I would like to understand XU better but I don’t hold out much hope. I don’t have enough background in the history of Norway or the Norwegian resistance during World War II, so it all goes past me.
This subject comes under the heading Relatives Worth Reading About.
What I understand is that “XU (X for “unknown” and U for “undercover agent”) was a clandestine intelligence organisation working on behalf of Allied powers in occupied Norway during World War II. Though its work proved invaluable for operations against German operations in Norway, most of its operations, organization, etc., were kept secret until 1988.” (Wikipedia: XU, visited Mar,. 19, 2019)
In 1940 Germany launched a military assault that ended with its occupation of Norway. XU was part of the Norwegian Resistance. Wikipedia tells me in broad terms that XU was a group of Norwegians — some 1500 by the end of the war — who collected information about German troop movements in Norway and transmitted that information to Great Britain. The group’s existence was kept secret even after the War.
The original core group were military men. According to Wikipedia, “[I]ts further development relied heavily upon recruiting students from the University of Oslo. As it grew, the group also included professionals around Norway, within railroads, police and so on, and collected maps and photos of German fortifications and forces.“
If I understand the timeline correctly, one of those students was Swanstrom cousin Otto Øgrim (1913-2006). His Wikipedia biography (2019) says, “During the Second World War, Øgrim together with Arvid Storsveen was central in establishing the secret intelligence organization XU, from its start in the summer of 1940. After Storsveen had to flee to Sweden in 1942 and was shot and killed by the Gestapo in 1943, Øgrim continued as a central XU operative in southern Norway under Øistein Strømnæs and Anne-Sofie Østvedt. He was not exposed before the end of the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany in May 1945.“
We have other interesting relatives in this part of the family tree. Otto Øgrim’s sister Ruth married Brynjulf Bull, mayor of Oslo. She and I exchanged genealogical information in the 1970s and 80s. Otto’s children are political activists Tron Øgrim and Leikny Øgrim. Leikny married Lars Borgersud, an historian who specializes in World War II. (His efforts to get information released seems to be worth its own article but I don’t know enough to write it.) Their children are Elling and Aslak Borgersrud, members of the Norwegian hip hop band Gatas Parlament.
If you’re like me, you might start off not knowing much about World War II in Scandinavia. Here are some YouTube videos I used to “catch up”.
- Germany Invades Scandinavia (1940)
- Norway 1940: Operation Weserübung
- Trial of Vidkun Quisling (in English his name has become a synonym for traitor)
- WW2 Documentary – The Battle for Norway (English Subtitles)
Now I’m off to listen to Johnny Horton, Sink the Bismarck. I’m much better at that part of the war. If that’s something you’d like to know more about, I recommend watching Sink The Bismarck, a 1996 documentary from The History Channel.