First an admission – one Norwegian newspaper did report on this incident – the Christian daily Dagen. Excellent as though it is, it is hardly a paper read by your average Norwegian, so for the majority of Norwegians, who rely on NRK, Dagbladet, VG and Aftenposten for coverage of domestic affairs, this one has slipped under the radar.
When the Jewish man Gabriel Philip Stiris (91) was buried in Oslo early in december, an unknown man appeared and shouted «fuck the jews» and behaved in a manner that was threatening.
– We were shocked when this happened, and have never heard of anything like this, his son Morten Stiris tells Dagen.
He was about to shovel earth on the coffin when the unknown man expressed his hatred of Jews. The man stood outside the fence of the Jewish cemetery. Maybe he had discovered the obituary in the newspaper Aftenposten, and knew that a Jewish burial would take place at this time?ChaseThe man raised his left arm to a Nazi salute, and he seemed threatening. This was a very deliberate action, my father was the only Jew who was buried that day, says Morten Stiris.
Several persons who participated in the funeral procession ran after the man who had white skin color. But he was too far ahead, and got away without being identified.
This harrowing incident took place at the Jewish cemetery at Østre Gravlund in Oslo on Monday 5 December.
Escaped to Sweden
Gabriel Philip Stiris was a young medical student in Oslo in 1942, and chose to go into hiding after the anti-Jewish decrees were issued in October of that year.He was helped by one of his teachers who got him admitted to the hospital.
A few days later, the Jewish student was picked up from the hospital by Per Faye-Hansen, founder of the Caramel Institute. First, Gabriel was led to a temporary hiding place in a flower shop at Majorstuen, where he met other Jews who also sought help. In secret, Faye-Hansen managed to arrange the escape to Sweden for this group. First, they were sent to Asker and hidden in a house, before they reached the Swedish border.
A younger brother of Gabriel was imprisoned and sent on freight ship “Donau” to Auschwitz, where he immediately was gassed to death.
On 3 June 2007 Per Faye-Hansen was posthumously awarded the distinguished honor “righteous among nations” by the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. His daughter, Gro Wenske, accepted the award on behalf of his father, who died in 1992.
Felt the hatred
My father was sick the last year and a half of his life. In recent years, my father felt that much of the anti-Semitism that flourished in Norway between the two world wars again raised its ugly head in Norway today. He felt it in his backbone, like a cold wind, says Morten Stiris.
Together with his brother, Tom, he wrote the oped “Anti-Semitism still exists” in aftenposten.no (December 22) about the shocking incident they experienced in the cemetery.
“The family has obviously taken this very hard. This is simply harassment of the worst kind. To desecrate a funeral procession, and especially during the burial rituals, harassment at its worst, the sons write.
They say that in spite of the special committees formed to prevent anti-Semitism, adequate steps to stop the tendency have not been taken.
“Now it has advanced to a stage where funerals are ” attacked “. We do not know if this abominable act was perpetrated by one individual or if he acted on behalf of others. We ask that the government engages even stronger and more actively participate in the struggle against anti-Semitism, says Morten and Tom Stiris.
There has been a lively debate online in Aftenposten after their post was published.
“No, there is practically no anti-Semitism, but there is plenty of Zionist moaning and lies,” said one.
Another person writes that anti-Semitism must be directed to against Semitic people, something the jews are not .
“They are a religious gang, not a people, just like Christians and Muslims, he claims.
For the bereaved family, may we only add HaMakom yenachem et’chem b’toch shar avay’lay Tzion vee’Yerushalayim as well as our profound sorrow that their mourning and funeral was marred by this incident – who could possibly want to add a heavy stone to the burden of mourning?
For the Norwegian society, we urge awakening. Horrors start with words, but end with threats and violence.