Augusta Aasen

1878-1920
Augusta, maiden name Paasche, was born in Osen. Later the family moved to Namsos. Augusta then worked her way southward in Trøndelag County: In Steinkjer she married Edolf Aasen, a typographer, later she trained as a teacher in Levanger before they moved to Trondheim in 1900. Here they remained for about ten years, living at different addresses in Møllenberg and downtown. In 1901 the family had a son, named Arne, later known as a lyricist and author.
Augusta managed to make a name for herself in Trondheim. It does not appear that she practised as a teacher while living here. But she was a pioneer in the local women's and labour movements, and in 1905 she was in the front row when Arbeiderpartiets Kvinneforening [Labour's Women’s Association] was founded. She also represented Arbeiderpartiet on Trondheim City Council from 1908 to 1911, as one of the first female representatives. Augusta was a skilled orator and an inspiring agitator.
Augusta Aasen continued in this way after the family moved to Kristiania [now Oslo] in 1911. From 1912 she was the secretary of Norges Sosialdemokratiske Ungdomsforbund [Social Democratic Youth Association of Norway]. She was also a deputy representative on the central board of the Norwegian Labour Party.
Her death was tragic and dramatic. In the summer of 1920 she joined the Norwegian delegation at the 2nd World Congress of the Comintern in Moscow. On her way there she dropped by the editorial office of Ny Tid in Trondheim to say hello to old comrades. After a strenuous voyage along the Norwegian coast they finally reached Moscow. In early August several of the Norwegian delegates (including later Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen) attended an air show. One of the planes lost control during landing, and Augusta died from the injuries she incurred from being hit by a wing. She was given a grandiose funeral in Red Square, and the memorial stone with her name is still to be found by the Lenin Mausoleum to this day.
Recommended reading: Arbeiderbevegelsens historielag: Årbok 2005. Artikkel av [The history association of the labour movement: Year book 2005. Article by] Bjarne Vestmo p. 73-82.

Author: Einar Rædergård