Holocaust in Norway

Holocaust in Norway

In the middle of the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, there were 2,173 Jews in Norway. At least 775 of these were arrested, detained, and/or deported. 742 were murdered in the camps, 23 died as a result of extrajudicial execution, murder, and suicide during the war; bringing the total of Jewish Norwegian dead to at least 764, comprising 230 complete households [These numbers do not include Jewish Soviet or Polish prisoners of war that died in captivity as a result of murder or mistreatment in Norwegian camps, nor Allied Jewish soldiers killed in action in Norway. There is some evidence that at least prisoners of war who were found to be Jewish were singled out for abuse. Mendelsohn (1986).] . In addition the few who survived the camps, the rest survived by fleeing the country, mostly to Sweden, but some also to the United Kingdom. A few also survived in camps in Norway or in hospitals, or in hiding.


The Jewish community in Norway was established in the late 19th century, after a clause in the Norwegian constitution of 1814 that banned Jews from entering Norway was repealed in 1851. The population grew slowly until the early 20th century, when pogroms in Russia and the Baltic states increased the number of immigrants. Another immigration increase came in the 1930s, as Jews fled Nazi persecution in Germany and areas under German control. "See also Nansenhjelpen."

By 1942, there were 2,173 Jews in Norway. Of these, it is estimated that 1,643 were Norwegian citizens, 240 were foreign citizens, and 290 were stateless. [Skarpnesutvalget (1997): "Den jødiske gruppen i Norge besto i 1941-42, før flukt og deportasjoner, av 2173 personer. Flertallet kom til landet rundt 1905. I mellomkrigstiden ble denne gruppen supplert med jødiske flyktninger fra kontinentet, se flertallets instilling, kap. 3.1. Ialt var 530 personer ikke norske statsborgere. Av disse var ca. 290 statsløse." - "The Jewish group in Norway in 1941-1942 consisted, prior to escape and deportation, of 2173 persons. The majority of these came to the country around 1905. Between 1918 and 1940 additional Jewish refugees from the continent were added to this group, see the majority's report chapter 3.1. In all, 530 persons were not Norwegian citizens. Of these, 290 were stateless." ]

Although much of the prejudice against Jews so common in Europe was also in evidence in Norway in the late 19th and early 20th century, Nasjonal Samling (NS), the Nazi party in Norway, made antisemitism part of its political platform in the 1930s. Halldis Neegaard Østbye became the de facto spokeswoman for increasingly virulent propaganda against Jews, summarized in her 1938 book "Jødeproblemet og dets løsning" (The Jewish Problem and its Solution). NS had also started gathering information about Jewish Norwegians before the war started, and antisemitic op-ed articles were occasionally published in the mainstream press.

Following the German invasion and occupation, of Norway, and after the legitimate Norwegian government had left the country, German occupying authorities under the leadership of Reichskommissar Josef Terboven, put Norwegian civilian authorities under his control. This included various branches of Norwegian police, including the district sheriffs (Lensmannsetaten), criminal police, and order police. Uniquely Nazi police branches, including the Sicherheitsdienst and Gestapo, also became part of a network that served as tools for increasingly oppressive policies toward the Norwegian populacecite web
title=Politiets rolle i det norske Shoah
author=Dag Roard Fosnes
publisher=University of Bergen Faculty of Law
] .


As a deliberate strategy, Terboven's regime sought to use Norwegian, rather than German, officials to subjugate the Norwegian population. Although German police and paramilitary forces reported through the RSHA chain of command, and Norwegian police formally into the newly formed Department of Police, the actual practice was that Norwegian police officials took direction from the German RSHA.

Although several Jewish Norwegians already had been arrested and deported as political prisoners in the early months of the occupation, the first measure targeting all Jews was an order from the German foreign ministry made through Terboven that on 10 May 1941 the police of Oslo were to confiscate radios from all Jews in the city. Within days local sheriffs throughout the entire country received the same orders.

To identify Jewish Norwegians, the authorities relied on information from the police and telegraph services; also the synagogues in Oslo and Trondheim were ordered to produce full rosters of their members, including their names, date of birth, profession, and address. Jewish burial societies and youth groups were likewise ordered to produce their lists.

In August, the synagogues were also ordered to produce lists of Jewish individuals who were not members. The resulting lists were cross-referenced with information Nasjonal Samling had compiled previously and information from the Norwegian Central Bureau of statistics. In the end, occupying authorities in Norway had a more complete list of Jewish residents in Norway than most other countries under Nazi rulecite journal
quotes =
author=Espen Søbye
title=Et mørkt kapittel i statistikkens historie
journal=Statistikk og historie
publisher=Statistics Norway
issn =
pmid =
bibcode =
oclc =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
] . [In August of the same year, radio confiscation orders were extended to all Norwegian civilians. According to Ringdal (see bibliography), it is thought that targeting Jews gave the authorities a "trial balloon" both for identifying Jewish individuals and confiscating radios. ]

On the basis of the lists compiled in the spring, the Justice Department and county governors started in the fall to register all Jewish property, including commercial holdings. A complete inventory was transmitted to the police department in December 1941, and this also included individuals who were suspected of having a Jewish background.

