Holocaust commemoration ceremony today at 1500 hrs in Oslo

Lifted from Dagen.no, but also covered most other news outlets. For more details on the event itself, you can go to http://www.holocaustdagen.no/

Thinks Jens will apologize to the Jews

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is expected to come up with a form of apology to the Norwegian Jews during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day today.

– I think certainly that the Prime Minister should apologize. There are many wounds that are still open and an apology is long over, historian Kjersti Dybvig at University College in London say to dagen.no.
The Memorial Day will be marked in many places around Norway and in Oslo PM Stoltenberg will hold the keynote speech at the quayside.
Dybvig will launch her book  “Jews and police in Stavanger – the Convenience of Forgetfulness ” on Pax publishers in March.
– Most of the Jews who were arrested in Norway, were Norwegian citizens. When they were arrested, they lost their citizenship. After the WWII, when the White buses wentn to pick up prisoners who had survived, did not allow the Jews to return to Norway with them, since they were not Norwegian citizens and the government after 8 May 1945 therefore would not fund the repatriation, says Dybvig.

Positive from Stoltenberg

On 6 January, MP Hans Olav Syversen (Christian democrats) posed a question in writing to the Prime Minister. In it, he pointed out that this autumn it will be  70 years since , “the Norwegian Holocaust”, in which 776 Norwegian Jews were killed or died as a result of the Nazi extermination policy. The Norwegian government at the time did in part contributed, and Syversen said it was time to offer an official Norwegian apology.

– I received a positive response in which the Prime Minister writes that he has long been conscious of the Norwegian Jews’ situation during the war, and that he would spend time on this in his speech on the anniversary, Syversen told Dagen.no.
– Do you expect an apology at the memorial ceremony?
– How this would be  formulated is one matter. Far more  important is the fact  that the country’s political leader will  address this matter during the ceremony. And the way he responded to my question in Parliament suggests that the PM is keenly aware of this,  and that he has a commitment to it.

Hatred of Jews in 2012

Syversen and the rest of the Parliamentary Finance Committee are in Berlin, and will participate in the Holocaust Remembrance Day there. A recent survey shows that one in five Germans have anti-Semitic sentiments. And in Norway we have recent examples such as the shooting at the synagogue and the survey that documented that Jewish school kids are targets of hate speech and bullying in the Oslo schools.
– It’s not a question whether the  Norwegian Jews themselves desire such an apology. This is important for our own historical understanding of what happened. It’s not enough to blame it all on the  the German occupation forces, and that it has nothing to do with us. We need to face the fact that it is part of the history of official Norway,  Syversen says.

Norwegian hatred of Jews before the war

Kjersti Dybvig is central to the commemoration of the 22 Jews from Stavanger who were murdered at Auschwitz.
– For me it is important to point out that anti-Semitism is not a Nazi German phenomenon that came here with the occupation, but that it was alive and well long before that. In many ways  Nazism and eugenics legitimized many of these attitudes that lay dormant as a kind of mixture of anti-Judaism, anti-communism and xenophobia.

Dybvig recognizes the rhetoric reminiscent of the interwar period when she notes that it is increasingly difficult for Jews to identify as a Jew in this country.
– All of the attacks against Jews that we see around us today is largely due to that we would never come to terms with our own anti-Semitism. We Europeans have believed that it disappeared when the last German soldier disappeared in 1945. But we have many attitudes to Jews which are dirtily related to our own old prejudices, such as the myth of the greedy Jews with too much influence in business and commerce.

We turned our eyes away

The historian believes that school children learn most about what happened in Germany and other countries but nothing about what happened in Norway. This is a failure to understand the Norwegian contribution to the Holocaust.
– But it was the Norwegian police, who arrested Norwegian Jews and Norwegians who turned their eyes away. “I’m not racist, but I think this and that”, people say today. Back then one could say that one was not a Nazi, but thought this and that about the Jews. And it was completely legitimate. This anti-Semitism that existed in all of our  political parties and religious groups has been silenced. If we are to prevent anti-Semitism from spreading and growing, we need to look to ourselves, Dybvig says.