Anna Johanna Eidem – Courage Incarnate

One of the many loose ends I would like to research is the history of Anna Johanna Eidem, my husband’s great-great aunt. The story goes that she was a deaconess in Oslo during the Nazi occupation. She was walking a group of preschoolers down the street when they encountered a uniformed Nazi.

He told Anna to get the children off the sidewalk so that he could pass. She spat in his face and spent the rest of the war in a prison camp.

According to Petra Klug, Anna’s niece, she survived, but the experience ruined her health. For years, I assumed that Grini Prison near Oslo was where Anna spent the war, but Ottar Dahl thinks not. This was apparently a camp for people who posed a serious threat to Nazi rule in Norway. Joseph Robert White, a scholar of the Nazi era, confirmed for me that Anna was not in the records for Grini. I would like to learn where she was held prisoner.

Here is Anna as a Lutheran deaconess. There is no year for the photograph.

7 thoughts on “Anna Johanna Eidem – Courage Incarnate

  1. I was fortunate to meet a Norwegian gentleman referred to as “Uncle Teddy” while visiting Arendahl, Norway, We didn’t share a common language, but through gesture and photo’s I came to know him in his role as a “Nazi exterminator” during the war. Young men were recruited into the Norwegian underground and Teddy’s job was as a sniper for the village. He was captured and sent to prison in Oslo as well. At the end of the war, he was released to be a part of a ceremony in the village square involving the replacing of the Nazi flag with the Norwegian flag. A photo of that event sat on his coffee table. As the years passed I received several stories from family members and visited with him one more time. We exchanged baseball caps and his read, “10’21” NORDKAP and “TOP OF EUROPE”. His visit to the northernmost point of Europe had thrilled him and now I am the proud owner of that cap. He spent his life as a fisherman and his home was filled with the great books of history, including the English version of a “The old man and the sea”. He died at age 92. Rod Davidson

    1. I was drawn to this blog by your last name. My mother’s maiden name was Skjelver and we thought the name long dead. Was excited to read about your husband’s great-great aunt. She sounds like some of my mother’s aunts!

  2. I’m always deeply suspicious of family traditions about the past. People are always misremembering and/or making things sound better for one reason or another. Even if it’s unintentional, the story changes over time, as the people directly involved have less and less to do with the “memory”.

    1. Exactly, and that’s the point of documenting the story through outside sources.

      We have a raging controversy in my family about the origin of the Orcutts in America. The old tradition goes that we are Urquharts. The clan claimed us, and we claimed the clan. However, there is no DNA evidence to back this up, and an Orcutt genealogist in the 90s started looking for links among an Awcott family. Who knows? But it certainly is fun!

      By the way, do you have a blog? Your name link goes to your facebook account.

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