There’s a sense of trepidation as the Norwegian student moves towards a secret panel in his attic that conceals a hidden room. With little to no idea as to what could be lurking behind it, he and his housemates are surely hesitant to pull away the panel – but when they do, they couldn’t possibly have predicted what they’d find inside.
Reddit user mYNDIG lives in Norway. And in 2013 he discovered a secret panel in the attic of the house he was living in and shared images of the incredible find online.
It was his landlord who’d first told him and his friends that there may be a secret room hidden somewhere in the house. And while they didn’t know the room’s exact whereabouts, in order to stave off exam revision they began the search.
Eventually, they arrived at the attic and lowered the ladder to gain access. They then clambered up to the top level – only to initially find nothing more than an old IKEA bag and a dusty, disused rug.
A subsequent closer look still revealed nothing. In fact, so well concealed was the room that the students almost didn’t find what they were looking for altogether.
Luckily, though, they didn’t go away empty handed. One of the students stretched against one of the attic’s walls, and as if by magic, it moved. As a result, the location of the hidden door was revealed.
As they stepped inside, the group were in for a shock. And yet they couldn’t possibly have known how events that had occurred seven decades prior would prove relevant; to their eyes, all they had uncovered was an old, long-abandoned hideout.
On April 9, 1940, seven months after World War Two began in earnest, the German occupation of Norway commenced. Furthermore, two months later, the Scandinavian country was lost to its invaders.
However, while the official armed resistance had capitulated, a secondary, secret resistance movement emerged in the months that followed. The two main strands of the campaign were outright fighting – including raids and assassinations – and widespread civil disobedience.
The latter involved everything from wearing paper clips – as a sign of solidarity – to completely ignoring Germans in public. Attempts were also made to quash Nazi propaganda through the printing of outlawed newspapers.
Among the fascinating objects that the students discovered in the room was an old handwritten sign which had remained remarkably intact. Its roughly translated message read, “If you have a bad stomach, then you don’t have access.”
The room also housed a crude-looking alarm system and a map of Western Europe. At this point, the situation surely began to seem slightly more serious than first imagined.
Yet while they didn’t know exactly what they’d stumbled upon, mYNDIG described the find as “the best prize” on reddit. Meanwhile, several commenters advised the housemates to contact a local historian to see if they could provide more information.
Before they had a chance to do so, however, they received a knock at the door from a local journalist and, indeed, a historian. Both had read about the students’ findings online, and both were keen to give them the information they were after.
The duo revealed that the room had indeed been part of the civil disobedience campaign. From December 1944 to March 1945 it was used to print illegal newspapers – and the historian even had a short video recording of the operation in action.
Members of the resistance wrote stories obtained from the BBC’s radio service. Unfortunately, however, they were forced to abandon the hideout after just a few months following a series of searches by the Gestapo, the Nazi regime’s secret police.
The students also noticed that the walls were covered in the names of Polish towns and cities. They assumed, therefore, that the newspaper’s staff had been tracking the Soviet advancement into the country.
The room was secured via a makeshift locking mechanism involving a large nail that sealed the space from the outside. After seven decades, though, the lock no longer worked.
The historian also reckoned that the “bad stomach” sign, which could be seen in the footage, was likely an inside joke between the room’s occupants. The secrets behind the alarm system, however, remained hidden – as following the wires would have required knocking down one of the walls.
While the Gestapo never discovered the room, one of the newspaper’s volunteers, Åge Thorvaldsen, was ultimately found and held as a prisoner of war. The history behind the hidden room is absolutely fascinating, and it truly was an incredible discovery for the students. After all, it’s not every day that you find a relic of World War Two concealed inside your attic.