As far as I have been able to verify, ultra leftist and anti-Israeli newspaper Klassekampen, is the only Norwegian newspaper that has commemorated the horrible events of November 26, 1942.
Their article is very welcome, as it not only reminds us of past horrors, but questions why Norwegian researchers and academic institutions have failed to investigate how this injustice could happen.
Let us hope that some of Klassekampens readers were able to reflect on the unfortunate call for boycott of Israeli products, no matter their origin, exactly on the day of commemoration of the greatest crime Norway has committed against its own citizens.
– In a civil societyBy Astrid Hygen Meyer
The investigation of the mass killings 22 July 2011 has top priority.
However, researchers seem to have forgotten about 26 November 1942.
26. November 1942 at. 14.45: The ship Donau leaves the quayside, with 532 Jewish men, women and children on board. The port of destination is Stettin, from where the Norwegian Jews were transported in trucks on to the labor and extermination camp Auschwitz. Only nine of them survived. This was the first mass deportation was carried out, and it was Norwegians who carried out the mission.
– There is a good basis for claiming that this is the worst day in modern Norwegian history. The Norwegian Jews and the Jewish refugees who were living in Norway at this time were subjected to a treatment and a destiny that is far beyond what one could imagine could happen on Norwegian territory – with the help of Norwegian personnel, says Odd-Bjørn Fure, Director of the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL-center).
22. July this year, on the other side, is oneof the darkest days in the Norwegian post war period. In today’s Klassekampen, writer and poet Jan Erik Vold compares the way society has investigated itself in the wake of World War II and the period after 22 July this year.
“We know that every stone should be turned when it comes to finding out how the police acted on 22 July 2011 – and whether this was an appropriate course of action. This we accept.But can we accept that about 400 Norwegians have chosen to remain silent about what happened and what they actually did on 26 November 1942? ”
Open and critical public
The director of the HL-center agrees with this perspective.
– Although it is difficult to turn every stone that led to 22 July, the matter is being seriously investigated. There is an open public debate that takes a critical look at everything that has happened. We have never seen a similar commitment to understand the fate of the Norwegian Jews, says Fure.
He believes it is an interesting fact that the other deported groups during World War II, Norwegian students and police officers, were arrested by German police personnel. Only the Jews were arrested by Norwegians. The Norwegian collective memory has long suppressed the arrests and deportations of Jews in Norway, he says.
– We still do not have a solid scientific research into the anti-Jewish policies that resulted in the deportation of Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees.
No scientific community
Although Fure says he does not want to paint a too bleak a picture of the situation, he believes it is striking that the research carried out on World War II and the Holocaust, is almost exclusively carried out at the HL-center.
– There is not a single Norwegian university who has a research group working on this today.
Although the HL-center was established precisely to do research on the Holocaust, it does not exempt the universities from the need to deal with the profound catastrophe the Second World War represents for our recent past, he emphasizes.
– I have a feeling that universities think they can put away the research because the HL-center was established. It is an untenable position.
– So you are almost alone in doing research on World War II and the Holocaust?
– The HL-Center carries out most of the ongoing research in this field. This is not something we wanted on our part. We would rather have seen that a number of other communities would be involved.
The relationship between the research on World War II and the collective consciousness of the war and the occupation-related experience is special, says Fure.
In a civil there is an almost insatiable demand for knowledge and information related to the fate of the years in which democratic institutions were taken over by a totalitarian occupation force – from newspapers, radio and publishing houses. This shows that there is a great need for information and knowledge that the universities fail to provide. This is a marked asymmetry, which in a European perspective shows a Norway out of step.