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Europe/Other : The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

 

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Guthrum
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26 May 2015
01:52:53pm
Whenever I write up a page in my collection, I like to find out about the person or incident a stamp commemorates, which, thanks to modern technology, is no longer difficult to do. Often the personalities are specialists in their field - famous writers, nationalist politicians, composers and suchlike. Just occasionally I find one whose life story transcends this sort of single-issue fame: I posted one such on the Russian thread of this topic earlier today.

Here is another, but this time I'm not going to attempt a potted biography - the man is just too amazing, and not a little ambiguous. The stamp was issued in occupied Norway in July 1944, and referenced an anniversary of its subject's North Sea Flight - so he was an aviator...

Image Not Found

But Major Tryggve Gran, DSC, MC, was much more than that! I'm going to leave it up to you to look him up on the internet - and see if you agree with me that his was one of the most remarkable life stories to appear on stamps in the last century.

And if you haven't got this stamp in your football topic collection, I want to know why not!

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Bobstamp
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26 May 2015
02:50:00pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

I have that stamp, but I've never known anything about it. Fascinating story. Thank you, Guthrum! Here's a link to the Wikipedia article about Tryggive Gran.

I was interested in the information about his membership in the Nasjonal Samling (NS), Vidkun Quisling's Nationalist Party. Quisling. Now there's another fascinating war story!

Bob

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

26 May 2015
04:59:44pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

so, RAF and RCAF pilot in first war, Quisling promoter in second. Interestingly, Quisling is a term used in the book World War Z to describe those who immitated the creatures they most feared (and it's a fascinating episode, whose teller describes the word as coming "from the French or something"; it's a book that doesn't condescend to its readers).

thanks Ian and Bob

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HungaryForStamps
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26 May 2015
10:18:18pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Collaborateur would be a more apt term for this guy, given that's what "Quisling" is associated with, or opportunist.

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nigelc
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27 May 2015
12:13:12pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

When I was young "quisling" was often used in the papers to mean traitor.

I hear and see the word much less often these days.

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Bobstamp
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27 May 2015
01:24:01pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

From Wikipedia:

"A quisling (/ˈkwɪzlɪŋ/; Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈkʋɪsˈlɪŋ]) is a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force.[1][2][3] The word originates from the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during the Second World War."



Quisling and traitor are synonymous.

I have no doubt that the vocabulary of today's "average person" in their reading, speaking, writing, and listening is far smaller than the vocabulary of of their parents, which in turn was smaller than the vocabulary of their parents. I know from too many conversations that the title of my web site, Ephemeral Treasures, baffles many people. Just as they have trouble pronouncing or understanding the word philately, they can't pronounce ephemeral and don't understand what it means. Should I change the title to Valuable Things that Last for a Markedly Brief Time?

Anyway, here is an ephemeral treasure, a Norwegian cover franked with Quisling stamps issued in 1942:

Image Not Found

Considering that Quisling had become the Minister-President of Norway, and no doubt had the final word in what stamps were issued, this Quisling stamp is surely a good example of a narcissistic stamp!

Bob
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HungaryForStamps
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27 May 2015
06:14:32pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Very attractive cover.

When I think of narcissistic stamps I immediately think of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. He's still dead right?

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Blaamand
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WW collector at heart

27 May 2015
11:09:02pm
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Bob - That's a really nice cover!! I'm from Norway myself and can tell you that even in Norway we do not see such fine covers too often. btw - you probably know already, still I want to point out that the cancellation 'Førstedagsstempel' equals First Day Cover. So it's a keeper!Cool


Gutrum - I like the question in your thread! I would say the general feeling in Norway nowadays towards Trygve Gran is high recognition for his achievements, as in a hero. What he did during WW2 made him a 'victim of the system' rather than a quisling. He chose the wrong path during WW2, working for the nazis. But many others also worked for them, like entrepreneurs etc, without being condemned. And he had one very good reason most others did not - because he had been fighting with Royal air force during WW1 he was afraid the Germans would penalize him as an enemy, so he chose to work with them rather than hide from them. As far as I know he did not perform any act of evil towards any of his countrymen. His name was in low regard immediately after the war, but he has been gradually forgiven as the years have gone by. After the war, the government was very eager to hunt down anyone with links to the nazis, and they probably went a bit far in many of their cases. Even Norwegian women working for the red-cross on the eastern front - saving lives - were punished as collaborators! And if the person in question was a former hero - like Gran or Knut Hamsun, that person would be punished even harder.

