A few months ago, I wrote about the Vemork raid – in which a small party of Norwegian commandos derailed the Nazi nuclear program with a daring raid to destroy a heavy-water plant in the wilds of the Telemark.
The London Telegraph notes that one of the raid’s two surviving heroes, A speaking out to try to teach a new generation of Norwegians, about the raid, the war, and what it means to people today.
You should read the whole thing – but I liked this excerpt:
Rønneberg, the leader of the team, was hailed a hero, thanked personally by Churchill, and awarded the Distinguished Service Order. But for years, he refused to talk publicly about his involvement. Naturally self-effacing and suffused with a deep sense of loyalty, he was loath to take any of the glory for himself. The march of time, however, has caused him to reconsider. Now aged 90, Rønneberg is one of only two members of the team still alive; the other is 99, and was recently hospitalised. He feels it is his duty to tell the story of the raid while he still can…
Despite his age, he still cuts an imposing figure; tall, with broad-shoulders, a square jaw and an air of quiet self-control. “Having been more or less silent for years, now I realise it is important and quite natural for people to ask about the past so they can plan for the future. People must realise that peace and freedom have to be fought for every day.”
Rønneberg, as a young fella, set sail in a fishing boat across the Norwegian Sea just a little less than seventy years ago, to fight for freedom. His is a story more people today need to learn, if only because we all know what happens when people forget their history.