post: email@example.com
Press and Marketing, Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum
Cell.: +47 920 94 584, e-post: firstname.lastname@example.org