On 20 December, the Norwegian Department of Police ordered 700 stamps with a 2 cm tall "J" for use by authorities to stamp the identification cards of Jewish individuals in Norway. These were put into use on 10 January 1942, when advertisements in the mainstream press ordered all Norwegian Jews to immediately present themselves at the local police stations to have their identification papers stamped. They were also ordered to complete an extensive form. For purposes of this registration, a Jew was identified as anyone who had at least three "full-Jewish" grandparents; anyone who had two "full-Jewish" grandparents and was married to a Jew; or was a member of a Jewish congregation. This registration showed that about 1,400 Jewish adults lived in Norway.

Confiscation and arrests

Both German and Norwegian police officials intensified efforts to target the Jewish population in the course of 1941. The concentration camp at Falstad was established near Levanger, north of Trondheim. Jewish individuals, particularly those who were stateless, were briefly detained in connection with Operation Barbarossa. The first Jewish Norwegian to be deported was Benjamin Bild, a labor union activist and mechanic, who ended his days in Gross Rosen. Moritz Rabinowitz, was probably the first to be arrested in March, 1941 for agitating against Nazi antisemitism in the Haugesund press, and sent to Sachsenhausen where he was beaten to death on 27 December 1942 [cite news |first=Lene |last=Austad |authorlink= |author= |coauthors= |title=He was never invited to anyone; "Us" and "Them" in the Man Who Loved Haugesund |url=http://www.dictum.no/Arkiv/themanwholovedhaugesund.html|format= |work= |publisher=Dictum |location= |id= |pages= |page= |date= |accessdate=2008-01-13 |language=English|quote= |archiveurl= |archivedate=] .

German troops occupied the synagogue in Trondheim on 21 April 1941, vandalizing the premises. The Torah scrolls had been secured in the early days of the war, and before long the Methodist church in Trondheim had provided temporary facilities for Jewish religious services. Several Jewish residents of Trondheim were arrested and detained at Falstad. The first such prisoner was Efraim Koritzinsky, a medical doctor and head of Trondheim hospital [Koritzinsky was a prominent surgeon who had contributed significantly to public health measures in Kristiansund and Trondheim. He was arrested on 1 December 1941 and contracted cancer while at Falstad. He died at the hospital in Levanger on 15 May 1942. See cite web |url=http://safon.org/nn/index.php/Ephraim_Wolff_Koritzinsky |title=Ephraim Wolff Koritzinsky |accessdate=2008-02-23 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work=Safon |publisher= |pages= |language=Norwegian |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] . Several others followed; altogether eight of these were shot in the woods outside of the camp that became the infamous site of extrajudicial executions in Norway [cite news |first=Gerson|last=Komissar |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Den oversette premiss |url=http://www.dagbladet.no/kronikker/970824-kro-1.html|work= |publisher=Dagbladet|date=1997-08-24 |accessdate=2008-01-13 |language=Norwegian ] On 24 February, all remaining Jewish property in Trondheim was seized by Nazi authorities. [Reitan (2005)] .

As the brutality of the Terboven regime came to light through the atrocities at Telavåg, Martial law in Trondheim in 1942, etc., persecution against Jews in particular became more pronounced.

After numerous cases of harassment and violence against individuals, orders were issued to Norwegian police authorities on 24 October and 25, 1942, to arrest all Jewish men over the age of 15 and confiscate all their property. This sweep was carefully planned, and on 26 October, several Norwegian police branches and 20 soldiers of Germanic-SS all across the country rounded up and arrested Jewish men, often leaving their wives and children on the street. These prisoners were held primarily at Berg concentration camp in Southern Norway and Falstad concentration camp in central parts of the country; some were held in local jails. At the same time, Jewish women were ordered to report in person to their local sheriffs on a daily basis.

On the morning of 26 November, 300 police officers were deployed to arrest and detain Jewish women and children throughout the country. These were sent directly by cars and train to the pier in Oslo where a cargo ship, the D/S Donau was waiting to transport them to Stettin, and from there to Auschwitz [Mendelsohn (1992)]

By 27 November, all Jews in Norway were either deported and murdered, imprisoned, had fled to Sweden, or were in hiding in Norway.

