Olaf Helset

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File:Olaf Helset.jpg
Olaf Helset in 1945

Olaf Helset (28 July 1892 – 21 August 1960) was a Norwegian military officer with the rank of Major General, and a sports administrator. He played a central role in the early resistance during the German occupation of Norway, both civil and military resistance. He was later in command of the Norwegian police troops in exile in Sweden. After the war he served as head of the Norwegian Army for two years.

Personal life

Helset was born in Nannestad, as the son of Peder Helset and Ingeborg Kristiane Skjegstad. He grew up in Romerike. He married Nini Eugenie Hansen in 1920.[1]

Early career

Helset graduated from the Norwegian Military Academy in 1915, from the State Gymnastics School in 1917, and from the Norwegian Military College in 1919.[1]

He chaired the sports club IL i BUL in 1917, 1920–1922, 1923–1924, 1925–1926 and 1927.[2]

World War II

During the Norwegian Campaign in 1940 Helset was in command at the Battle of Midtskogen. As a sports leader he fronted the sports boycott against the Nazi authorities. He was also a leader in the military organization Milorg, the main Norwegian resistance movement during the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. Helset was arrested in 1941, but eventually released from prison and fled to Sweden. There, he worked first as a refugee chief 1943-44 and then 1944-45 as head of the Norwegian police forces in Sweden [3]

For his war efforts, he was decorated with the Norwegian War Cross with Sword (1949), Finnish Freedom Cross in gold, the British King's Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom and other foreign decorations.[1]

Later career

Helset served as Head of the Norwegian Army from 1946 to 1948, when he resigned after a conflict with the government on defense policy. After his resignation he served as head of the district of Southern Norway, with the rank of Major General. He served as commander of the Fredriksten fortress from 1951 to 1953. He was a leader of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports from 1946 to 1948. In 1947 he was decorated Commander with Star of the Order of St. Olav. He was a Commander of the French Légion d'honneur and Commander of the Swedish Order of the Sword.[1][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Arntzen, John Gunnar. "Olaf Helset". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 December 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Og byen er vår bror...". Bondeungdomslaget i Oslo 1899-1989 (in Norwegian). p. 280.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Tønnesson, Stein (1995). "Helset, Olaf". In Dahl, Hjeltnes, Nøkleby, Ringdal, Sørensen (ed.). Norsk krigsleksikon 1940-45 (in Norwegian). Oslo: Cappelen. pp. 167–168. ISBN 82-02-14138-9. Retrieved 7 December 2009.CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Henriksen, Petter (ed.). "Olaf Helset". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 7 December 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Nicolai Ramm Østgaard
Chairman of the Norwegian Ski Federation
Succeeded by
Gunnar Jahr
Preceded by
Alfred Schläppi,
Heinrich Schläppi
President of Organizing Committee for Winter Olympic Games (with Haakon VII of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway & House of Glücksburg )
Succeeded by
Enrico Colli