More than 13,700 Soviet prisoners of war died in German camps in Norway during World War II. More than 8000 fallen are buried at Tjøtta war cemetery in Alstahaug municipality in Nordland. The cemetery was established in the early 1950s, when Soviet graves from all over North Norway were moved there.
Only 825 of the graves at Tjøtta are marked with a name, but through a project carried out by the Falstad Centre in 2009-2011, nearly 5000 new victims have been identified. They will now get their names on memorial plaques at the cemetery.
The Ministry of Culture has announced a public tender on marking of and general renovation of the cemetery. The contract has a 4.8 million NOK (€550,932) frame and consists of setting up new bronze plaques with names, as well as general renovation of the historical cemetery with walls, steps, signs, driving area and green areas. The work should be completed by November 2015.
Head of the Barents Institute Marianne Neerland Soleim has been working on the issue of Soviet prisoners of war in Norway for more than a decade, and was central in the Falstad Centre’s work to identify the buried prisoners at Tjøtta. During the celebration of the 70th anniversary for the liberation of Eastern Finnmark in October 2014, Soleim was given President Vladimir Putin’s letter of appreciation for her “significant contribution in keeping alive the memory of those who died defending their Fatherland and preserving Soviet military graves,” as BarentsObserver reported.