Deportation and mass murder

*The first group deportation of Jews from Norway was on 19 November 1942 when the ship D/S Monte Rosa left Oslo with 223 prisoners, of which 21 were Jewish.

*The original plan was to ship all remaining Jews in Norway in one ship, the D/S Donau, a 13,000 ton cargo ship on 26 November 1942, but due to various delays only 540 prisoners were transferred by Norwegian police to German troops and boarded the D/S Donau that day. Coincidentally with the departure of the D/S Donau the same day, the D/S Monte Rosa carried 26 Jews from Oslo. The Donau was delayed in transit by bad weather and landed in Stettin on 30 November. The prisoners boarded cargo trains at Breslauer Bahnhof, 60 to a car and departed Stettin at 5:12 pm. The train journey to Auschwitz took 28 hours. All the prisoners arrived alive at the camp, but there they were sorted into two lines. 186 were sent to slave labor in the Birkenau subcamp, the rest - 345 - were killed immediately in Auschwitz's gas chambers [Mendelsohn (1992)] .

*The remaining Jewish prisoners that had been en route to Oslo on 26 November for the departure of the "Donau" were delayed, possibly as a result of delaying tactics by the Red Cross and sympathetic railroad workers. These were imprisoned under harsh conditions at Bredtveit prison in Oslo to await a later transport. During these months, Leo Eitinger and two students taught the children so they could keep up with their education. Books and supplies were smuggled into the prison.

*On 24 February 1943, the Bredtveit prisoners, along with 25 from Grini, boarded the D/S Gotenland in Oslo, altogether 158. The ship departed the following day, also landing in Stettin, where they arrived on 27 February. They traveled to Auschwitz via Berlin, where they stayed overnight at the Levetzowstrasse Synagogue. They arrived at Auschwitz on the night between 2 March and 3 March. Of the 158 who arrived from Norway, only 26 or 28 survived the first day, being sent to the Monowitz subcamp of Auschwitz [Mendelsohn (1992)] .

There were smaller and individual deportations after the Gotenland's voyage. A smaller number of Jewish prisoners remained in camps in Norway during the war, primarily those who were married to non-Jewish Norwegians. These were subject to mistreatment and neglect. In the camp in Grini, for example, the group that was harshest treated consisted of violent criminals and Jews [Mendelsohn (1992) ] .

Altogether, about 767 Jews from Norway were deported and sent to concentration camps under German control, primarily Auschwitz. 26 of these survived the ordeal [Ottosen (1994)] . In addition to the 741 murdered in the camps, 23 died as a result of extrajudicial execution, murder, and suicide during the war; bringing the total of Jewish Norwegian dead to at least 764, comprising 230 complete households.

As an indication of the magnitude of the Holocaust, the death toll among Jews from Norway constituted about 0.013% of the total death toll of European Jews in the Holocaust.

Escape to Sweden

Early during the occupation, there was traffic between neutral countries, primarily Sweden over land; and the United Kingdom, by sea. Even as the occupying authorities tried to limit such traffic, the underground railroad became more organized. Swedish authorities were at first only willing to accept political refugees and did not count Jews among them. Several Jewish refugees were turned away at the border, and a few were subsequently deported.

The North Sea route would become increasingly challenging as German forces increased their naval presence along the Norwegian coast, limiting the sea route to special operations missions against German military targets. The land routes to Sweden became the main conduit for people and materials that either needed to get out of Norway for their safety, or into Norway for clandestine missions.

There were a few private routes across the border, but most were organized through three resistance groups: Milorg ("military organization"), Sivorg ("civilian organization") and Komorg, the communist resistance group. These routes were carefully guarded, in large part through a network of secret cells. Some efforts to infiltrate them, especially through the Rinnan gang succeeded, but such holes were quickly plugged.

By the fall of 1942, about 150 Jews from Norway had fled the country. The Jewish population in Norway had experienced some mistreatment specifically targeted at them, but the prevailing sense was that their lot was the same as all other Norwegians. The arrest and detention of Jewish men on 26 October 1942 changed that premise, but at that point many were afraid of reprisals against the imprisoned men if they left. Some Norwegian Nazis and German officials advised Jews to leave the country as quickly as possible.

On the evening of 25 November, resistance people got a few hours' notice before the scheduled arrests and deportation of all Jews in Norway. Many did their best to notify the remaining Jews who were not already detained, usually by making brief phone calls or short appearances on people's doorsteps. This was more successful in Oslo than other areas. Those who were warned only had a few hours to go into hiding and days to find their way out of the country.

The Norwegian resistance movement had not planned for the contingency that hundreds of individuals had to go underground in one night, and it was left to individuals to improvise shelter out of sight of the arresting authorities. Many were moved several times in just as many days.

