The Final Journey of Anders J. Smedsvik
September 15, 2017 6:30 AM   Subscribe

For three weeks in 1972 and then again in 1974, the sea captain, communist, farmer, prisoner of war, adventurer, local politician and peace activist Anders Jenius Smedsvik was a household name in south-west Norway. Then he disappeared and has been forgotten ever since. This is the first time his story has been told in full.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage (12 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
posted by acb at 6:51 AM on September 15, 2017

This article is an incredible find, what an amazing life the man lead. And a son named Odin Omar. That's the perfect detail.
posted by Diablevert at 7:10 AM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wow. This reminded me of Isak in Growth of the Soil. Agrarian/Mariner individualism and iconoclasm runs deep in Norway.
posted by notyou at 7:18 AM on September 15, 2017

Great piece (by Anders Fjellberg); thanks for posting it!
posted by languagehat at 7:46 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by LobsterMitten at 7:58 AM on September 15, 2017

Thank you for posting this- what a great story about an amazing life! I had to look up the Grini concentration camp in which he was imprisoned and was surprised that it continues to be used as a prison for the most dangerous criminals in Norway, including Anders Breivik...
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 10:25 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

(He's got Kramer hair!)

Norwegians are tough. I've been reading accounts of my dad's forebears moving into rural Minnesota 150+ years ago, and they just showed up and...endured. Storms, indian attacks, bad weather -- they put down their heads, worked harder, and prayed some more, and came out the other side.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:58 AM on September 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

This was awesome, thanks so much for posting!
posted by Grither at 11:03 AM on September 15, 2017

Norwegians ARE tough. The first transatlantic crossing in a rowboat (!) was undertaken by two Norwegians and their feat was duplicated only a few years ago so the maritime adventuring goes back a way. And then there is their resistance to Nazism during WW2. And their defiant response to Breivik.
posted by interglossa at 12:15 PM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

And then there is their resistance to Nazism during WW2

And how low-key they were/are about it, too: my uncle married a woman who had emigrated from Norway as a little girl. Her dad had been in the resistance, but no one ever made much of a big deal about it. No big thang....
posted by wenestvedt at 7:22 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Excellent post, thanks for bringing it.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:26 AM on September 16, 2017

Neat post.

My Norwegian family were (and still are) all fishers, farmers, shepherds, weavers, builders, and intellectuals in the Lofoten. The "intellectual" bit is a little off-topic but so fun I have to mention it: this would be because there were so many illegitimate children of the clergy among my ancestors. And yet every single time, the clergyman in question did everything he could to ensure his children thrived; women included. One of my ancestresses was the first woman in northern Norway to inherit land. And she was illegitimate.

Another of the illegitimate children was my great-great-grandfather, whose parentage sent him off to the remotest corners of Lofoten he could find. He moved three times. Each time in longboats with oars. They'd deconstruct the house and put everything in the boats, row to the new homestead and put everything together again. Great-great-grandfather's youngest grandchild (so, my grandfather's first cousin) is still alive and told me how the last move went: they put everything in the boats, started rowing. A storm rolled in. One of the boats capsized along with everything in it. They recovered all of it. "It was an adventure!" he added gleefully.

Keep in mind that the warmest the Norwegian Sea gets up there in summer is maybe 15 degrees Celsius (60F) and this happened roundabouts 80 years ago (grandfather's cousin is 96).
posted by fraula at 12:49 PM on September 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

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