In the period 1942–43, more than 200 prisoners were executed and buried in mass graves in the Falstad Forest. After the war, the bodies were exhumed. We have reason to believe that there are still unregistered graves in the forest.
Who were the victims?
The victims executed in the Falstad Forest included 43 Norwegians, 74 Yugoslavs and more than 100 Soviet citizens. The exact number of victims is unknown. A majority of the victims were prisoners of war from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.
For the Yugoslav prisoners, Falstad became a death camp. Many of the prisoners with death sentences only spent a short time in prison before their execution. Among the Norwegian victims, ten men were picked out as a reprisal for attempted sabotages. Another 24 men were sentenced to death as a result of the so-called Majavatn Tragedy. They were all executed during the state of emergency in October 1942.
The nazis removed traces
Just before liberation in 1945, the Nazis opened many graves to conceal their misdeeds. Witnesses recount that around 20–25 victims were sunk into the Trondheimsfjorden in an old boat. There have been many attempts to find the boat, but so far without result.
In 1989 the Ministry of Environment granted statutory protection to the Falstad Forest as an execution site and war cemetery, with authorisation in the Cultural Heritage Act. Today the Falstad Forest is a national memorial site. Several memorials have been erected to commemorate the prisoners who were executed.