Most of the refugees were moved in small groups across the border, typically with the help of taxis or trucks, railroads to areas near the border, and then by foot, car, bicycle, or on skis across the border. It was a particularly cold winter, and the crossing involved considerable hardship and uncertainty. Those who had the means, paid their non-Jewish helpers for their trouble; over time, the Norwegian resistance organizations financed the escape for those who were destitute.

The passage was complicated by the vigilance of police who were committed to capturing such refugees, and Terboven imposed the death penalty for anyone caught aiding Jewish refugees. Only individuals who by application were granted "border zone permits" were allowed within easy traveling distance to the border with Sweden. Trains were subject to regular search and inspection, and there were continuous patrols of the area. A failed crossing would have dire consequences for anyone caught, as indeed it turned out for a few.

Still, at least 900 Jewish refugees made their way across the border to Sweden. They usually went through a transit center in Kjesäter in Vingåker, and then found temporary homes throughout Sweden, but mostly in certain towns where Norwegians gathered, such as Uppsala.

Criminal culpability and moral responsibility

Criminal prosecution

Although both the Norwegian Nazi party Nasjonal Samling and the German Nazi establishment had a political platform that called for persecution and ultimately the genocide of European Jewry, the arrest and deportation of Jews in Norway into the hands of the camp officials turned on the actions of several specific individuals and groups.

The ongoing rivalry between Reichskommissar Josef Terboven and Ministerpresident Vidkun Quisling may have played a role, as both were likely presented with the directives from the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. The German policy was to use Norwegian police as a front for the Norwegian implementation of the conference plans, orders for which were issued along two chains of command: from Adolf Eichmann through the RSHA and Heinrich Fehlis to Hellmuth Reinhard, the Gestapo chief in Norway; and from Quisling through the "minister of justice" Sverre Riisnæs and "minister of police" Jonas Lie through to Karl Marthinsen, the head of the Norwegian state police.

Documentation from the period suggests that the Nazi authorities, and especially the Quisling administration, was loath to initiate actions that might cause widespread opposition among the Norwegian population. He had tried and failed to take over the teachers' unions, the clergy of the State of Norway, athletics, and the arts. Eichmann had de-prioritized the extermination of Jews in Norway, as the number was low and even Nasjonal Samling had claimed that the "Jewish problem" in Norway was minor. Confiscation of Jewish property, the arrest of Jewish men, constant harassment and individual murder was - until late November, 1942 - part of Terboven's approach of terrorizing the Norwegian population into submission.

The evidence suggests that Hellmuth Reinhard took the initiative to put an end to all Jews in Norway. This may have been motivated by his own ambition, and it's possible he was encouraged by the lack of outrage over the initial measures targeting Jews.

According to the trial against him in Baden-Baden in 1964, Reinhard arranged for the D/S Donau to set aside capacity for prisoner transport on 26 November and ordered Karl Marthinsen to mobilize the necessary Norwegian forces to effect the transit from Norway. In a curious sidenote to all this, he also sent along a typewriter on the Donau to properly register all prisoners, and was insistent that it be returned to him on Donau's return voyage - which it was.

A local, Norwegian, police chief in Oslo named Knut Rød provided on-the-ground command of Norwegian police officers for arresting women and children and transporting them as well as the men who had already been detained to the Oslo harbor and putting them in the hands of the German SS troops.

Eichmann was not notified of the transport until the Donau had left the harbor, bound for Stettin. Nevertheless, he was able to arrange for box cars to be present for transport to Auschwitz.

Of those involved:

*Terboven committed suicide before being captured when the war ended; Quisling was convicted for treason and executed. Jonas Lie died, apparently of a heart attack before his capture. Sverre Riisnæs either feigned insanity or went insane and was put in protective custody. Marthinsen was assassinated by the Norwegian resistance in February 1945. Heinrich Fehlis committed suicide by first taking poison and then shooting himself in May 1945.

In the end, only two of the principals were put on trial:

*Hellmuth Reinhard left Norway in January 1945 without any clues to his whereabouts. He was presumed dead and his wife was issued a death certificate so she could remarry. But it turned out he had changed his name to his birth name of Hellmuth Patzschke and had actually remarried his "widow," settling down as a publisher in Baden-Baden. His real identity was discovered in 1964, and he was put on trial. In spite of overwhelming evidence about his culpability for the deportation of Jews from Norway and his complicity in their deaths, he was acquitted because statute of limitations had expired. He was convicted and sentenced to five years for his participation in Operation Blumenpflücken.

