Studinger (Arnborg), Gerd
Member of Norwegian Resistance
Studinger, nee Arnborg, was born in Tunsberg, Norway, one of the oldest cities in Norway. After completing her education, Studinger accepted a position as a student counsellor at the University of Oslo. Following the invasion of Norway by Germany in April 1940, she was approached at the University by an unknown person and asked whether she would work for the Norwegian resistance movement. She readily accepted. Her recruiter asked her whether she would be scared doing clandestine work. When she answered in the affirmative, her contact told her that it was an asset since those who were not afraid might become careless.
Studinger’s assignment in the Norwegian resistance was to code or decode, and to exchange messages with agents of the Norwegian government-in-exile located in Denmark. These messages were broadcast by a radio operator who belonged to the Norwegian resistance. She was required to pick up a deposit made into her mailbox; then to transcribe the message into code or to decode it; and then to replace it into her mailbox. Coding was done according to a code book provided to her containing an intricate method of constantly changing the code.
Studinger never met the person who delivered or picked up the messages although she presumed that it was the radio operator. For security reasons she did not meet anyone else in the operation except for the person who initially contacted here and she used the code name “Lucifer.”
Since Studinger knew the contents of the messages sent and received, she was in constant danger of being detected which would have resulted in serious consequences. German counter-intelligence eventually found the radio transmitter site located in a church tower, but they did not capture the radio operator.
After the liberation of Norway, Studinger was awarded a “Zero System” medal by Norwegian Crown Prince Olaf for her meritorious service. The medal and award were displayed during the interview.
Although the Norwegian Jewish pre-World War II population numbered only about 1,700 people, Studinger had a Jewish family of seven as her neighbors in Tunsberg. The three oldest children of this family fled to Sweden but the parents and the two youngest boys were arrested by the Germans and perished in a concentration camp.
Studinger told of a trip to Germany in 1939 where a German university student and two SS soldiers whom she met told her that war was imminent. She didn’t believe it. She also told of the way many Norwegians showed their opposition to the German occupation by wearing a paper clip on their clothing. It was to indicate that they “stick together.”
After the war Studinger emigrated to the United States.
Date: March 27, 2001
Length: 1 hour
Interviewer: Hans Weinmann
Format: Video recording