Professor Dr. Michael Custodis (University of Münster)

Portrait der Neuberufenen Professoren an der Uni Münster, 2011

Project title: Music and Resistance. Cultural Opposition during the German Occupation of Norway 1940-45

The role of music within the Norwegian resistance movement proves to be an exceptional example for music as means of cultural opposition. In contrast to partisans and military agents the impact of civil endeavors cannot be told along spectacular events. Its many supporters (a few famous musicians, some local celebrities and innumerous today unknown activists) rather used artistic instead of militant means to keep up a patriotic spirit, symbolized in the telling Norwegian word „holdningskamp“: Action in total awareness of the danger for oneself, one’s relatives and combatants they used all sorts of public and clandestine musical statements to demonstrate opposition, spread information, contradict the legitimacy of the German occupants, ridicule the official propaganda and raise the moral strength of fellow countrymen in Norway and abroad. Their indispensable advantage was the popular belief of art as an apolitical matter so that music even could reach into fields that would had been inaccessible to open political agitation.

Due to the large degree of liberty that Norway was offered involuntarily by Nazi-Germany the civil resistance movement could develop extraordinary versatile structures. This enables pioneering model-building. The estimated book project will discuss the specifics of music within different social, cultural and historical settings in Norway:

  • SIVORG and Music
  • Exiled Counterpropaganda
  • Concerts in Churches, Orchestral and Choir Performances and Resistance within Military Music Units
  • Music in Prison and Concentration Camps
  • Post-War Consequences



Ass.-Prof. Dr. Arnulf Mattes (University of Bergen)



Ina Rupprecht, M.A. (University of Münster)

Project title: Touring – Emigration – „Truppenbetreuung“. German Musicians in Norway 1930-45


Andreas Bußmann, M.A. (University of Münster)

Project title: Conducting Ideology. German Music Policies for Occupied Norway 1940-45

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