*Knut Rød was put on trial in 1948, acquitted of all charges, and managed to get reinstated as a police officer and retired in 1965. Rød's acquittal remains controversial this day and has been characterized as "the strangest criminal trial [in the legal proceedings after World War II] " [cite news |first=Astrid Sverresdotter |last=Dypvik |authorlink= |author= |coauthors= |title=Ei ubehageleg historie |url=http://www.morgenbladet.no/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006111240029&NL=1|format= |work= |publisher=Morgenbladet |location= |id= |pages= |page= |date=2006-11-24 |accessdate=2008-02-15 |language=Norwegian |quote= |archiveurl= |archivedate= ] [cite web |url=http://kunst.no/fest/omgivelser/POJohansen.php |title="Politiet har fortsatt et renommé å ivareta" - Arrestasjonene og deportasjonen av norske jøder høsten 1942 |accessdate=2008-02-19 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author=Per Ole Johansen |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year=2000 |month=December |format= |work=Festskrift til Victor Lind |publisher=Kulturnett |pages= |language=Norwegian |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] .

*Another controversial trial was that held against members of the resistance Peder Pedersen and Håkon Løvestad, who confessed to killing an elderly Jewish couple and stealing their money. The jury found that the killing was justified, but convicted the two of embezzlement. This also became a controversial issue known as the Feldmann case.

The moral culpability among Norwegian police officers and Norwegian informants is a matter of continuing research and debate.

Although the persecution and murder of Jews was raised as a factor in several trials, including that against Quisling, legal scholars agree that in no case was it a decisive or even weighty factor in the conviction or sentencing of these people.

Moral responsibility

Beyond the criminal actions of individuals in Norway that led to the deportation and murder of Jews from Norway; and indeed also of non-Jews who were persecuted on political, religious or other pretexts, there has been considerable public debate in Norway about the public morals that allowed these crimes to take place and did not prevent them from happening.

Comparison between Denmark and Norway

When comparing the experiences of Jews in Denmark and Norway, it is clear that things were considerably worse in Norway. Far fewer Danish Jews were arrested and deported, and those who were deported were sent to Theresienstadt rather than Auschwitz, where a relatively large percentage survived.

Several factors have been cited for these differences [Ulstein (1995) pps. 236-269] :
* In Denmark, the German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz leaked the plans for arrest and deportation to Hans Hedtoft several days before the plan was to be put in motion. There as no such humanist among German officials in Norway
* The terms of occupation in Denmark gave Danish politicians greater influence over internal affairs in Denmark, and in particular command authority over Danish police forces. Consequently, German occupying authorities had to rely on German police and military to perform arrests. Where Danish police participated, it was to rescue Jews from Germans.
* Danish popular opinion was more actively opposed to the Nazi occupation and was more emboldened to take care of its Jewish citizens. Non-Jewish Danes were known to take to the streets to find Jews who needed shelter, and to search the forests for Jews who had hidden there to help them.

Issues of moral responsibility

The exiled Norwegian government became part of the Allies upon the invasion on 9 April 1940. Though the most significant contribution of the Allied war effort was through the merchant marine fleet known as Nortraship, a number of Norwegian military forces were established and became part of Utefronten. Consequently, the Norwegian government was regularly briefed on Allied intelligence relating to atrocities committed by German forces in Eastern Europe and in occupied Netherlands, France, etc.

In addition, the Norwegian government also received regular intelligence from the Norwegian home front, including accounts from returning Norwegian Germanic-SS soldiers, who had firsthand accounts of massacres of Jews in Poland, the Ukraine, etc. [Mendelsohn (1986) pps 224-225]

Indeed, both underground resistance newspapers in Norway and the Norwegian press abroad published news about "wholesale murders" of Jews in the late summer and fall of 1942. [Abrahamsen (1991) pps. 137-139 ] . There is, however, little evidence that either the Norwegian home front or Norwegian government expected that the Jews in Norway would be a target for the genocide that was unfolding on the European continent. On 1 December 1942, the Norwegian foreign minister, Trygve Lie sent a letter to the British section of the World Jewish Congress where he asserted that:

cquote|...it has never been found necessary for the Norwegian Government to appeal to the people of Norway to assist and to protect other individuals of classes in Norway, who have been selected for persecution by the German aggressors, and I feel convinced that such an appeal is not needed in order to urge the population to fulfill their human duty towards the Jews of Norway. [Abrahmsen (1991), p.10 ]

