fredag 27. januar 2012

Nr. 224: Stoltenberg says sorry to the Norwegian Jews

Nr. 224:

From VG 27 \ 1-12

Stoltenberg says sorry to the Norwegian Jews

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg today deplored the treatment Norwegian Jews were during WWII.

Friday marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day with events across the country. In Oslo, held among others, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the quayside. The annual anniversary of the United Nations was created to commemorate the Holocaust.

The date of the celebration was selected to the events of 27 January 1945, when Soviet troops liberated about 7,000 prisoners in the concentration camp Auschwitz.

- The killing is without doubt the Nazi work. But it was the Norwegians arrested. It was the Norwegians who drove the cars. And it happened in Norway. I find that today the right to express our deep regret that this could happen on Norwegian soil, says Stoltenberg.

COMMENT: Aslak Nore (4 December 2011): - An apology from the highest level

Norway participated

It is now 70 years since the Holocaust was a fact in Norway. 772 Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees during the period 1942-1945 were arrested and deported. Only 34 survived.

- Without denying the Nazis responsible, it's time to see the police and other Norwegians participated in the arrests and deportations of Jews, said the Prime Minister.

Stoltenberg believes everyone has a responsibility to combat the ideas and attitudes that led to the Holocaust.

- 70 years after pains me to say that the ideas that led to the Holocaust is still alive. All over the world, we see that individuals and groups, spread intolerance and fear. They grow violent ideologies that can lead to anti-Semitism and hate against minorities. To conduct their attitudes out of the darkness with the light of knowledge is incumbent on every one of us, he says.


Trustees of the Jewish community, Ervin Kohn, is pleased that the apology finally came.

- I have long said that we need an excuse. But it's important for me to point out that only the guilty who can apologize. Stoltenberg and the government is not guilty of the suffering we inflicted, he says to VG Nett.

Kohn distinguish between guilt and responsibility.

- It's good to see that Stoltenberg takes responsibility for the attitudes and actions we suffered here in Norway. We wish that society should look at us as their Jews, and not a group outside. But there are Nazis alone is to blame, he says.

Kohn agrees that the Jews are still a threatened group.

- Jews are victims of hatred and discrimination in the world. As soon as something happens in the Middle East, increases the risk for us here in Norway. There are many conspiracy theories about Jews around the world today, based on fiction from the Nazis. There are still groups that encourage the murder of Jews and look upon us as a legitimate goal, says Kohn.

Holocaust survivor grateful

For 70 years was Samuel Steinmann and 531 other Norwegian Jews deported to capture the ship Donau.

- It does good to have that excuse and attention, but I honestly do not plan anything further on that a Norwegian official apology has not been before, says Steinmann said.

88-year-old is the only survivor from the DS Danube which embarked from the Port of Oslo 26 November 1942. Auschwitz was the terminus of the prisoners on board - men, women and children. Only very few would return. Samuel Stone's brother, Harry, was among the countless who died.

Samuel Steinmann got up and thanked Stoltenberg personally for words.


This is the first time a Norwegian prime minister expressed such regret, even if one acknowledges the Norwegian responsibility was implicit in the restitution settlement, which was completed in 1999. When the Storting allocated 450 million in compensation for the property and assets that were deprived of Norwegian Jews during the war.

- Sorry was clearer and more specific than we have heard from official Norwegian sources. It focuses on all Norwegian, both agencies and individuals who in one way or another were involved in the Holocaust, says historian Odd-Bjørn Fure, director of the Holocaust Centre in Norway.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told NTB that he meant to express an apology "on behalf of us all."

- An apology should have come before, but it's never too late to admit mistakes. In working with the speech I have seen that these words are missing. It was important that they came as a reinforcement of the financial settlement, said Stoltenberg.

KRF satisfy

Christian Democratic Party wants Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's apology to the Norwegian Jews welcome.

- I am very pleased that Stoltenberg has taken encouragement from the Christian Democratic Party and apologize to the Norwegian Jews the responsibility of the Norwegian central government had jødedeportasjonene 70 years ago. This is also important for our self-understanding of what happened in our own country at the time, says parliamentary chairman Hans Olav Syversen in KrF.

He points at the same time on the Norwegian Jews' situation today.

- When one of three Jewish children in the Oslo schools have experienced bullying because they are Jews, it is disheartening numbers. And there have been reports that Jews do not dare to go in the Jewish community because of the security situation. CDP believes that a separate action against Jew-hatred are necessary. I hope the government will pursue this, said Syvertsen.

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