Hanna Kristine Kvanmo (June 14, 1926 in Sandtorg, outside the town of Harstad in NorwayJune 23, 2005 in Arendal) was a Norwegian politician from the Socialist Left Party. At the height of her political career she was considered one of the most popular politicians in Norway, much thanks to her honest, down-to-earth style. Template:Fact

Early lifeEdit

During World War II, Kvanmo worked as a nurse for the German Red Cross on the Eastern Front, and in the last days of the war she found herself in Berlin. She was tried and convicted of treason on behalf of the German occupying authorities following the war. She was given an 8 month prison sentence, and a ten year suspension of her rights as a citizen. The International Committee of the Red Cross protested against Norway for the practice of convicting Norwegian nurses who worked with the German Red Cross, arguing that such convictions were in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Never the less, any collaboration with the Nazi occupiers was considered an act of treason by Norwegian authorities.

Her activities during the war were often questioned later in her political carrier in the Socialist Left Party. In 1990 she wrote the book Dommen ("The Verdict"), where she made an open account about her reasons for joining the German Red Cross, and her experience of the treason trial. Among other things, she wrote that the she experinced the conviction as such a heavy burden she considered taking her own life. The book became a national besteller in Norway, selling more than 83,000 copies.

Political careerEdit

At the age of 36 Kvanmo earned a university degree with distinction and worked as a gymnasium teacher in Rana, Norway from 1962 to 1973. Here she was eventually persuaded into joining local politics, and in 1973 she was elected to parliament, representing the Socialist Left Party (SV). From 1977 she served as the parliamentary leader for the party. Her outspoken and humorous character made her popular with the general public Template:Fact, and she quickly became the most prominent member of SV at a very decisive period for the party. In 1975 and 1981 she was also a delegate to the UN general assembly. She retired from parliament in 1989. From 1991 to 2002, she was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, serving as the committee's vice chairman 1993-1998.

Kvanmo was known as an opponent of the EU, she was also a dedicated peace activist. After retiring from parliament she moved with her husband to southern Norway and the town of Arendal, where she focused most of her energy on being a grandmother and a great grandmother. When asked about modern politics in 1999 - ten years after she left parliament - she said: "I wouldn't touch it with a fire-poker." At the point when SV was the smallest party in parliament with only two delegates, she said in a speech in a plenary session that as long as she was in parliament, the party would take up considerable space in the building, referring to her own full figure. In 1985 Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet published an opinion poll about the most admired Norwegians. Among men, King Olav V was the most admired, among women it was Hanna Kvanmo. When asked to explain such popularity she answered, "I was just myself." Template:Fact

As the news of her death made headlines in Norway, her memory was heralded among former political friends and adversaries. Party colleague Berge Furre talked about her "borderless solidarity for the small. She gave politics a warm face." Former prime minister from the conservative party, Kåre Willoch said of her: "She was one of the most visible politicians of her time. She had immense significance for the Socialist Left Party and perhaps saved it during a difficult time." He continued, "Her form was unusual, but she won respect. She was one of the political colleagues one will remember for as long as you have your memory. Exceptional." Former Labour leader and prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland called her "an unusually skilled debater, full of humor and fearless." Erik Solheim, SV-leader in the years following Kvanmo's retirement summed her up as somebody "who always cared for the individual, at a time when the Norwegian left wing was dominated by theorists." Stein Ørnhøi, who was Kvanmo's party colleague for a four year term when SV only had two representatives in parliament, summed her up as "the last of her kind in Norwegian politics. There will never be anyone like her again."

Kvanmo spoke Norwegian, German and English fluently.


  • Derfor (1985)
  • Glis (1986)
  • Dommen (1990)
  • Anders Langes saga (1993, with A. Rygnestad).

External linksEdit

no:Hanna Kvanmo nn:Hanna Kvanmo

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