Although the Norwegian resistance by the fall of 1942 had a sophisticated network for transmitting and propagating urgent news among the population that led to very effective passive resistance efforts, e.g., in keeping the teachers' union, athletics, physicians, etc., out of Nazi control. [cite web |url=http://www.regjeringen.no/nn/dep/hod/Dokument/NOU-ar/1998/NOU-1998-12/26/6.html?id=375560 |title=11.6 Illegal motstandsvirksomhet |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author=Norwegian government |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year=1998 |month= |format= |work=NOU 1998:12|publisher=Norges offentlige utredninger |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=KK gikk etter hvert over fra å være yrkesorganisasjonenes illegale lederutvalg til å bli en selvstendig organisatorisk enhet..... Dette skjedde i første rekke ved at paroler om boikottaksjoner o.l. ble spredt via sekretariatet til kontaktapparatet rundt om i landet....Via dette apparatet kunne Sivorg gripe aktivt inn i de store sakene i holdningskampen, som for eksempel lærerstriden og kampen mot loven om ungdomstjenesten i 1942, striden om den nasjonale arbeidsinnsatsen i 1943, og kampen mot arbeidstjenesten og arbeidsmobiliseringen i 1944. ] , no such notifications were issued to save Jews [Abrahamsen (1991) p. 10] .

The religious establishment in Norway (with the exception of the Catholic Church) did, however make their opposition known. In a letter to Vidkun Quisling dated 10 November 1942, bishops of the Church of Norway, the administration of the theological seminaries, the leaders of several leading religious organizations, and the leaders of non-Lutheran Protestant organizations protesting actions against the Jews, calling on Quisling "in the name of Jesus Christ" to "stop the persecution of Jews and stop the bigotry that through the press is disseminated throughout our land." [cite web |url=http://fagsider.nla.no/kirkehistorie/dokument/1942_jodeforfolgelser.htm |title=Brev til Quisling vedrørende jødeforfølgelsene 1942 |accessdate=2008-03-12 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=Kirkehistorisk arkiv ved Norsk Lærerakademi |pages= |language=Norwegian |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= - those who signed included members of the Interim Church Leadership (Den Midlertidige Kirkeledelse) Ole Kristian Hallesby, Ludvig Hope, Henrik Hille, James Maroni, Gabriel Skagestad, Wollert Krohn-Hansen, and Andreas Fleischer (Eivind Berggrav, the bishop of Oslo, had been imprisoned by the Nazis at that point); the administration of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oslo Sigmund Mowinckel, Oluf Kolsrud, Einar Molland, H. Ording, and P. Marstrander; the administration of the MF Norwegian School of Theology Olaf Moe, Ole Kristian Hallesby, Karl Vold, Andreas Seierstad, and Johannes Smemo; and various other Lutheran organizations. In addition, the leaders of the Baptist church, Missionary association, Sunday School union, Methodist church, Missionary alliance, and Salvation Army signed the letter. The group was later driven underground when Hallesby was arrested by the Nazis. ]

The discrimination, persecution, and ultimately deportation of Jews was enabled by the cooperation of Norwegian agencies that were not entirely co-opted by Nasjonal Samling or the German occupying powers. In addition to the police and local sheriffs who implemented the directives of Statspolitiet, the taxis aided in transporting Jewish prisoners to their point of deportation and even sued the Norwegian government after the war for wages owed to them for such services. [cite news
title=Hun kom for sent til Auschwitz
publisher=Dagens Næringsliv
location=Oslo, Norway

Before 26 October 1942, Jews in Norway were singled out for particularly harsh persecution [Specifically, they were the first to have radios confiscated, were forced to register and have identification papers imprinted, and were banned from certain professions] , but it was not widely considered that this would extend to deportation and murder. But it wasn't until the night of 26 November that the resistance movement was mobilized to rescue Jews from deportation. It took time for the network to be fully engaged, and until then Jewish refugees had to improvise on their own, and rely on acquaintances to avoid capture. Within a few weeks, however, the Norwegian home front organizations (including Milorg and Sivorg) had developed the means to move relatively large numbers of refugees out of Norway and also financed these escapes when needed.

Emergence of literature about the Holocaust in Norway

The persecution and murder of Jews in Norway during World War II was largely left unstudied for several decades after the war. One of the early books, Herman Sachnowitz's "Det angår også deg", was published in 1978 and brought the history into the public eye. The bibliography below covers most but not all the relevant literature.

The literature since then can be categorized as follows:

* Comprehensive historical accounts of the Holocaust in Norway, which include Abrahamsen (1991) and the first 336 pages of Mendelsohn (1986), but also monographs such as Jan Otto Johansen (1984) and Per Ole Johansen (1984)
* Books that cover specific aspects of the Holocaust, such as Ulstein (1995) about the escapes to Sweden and Ottosen (1994) about the deportation, or Cohen (2000)
* Case studies of individuals and families. Some of these are biographical, such as Komissar (1995), Søbye (2003),
* In-depth studies on specific issues, such as Skarpnesutvalget (1997) and Johansen (2006)

