Harald Damsleth

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Harald Damsleth.

Harald Damsleth (b. 16 August 1906 in Bremen, German Empire; d. 1 March 1971 in Oslo, Norway) was a German-Norwegian cartoonist, illustrator and ad-man. He is best known for his posters for the Nasjonal Samling (NS).


Damsleth's father was the engineer Olaf Martinius Damsleth (1878–1957), his mother was the German Katharina Elise, née Foss (1878–1917). His father worked at a shipyard in Bremen when he was born, and had settled there. But when the mother died when Damsleth was seven years old, the father moved with his son back to Norway to work at Fredrikstad Mekaniske Verksted, and Harald Damsleth grew up in Østfold.

After his studies in Berlin, he worked for a period for several advertising agencies in Norway, but traveled to the United States in 1933 for work and further studies, however, he returned to Norway the following year.

During his time in the USA, he visited Chicago and Hollywood, among other places, where he auditioned for Walt Disney. When he visited the United States again in 1939, he was offered a job working for Disney, which he refused for the sake of family.

He worked from the mid 1930s in several advertising agencies in Oslo before he took over Myres reklamebyrå and in 1939 Heroldens reklamebyrå. In addition to advertising, he drew book covers, postcards, posters for the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association and more. He was involved in Fedrelandslaget for some time, and joined Nasjonal Samling already in 1933, its foundation year.

During World War II in Norway, Damsleth produced propaganda posters. He was also a war reporter (SS-Kriegsberichter) for Waffen-SS, and had a stay at the Eastern Front in 1942.

In 1950, Damsleth was sentenced to five years of hard labor for treason during World War II, but was pardoned after two years served.


Harald Damsleth married his German fiancée Liselotte Friedmann (1915–1995), who he got to know during his art studies in Germany. They had three children, among them the sons Einar Wilhelm Damsleth and Olav Paul Klaus Damsleth.