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Here stands Norwegian adventurer Jarl Andhoy at Den røde plass

Here stands Norwegian adventurer Jarl Andhoy at Den røde plass

On May 9, the Russians celebrated the so-called “Victory Day.”

On Red Square in Moscow, there was a large military parade. Russian soldiers and civilians filled the square to honor Russian soldiers who fought in World War II.

And in the middle of it all stood the Norwegian adventurer, sailor, and writer Jarl Andhoy. For several years he worked on a film project about Norwegian war sailors.

Andhøy managed to reach Den Rode plass during “Victory Day”. Photo: GoAlive.tv

– I am here to document the stories of the last surviving war heroes. What I have done for nearly 20 years is document stories from all sides of the war.

The documents took him out of Norway. Warships operate internationally. So far, Andhøy has been able to document veterans from the USA, Poland, France, England, Germany and Russia. Many of them, he says, relate to life events directly connected to the Norwegian merchant fleet and the efforts of its war mariners.

– Most of them, except for Japan, I haven't gotten there yet!

Andhøy was previously in the home of war veteran Eugenie Petrovic. Photo: GoAlive.tv

For a week, Andhui has been speaking to veterans who played various roles on the Russian side during the war. Among other things, he met 100-year-old Eugene Petrovich who was fighting in fierce battles during the defense of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Leningrad.

– His father, Pyotr Kurbatkov (age 43), and his twin brother, Vladimir (age 21), were killed by Hitler's soldiers in 1943. He himself was wounded during the defense of Stalingrad.

During the parade, Petrovic stood next to Vladimir Putin as he addressed the crowd.

FYI: Today Stalingrad is known as Volograd, while Leningrad is known as Saint Petersburg

Andhoy says Petrovich was Putin's guest of honor during the show. Photo: GoAlive.tv

In his speech, Putin claimed, among other things, that Russia was almost alone in the war against Nazi Germany. He also compared efforts during World War II to Russia's war against Ukraine.

Kari Agha Miklepost is a professor of history at the University of Tromsø, and for several years has worked closely with Russian researchers and correspondents in exile. It says that Putin revived Victory Day and that the Kremlin uses it today to build national military values.

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Putin's “Victory Day” is a celebration of militarism and images of the enemy, as the memory of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II blends with the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.

Karen Aga Myklepost
<-Karen Aga Myklepost

Professor of history

She says this year's Victory Day in Moscow is the first in which veterans from the “new war” – the front in Ukraine – take part in the parade in Red Square.

– Is there a risk that you would allow yourself to be used as part of Russian propaganda by attending such an event, Andhoi?

– It is not new that politicians from all sides and so-called experts and historians are promoting their narrative. The goal of my project – which I consider a project of building bridges and peace – is to document all aspects of the war by witnesses of that time who stood on the fronts. Without a filter and regardless of opinions, Russia's war history is unbelievable. While Hitler's Germany committed genocide against what he described as “subhumans,” the citizens of the Soviet Union resisted and brought down 80 percent of the Wehrmacht's war capabilities on the Eastern Front alone. No one can take away this history from the heroes who stood against the evil of Germany. Although we see that the world in both the Middle East and Europe challenges the truth of history, we must learn from the witnesses of that era and continue their true stories. It's my job to document these things before this generation dies.

– Do you think there will be reactions to your presence there?

-It's not important at all. In our time, I believe it is more important than ever for people to come together at the grassroots level, to speak together respectfully, and for world leaders and the people of the world to remember our shared history. Russian war heroes stood alone on the battlefield on the Eastern Front, but with vital supplies brought by Allied sailors. He says they deserve all the honor and glory they can get now, and for generations to come.

It continues:

The world must not forget the 27 million dead Soviets who were Russia's victims for breaking the backbone of Hitler's war machine, and who were absolutely crucial in securing the freedom we enjoy today. In this story, I am an insignificant part who is grateful to have met and documented these witnesses, who had absolutely incredible experiences and sacrificed large parts of their lives in the fight to defeat Hitler's evil.

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The last time Andhui visited Russia was before the pandemic in 2019. Also after that, he went with the aim of finding veterans.

Child soldier Eduard Vladimirovich obtained powdered milk and chocolate from the Norwegian merchant fleet, Andhoy says. Photo: GoAlive.tv

Since then, many of the people he met have died. He now says it is urgent to obtain testimonies from those who actually lived through the war.

-If you ask five historians about the same topic, they will often have different interpretations of history. While the witnesses of time who stood at the forefront are quite unique because they can tell their own stories of what they did and make this project an important project and a treasure for future generations. After all, they are the last before there are only memorials and historians to relay their stories again.

In Russia, Andhui had the opportunity to meet many people who had their own stories from the war.

War experiences in great battles and harsh experiences over many years form a completely different type of person. I feel honored to meet them. What all veterans have in common is that they all appreciate and appreciate what they have done. And they are grateful for that.

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In Red Square and everywhere in the city, he met many Russians who were walking around carrying flowers and posters of their ancestors who fought during the war.

– Due to the security situation, the part in which all the descendants who wanted to walk with photos and posters of their ancestors were in the parade, as was the case on the May 17 train, was canceled approximately. Many people still choose to go to town carrying photos of their ancestors to show their gratitude and honor them.

dated Bjorn Tore Roosendaal He believes all work to give veterans a voice deserves recognition.

– He says the lack of recognition is what defines being a war sailor, in a way.

Rosendahl helped start the War Sailors Register, where you can search for over 70,000 Norwegian and foreign sailors from the war days.

During the war itself, he says, wartime sailors were recognized and “lauded almost to the heavens” by both Norwegian and Allied authorities. It stopped shortly after they finally returned home. Many wartime sailors did not return to Norwegian soil until 1947, says Rosendahl.

Therefore, they were not allowed to participate in this celebration of peace and liberation. They were not allowed to leave their mark on the history of Norwegian efforts.

Bjorn Tore Roosendaal
<-Bjorn Tore Roosendaal

Rosendahl explains that wartime sailors were met with a lack of understanding, and many had problems obtaining ration cards and housing.

In addition, many of them had health problems that were not understood at the time – with trauma that was evident.

He says that after that there was a struggle between the sailors and their descendants to rectify this matter.

– I think that whatever can be done for the remaining few is very profitable. Anything that can give them a feeling of recognition is a good thing. I also think it is good for the descendants of those who are no longer alive. So I also hope that we can try to learn a little bit from that history, but unfortunately it is more difficult.