One issue that has been highlighted is the hypothesis that many Norwegians viewed Jews as outsiders, whose fate was of no direct concern to Norwegians. [cite news |first=Per Anders |last=Madsen |authorlink= |author= |coauthors= |title=Holocausthjelperen som gikk fri |url=http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kommentarer/article1552693.ece |format= |work= |publisher=Aftenposten |location= |id= |pages= |page= |date= |accessdate=2008-02-22 |language=Norwegian |quote=Frifinnelsen var mulig fordi Røds ofre, de norske jødene, var utsondret fra det nasjonale fellesskap som rettsoppgjøret bidro til å konsolidere. De tilhørte ikke det store vi - hverken før, under eller etter krigen. ... Rød-dommen utgjør nullpunkt for rettsstatens historie, påpekte Fure. Det gjør den også for et samfunn som hyppigere enn noen gang må spørre seg selv hva "nordmann", "flerkulturelt" og "nasjonal fellesskap" egentlig betyr. |archiveurl= |archivedate= - "The acquittal [of Rød] was possible because Rød's victims, the Norwegian Jews, were separated from the national community that was consolidated by the post-war trial. They didn't belong to the big we - neither before, during, or after the war .... the Rød decision is low point for the rule of law, Fure points out. This is the case also for a society that more often than ever must ask itself what terms such as 'Norwegian,' 'multicultural, and 'national community' actually mean."]

The founding of the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities promises to add considerable research material to this topic, and also the center for human rights at the former site of the Falstad concentration camp provides another forum on humanitarian aspects of the German occupation. Jewish museums have recently been established in Oslo and Trondheim, and there have been notable papers written within criminology about the legal purge in Norway after World War II.

Monuments over the victims were erected fairly early in the graveyards in Oslo and later in Trondheim; in later years, monuments in Haugesund (to commemorate Moritz Rabinowitz), at the pier in Oslo from which the D/S Donau sailed, at Falstad, in Trondheim (over Cissi Klein), and at schools have also raised the awareness.


karpnes commission

On 27 May 1995, Bjørn Westlie published an article in the Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv that highlighted the uncompensated financial loss incurred by the Norwegian Jewish community as a result of Nazi persecution during the war. This brought to public attention the fact that much if not most of the assets confiscated from Jewish owners during the war had been inadequately restored to them and their descendants, even in cases where the Norwegian government or private individuals had benefited from the confiscation after the war.

In response to this debate, the Norwegian Ministry of Justice on 29 March 1996, named a commission to investigate what was done with Jewish assets during the war. The commission consisted of County governor of Vest Agder, Oluf Skarpnes as its chair, professor of law Thor Falkanger, professor of history Ole Kristian Grimnes, district court judge Guri Sunde, director at Riksarkivet (National Archives), psychologist Berit Reisel, and Cand. philol. Bjarte Bruland, Bergen. Consultant Torfinn Vollan from the Skarpnes's office acted as the commission's secretary. Of the commission's members, Dr. Reisel and Mr. Bruland had been nominated by the Jewish community in Norway. Anne Hals resigned from the commission early in the process, and Eli Fure from the same institution was named in her place.

The commission worked together for a year, but it became apparent that were diverging views on premises for the group's analysis.

* The majority focused its effort on arriving at an accurate accounting of the assets lost during the war using conventional assumptions and information in available records.
* The minority, consisting of Reisel and Bruland, sought a more in-depth understanding of the historical sequence of events around the loss of individual assets, as well as both the intended and actual effect of the confiscation and subsequent events, whether the owners were deported, killed, or escaped.

By all accounts, the commission had difficulty unifying these views, and on 23 June 1997, two separate reports were submitted to the Ministry of Justice. After considerable debate in the media, the government accepted the findings of the minority report and initiated financial compensation and issuing a public apology.

Assessment of financial loss

As noted above, the Nazi authorities confiscated all Jewish property with an administrative penstroke. This included commercial property such as retail stores, factories, workshops, etc.; and also personal property such as residences, bank accounts, automobiles, securities, furniture, and other fixtures they could find. Jewelry and other personal valuables were usually taken by German officials as "voluntary contributions to the German war effort." In addition, Jewish professionals were typically deprived of any legal right to practice their profession: attorneys were disbarred, physicians and dentists lost their licenses, and craftsmen were locked out of their trade associations. Employers were pressured to fire all Jewish employees. In many cases, Jewish proprietors were forced to continue to work at their confiscated businesses for the benefit of the "new owners." [A telling example is the case of Per Kjølner, a member of Nasjonal Samling who bought at a heavily discounted price the Plesansky family's apparel operations in Tønsberg, which formed the basis for the chain store Adelsten. The one surviving family, Bernhard Plesansky, tried to recover his property but was unable to and emigrated to the United Kingdom. Kjølner was never convicted of any crime. See cite news |first=Lasse |last=Jahnsen |authorlink= |author= |coauthors= |title=Adelsten må ta sitt ansvar |url=http://www.dagbladet.no/kronikker/970619-kro-1.html |format= |work= |publisher=Dagbladet |location= |id= |pages= |page= |date=1997-06-19 |accessdate=2008-07-13 |language=Norwegian |quote= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

Assets were often sold at fire sale prices or assigned at a token price to Nazis, Germans, or their sympathizers.

