Gunnar Jahn

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Gunnar Jahn

Gunnar Jahn (10 January 1883 – 31 January 1971) was a Norwegian jurist, economist, statistician, politician for the Liberal Party and resistance member. held several important positions, such as Norwegian Minister of Finance and Customs from 1934 to 1935 and in 1945, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1941 to 1966 and Governor of the Central Bank of Norway from 1946 to 1954.

Life and work

He was born in Trondheim, the son of director Christian Fredy Michael Jahn (1837–1914) and Elisabeth Wilhelmine Wexelsen (1853–1930). He was a grandson of Vilhelm Andreas Wexelsen, a grandnephew of Marie Wexelsen and a first cousin of Per Kvist. He finished his secondary education at Trondheim Cathedral School in 1902 graduated from the Royal Frederick University with the cand.jur. degree in 1907. He worked as a deputy judge in Lofoten before enrolling at the university again; he graduated in economics in 1909. He was hired in Statistics Norway in 1910. In April 1911 he married Martha Larsen Jahn.[1]

From 1913 he was a teacher at Kristiania Commerce School and the university, jobs he left in 1918 and 1920 respectively.[2] From 1917 to 1919 he worked in Rasjoneringsdirektoratet, and from 1919 to 1920 he was the director there. In 1920 he became director of Statistics Norway. He was a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters from 1927. From November 1934 to March 1935 he was the Minister of Finance and Customs in Mowinckel's Third Cabinet. He became a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 1937,[1] and chairman from 1941 to 1966.[3]

In 1940 he was a member of the Administrative Council, which tried to maintain Norwegian political governance despite the German invasion and occupation of Norway. He marked himself as a strong proponent of resistance to Germany, and was a member of the central leadership of the resistance: "Kretsen" and Hjemmefrontens Ledelse.[1] He was arrested by the Nazi authorities on 25 October 1944, and incarcerated at Akershus Fortress until 8 December. He was then sent to Grini concentration camp, where he sat until the liberation of Norway.[4]

After the German surrender, he saw himself as a candidate to become Prime Minister of Norway, but Hjemmefrontens Ledelse chose Paal Berg as their candidate.[1] He instead became Minister of Finance and Customs of the Norwegian interim government, Gerhardsen's First Cabinet, on 25 June. He remained so until 4 November the same year, and also served on the Board of Governors in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund in 1945.[2] He then headed the Central Bank of Norway from 1946 to 1954. He presided over the International Statistical Institute from 1947 to 1951, and was an honorary member. As the Chairman of the Nobel Committee, he delivered the Presentation Speech to The Nobel Peace Prize 1947 to the Quaker Friends Service Council (British) and American Friends Service Committee ( He was also a member of the Liberal Party's national board for some time. He died in January 1971 in Oslo.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Munthe, Preben. "Gunnar Jahn". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Gunnar Jahn" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  3. ^ Geir Lundestad (2001). "The Nobel Peace Prize, 1901–2000". Nobel Prize. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  4. ^ Giertsen, Børre R., ed. (1946). Norsk fangeleksikon. Grinifangene (in Norwegian). Oslo: Cappelen. p. 573.

External links

  • A collection of digitized materials related to Jahn's association with Linus Pauling.
  • Presentation Speech to The Nobel Peace Prize 1947.

Political offices
Preceded by
Per Berg Lund
Norwegian Minister of Finance and Customs
Succeeded by
Adolf Indrebø
Preceded by
Paul Hartmann
Norwegian Minister of Finance and Customs
June 1945–November 1945
Succeeded by
Erik Brofoss
Government offices
Preceded by
Nicolai Rygg
Central Bank Governor of Norway
Succeeded by
Erik Brofoss
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