Vidkun Quisling on the other hand, he was in a completely other league. Using his name in Norway is almost like swearing. You are correct that quisling is internationally considered synonymous with collaborator (the negative meaning of the word, cooperating with the enemy). However here in Norway he is remembered as MUCH worse than 'only' a mere collaborator, even today 75 years after he un-democratically gained power. There has been no reasons whatsoever to give Quisling any kind of pardon or understanding for his actions. The reason for this is that he did not only help the nazis - he was much worse than them, more extreme and inflicted much more suffering to the Norwegian people than the nazis would have done without his evil assistance Angry.

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Guthrum
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28 May 2015
05:56:06am
re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Thanks for that, Jon - 'local' information we cannot easily get otherwise.

A key issue was also raised: to what extent did the powers-that-be have any say in (or even the slightest interest in) the stamps that were issued in wartime? This has been almost impossible to find out (I've been asking for information re the Third Reich for years), no matter which country it concerns. I suspect the issue or choice of stamps would have come from Terboven's office, rather than that of Quisling, but equally I suspect neither man would have bothered themselves with such details.

Some more points of interest: Harold Damsleth (1906-1971), designer of most wartime Norwegian stamps (including the ones shown on this thread), as well as numerous NS posters, was tried only a week after liberation. He pleaded ignorance of Nazi activities. In 1950 he was sentenced to five years' hard labour for treason, serving two before his release.

And of course the mighty Gran was a member of Norway's first ever international football team, against Sweden in 1908. Norway lost 11-3. I hope TG was not in goal!

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Author/Postings
Members Picture
Guthrum

26 May 2015
01:52:53pm

Whenever I write up a page in my collection, I like to find out about the person or incident a stamp commemorates, which, thanks to modern technology, is no longer difficult to do. Often the personalities are specialists in their field - famous writers, nationalist politicians, composers and suchlike. Just occasionally I find one whose life story transcends this sort of single-issue fame: I posted one such on the Russian thread of this topic earlier today.

Here is another, but this time I'm not going to attempt a potted biography - the man is just too amazing, and not a little ambiguous. The stamp was issued in occupied Norway in July 1944, and referenced an anniversary of its subject's North Sea Flight - so he was an aviator...

Image Not Found

But Major Tryggve Gran, DSC, MC, was much more than that! I'm going to leave it up to you to look him up on the internet - and see if you agree with me that his was one of the most remarkable life stories to appear on stamps in the last century.

And if you haven't got this stamp in your football topic collection, I want to know why not!

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.
Members Picture
Bobstamp

26 May 2015
02:50:00pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

I have that stamp, but I've never known anything about it. Fascinating story. Thank you, Guthrum! Here's a link to the Wikipedia article about Tryggive Gran.

I was interested in the information about his membership in the Nasjonal Samling (NS), Vidkun Quisling's Nationalist Party. Quisling. Now there's another fascinating war story!

Bob

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www.ephemeraltreasur ...
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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
26 May 2015
04:59:44pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

so, RAF and RCAF pilot in first war, Quisling promoter in second. Interestingly, Quisling is a term used in the book World War Z to describe those who immitated the creatures they most feared (and it's a fascinating episode, whose teller describes the word as coming "from the French or something"; it's a book that doesn't condescend to its readers).

thanks Ian and Bob

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link. ...
Members Picture
HungaryForStamps

26 May 2015
10:18:18pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Collaborateur would be a more apt term for this guy, given that's what "Quisling" is associated with, or opportunist.

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
nigelc

27 May 2015
12:13:12pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

When I was young "quisling" was often used in the papers to mean traitor.

I hear and see the word much less often these days.

