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Unsuccessful SS „Re-education“

Norwegian Karl Sondenaa spent a day at the International Tracing Service (ITS) at the end of May viewing original documents on his father´s imprisonment at the Buchenwald concentration camp. “It is incredible which details the Nazis registered,” he said.

Sondenaa had heard bits and pieces about his father´s life from his mother. His father died in 1948 when Sondenaa was just two years old, presumably as a result of his detention. “The reason I came here was to learn more,” he said. According to documents, student Karstein Magnus Sondenaa, born on 3 November 1918 in Stavanger, Norway, was arrested by the commander of Oslo´s Security Police on 30 November 1943 and transported to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

On the same day, approximately 1250 students at the University of Oslo were arrested after they repeatedly protested against the Nazification of the university. In January 1944 the Nazis deported 348 students to Buchenwald as political prisoners, where they were isolated from other prisoners in order to undergo an “SS re-education”. “The attempt was unsuccessful,” says Sondenaa.

His father was brought to Mühlhausen on 8 June 1944, and on 8 July 1944 returned to Norway a sick man. He finished his studies and he and his wife had their only son, Karl. “Unfortunately there was no further information on my father´s illness in the documents,” reported the Norwegian. “However, it is impressive to see my father´s prisoner´s card, effects card, registration card and all the lists on him.”