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Nordag - hiking trail along war memorials in Saudasjøen

Discover the fascinating history of Sauda during World War II! The trail takes you through the historical tracks and war memorials.

Northag, Sauda municipality, Ryfylke


Parking at Sauda Fjord Hotel, Risvoll School, or at Sauda Fjord Camping in Saudasjøen. The trail primarily goes through Saudasjøen, where the Nordag factory was located. You can walk the trail as you wish.


For more information, see here: https://www.krigsminnesauda.com/om


Sauda during World War II


During the Second World War, Sauda was of interest to the German occupying forces for two reasons: one was access to hydroelectric power, and the other was the EFP smelting plant in Sauda. EFP was one of the largest suppliers of ferroalloys, an important component in steel, and thus a crucial resource for the German armaments industry. The German Air Force, Luftwaffe, needed large quantities of aluminum for the production of warplanes.

Nordag Program
The Nordag program was developed based on this and aimed to achieve a giant production of approximately 150,000 tons of aluminum per year. To accomplish this, new factories had to be built to produce and deliver such quantities. Sauda was one of several places where the German occupying forces heavily invested. During the war years 1942-1945, a new factory was established in Saudasjøen.

The Factory
The factory in Saudasjøen was intended to produce alumina. The process involved using bauxite or labradorite as raw materials. This raw material was melted in one of the furnaces at the EFP smelting plant inside Sauda. This initial stage of the process produced pig iron as a byproduct, but the main product was slag called alumina. The slag was transported from the smelting plant in Sauda via a new railway to the new factory in Saudasjøen, where it was refined.

The Barrack Town
The construction of the large facility, including the railway, factory buildings, storage facilities, dam structures, and power stations, meant a significant amount of work and new job opportunities. There was some unemployment at the time, and both locals and newcomers found employment. Additionally, the German occupying forces used forced laborers for various tasks in Sauda. There were over a thousand Soviet forced laborers, as well as French and Danish workers. At its peak, the population in Sauda exceeded 7,000. There was a shortage of housing throughout the village, leading to the construction of an entire "town" of barracks in Saudasjøen.

The End of the Factory
Production at the fully automated alumina factory in Saudasjøen began on January 13, 1944, and the factory produced approximately 9,000 tons of alumina until the spring of 1945. The Germans spent about 178 million Norwegian kroner on the Sauda facility. Due to issues such as a lack of labor and access to materials, plans for other facilities in Norway were scaled back. The Saudasjøen factory was the only one to go into production before the war ended. The plant in Saudasjøen was demolished in 1951, and the equipment was relocated to the aluminum plant in Øvre Årdal. Although the factory buildings were removed shortly after the war, there are still physical traces of the facility and the war scattered around Saudasjøen. Dam structures, fences, and artillery positions bear witness to a time when the village looked completely different than it does today. You can see these war remnants along the hiking trail.

Source: Reisemål Ryfylke

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Nordag - hiking trail along war memorials in Saudasjøen

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