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
Bobstamp

27 May 2015
01:24:01pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

From Wikipedia:

"A quisling (/ˈkwɪzlɪŋ/; Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈkʋɪsˈlɪŋ]) is a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force.[1][2][3] The word originates from the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during the Second World War."



Quisling and traitor are synonymous.

I have no doubt that the vocabulary of today's "average person" in their reading, speaking, writing, and listening is far smaller than the vocabulary of of their parents, which in turn was smaller than the vocabulary of their parents. I know from too many conversations that the title of my web site, Ephemeral Treasures, baffles many people. Just as they have trouble pronouncing or understanding the word philately, they can't pronounce ephemeral and don't understand what it means. Should I change the title to Valuable Things that Last for a Markedly Brief Time?

Anyway, here is an ephemeral treasure, a Norwegian cover franked with Quisling stamps issued in 1942:

Image Not Found

Considering that Quisling had become the Minister-President of Norway, and no doubt had the final word in what stamps were issued, this Quisling stamp is surely a good example of a narcissistic stamp!

Bob
Like 
2 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

www.ephemeraltreasur ...
Members Picture
HungaryForStamps

27 May 2015
06:14:32pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Very attractive cover.

When I think of narcissistic stamps I immediately think of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. He's still dead right?

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
Blaamand

WW collector at heart
27 May 2015
11:09:02pm

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Bob - That's a really nice cover!! I'm from Norway myself and can tell you that even in Norway we do not see such fine covers too often. btw - you probably know already, still I want to point out that the cancellation 'Førstedagsstempel' equals First Day Cover. So it's a keeper!Cool


Gutrum - I like the question in your thread! I would say the general feeling in Norway nowadays towards Trygve Gran is high recognition for his achievements, as in a hero. What he did during WW2 made him a 'victim of the system' rather than a quisling. He chose the wrong path during WW2, working for the nazis. But many others also worked for them, like entrepreneurs etc, without being condemned. And he had one very good reason most others did not - because he had been fighting with Royal air force during WW1 he was afraid the Germans would penalize him as an enemy, so he chose to work with them rather than hide from them. As far as I know he did not perform any act of evil towards any of his countrymen. His name was in low regard immediately after the war, but he has been gradually forgiven as the years have gone by. After the war, the government was very eager to hunt down anyone with links to the nazis, and they probably went a bit far in many of their cases. Even Norwegian women working for the red-cross on the eastern front - saving lives - were punished as collaborators! And if the person in question was a former hero - like Gran or Knut Hamsun, that person would be punished even harder.

Vidkun Quisling on the other hand, he was in a completely other league. Using his name in Norway is almost like swearing. You are correct that quisling is internationally considered synonymous with collaborator (the negative meaning of the word, cooperating with the enemy). However here in Norway he is remembered as MUCH worse than 'only' a mere collaborator, even today 75 years after he un-democratically gained power. There has been no reasons whatsoever to give Quisling any kind of pardon or understanding for his actions. The reason for this is that he did not only help the nazis - he was much worse than them, more extreme and inflicted much more suffering to the Norwegian people than the nazis would have done without his evil assistance Angry.

Like 
4 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

"Don't worry - be stampy!"
Members Picture
Guthrum

28 May 2015
05:56:06am

re: The Norwegian Major - Hero or Traitor?

Thanks for that, Jon - 'local' information we cannot easily get otherwise.

A key issue was also raised: to what extent did the powers-that-be have any say in (or even the slightest interest in) the stamps that were issued in wartime? This has been almost impossible to find out (I've been asking for information re the Third Reich for years), no matter which country it concerns. I suspect the issue or choice of stamps would have come from Terboven's office, rather than that of Quisling, but equally I suspect neither man would have bothered themselves with such details.

Some more points of interest: Harold Damsleth (1906-1971), designer of most wartime Norwegian stamps (including the ones shown on this thread), as well as numerous NS posters, was tried only a week after liberation. He pleaded ignorance of Nazi activities. In 1950 he was sentenced to five years' hard labour for treason, serving two before his release.

And of course the mighty Gran was a member of Norway's first ever international football team, against Sweden in 1908. Norway lost 11-3. I hope TG was not in goal!

Like 
1 Member
likes this post.
Login to Like.
        

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