The administration of these assets was performed by a "Liquidation board for confiscated Jewish assets" that accounted for the assets as they were seized and their disposition. For these purposes, the board continued to treat each estate as a bankrupt legal entity, charging expenses even after the assets had been disposed. As a result, there was a significant discrepancy between the value of the assets for the rightful owners, and the value assessed by the confiscating authorities.

This was further complicated by the methodology employed by the legitimate Norwegian government after the war. In order to restore confiscated assets to their owners, the government was guided by public policy to alleviate the economic impact on the economy by reducing compensation to approximate a sense of fairness and finance the reconstruction of the country's economy. The assessed value was thereby reduced by the Nazis' liquidation practices and was further reduced by the discounting applied as a result of governmental policy after the war [Various calculations estimate the capital depletion during the war at about 10%. In addition, scarcity in the global economy complicated import and export activity. Rationing continued in Norway until 1961.] .

Norwegian estate law imposes estate tax on inheritance passed from the deceased to his/her heirs depending on the relationship between the two. This tax was compounded at each step of inheritance. As no death certificates had been issued for Jews murdered in German concentration camps, the deceased were listed as missing. Their estates were held in probate pending a declaration of death and charged for administrative expenses.

By the time all these factors had had their effect on the valuation of the confiscated assets, very little was left. In total, NOK 7.8 million was awarded to principals and heirs of Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis. This was less than the administrative fees charged by governmental agencies for probate. It did not include assets seized by the government that belonged to non-Norwegian citizens, and that of citizens that left no legal heirs. This last category was formidable, as 230 entire Jewish households were killed during the course of the Shoah.

Compensation and use of funds



Works about the Holocaust in Norway

* - an early personal account of a survivor's experiences.
* - one of two comprehensive treatises on the Holocaust in Norway.
* - twelve case examples of Norwegian Jews who escaped and survived.
* - on the deportation of Jews from Norway to concentration camps, including case studies
* - the story of Julius Paltiel, who survived deportation and imprisonment in Auschwitz.
* Personal account of survivor Kai Feinberg, with historical notes by Arnt Stefansen
* - on the escape and underground railroad to Sweden, including case studies
* - report from the governmental commission on the confiscation and disposition of Jewish assets. An English translation of the full minority report and a summary of the majority report was published by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June of 1997, but without the ministry's insignia or an ISBN registration. It was titled "The Reisel/Bruland Report on the Confiscation of Jewish Property in Norway during World War II," and is commonly known as the "blue book" and is on file at the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities.
* - covers specifically the Jewish population of Bergen and Hordaland affected by the Holocaust
* - article about the fate of Jews in the Agder counties
* - interview with historian Bjarte Bruland and professor Irene Levin
* - newspaper article about a return to Auschwitz by Norwegian survivors

Works about the Jewish minority in Norway

*cite book |last=Mendelsohn |first=Oskar |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Jødenes historie i Norge gjennom 300 år: Bind 1 1660-1940 |origdate= |origyear=1969 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Universitetsforlaget |location= |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-00-02523-3 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=
*cite book |last=Mendelsohn |first=Oskar |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Jødenes historie i Norge gjennom 300 år: Bind 2 1940-1985 |origdate= |origyear=1986 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= 2nd edition |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Universitetsforlaget |location= |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-00-02524-3 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=pps 13-262|chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=, comprehensive treatment of the Holocaust in Norway
*cite book |last=Mendelsohn |first=Oskar |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Jødene i Norge: Historien om en minoritet |origdate= |origyear=1992 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Universitetsforlaget |location= |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-00-21669-1 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=
*cite book |last=Reitan |first=Jon |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Jødene fra Trondheim |origdate= |origyear=2005 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Tapir akademisk forlag |location=Trondheim |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-519-2044-2|oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=
*cite book |last=Reisel (editor) |first=Micha |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Du skal fortelle det til dine barn: Det mosaiske trossamfund i Oslo 1892-1992 |origdate= |origyear=1992 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Det mosaiske trossamfund i Oslo |location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-992611-0-4|oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=

Works about Norwegian World War II history

* - book about the role of Norwegian police during the occupation
* - comprehensive, 8-volume survey of the war in Norway, organized by topic
* - book about the resistance network organized by Norwegian physicians
* - articles resulting from a series of interdisciplinary at the University of Oslo on bias in the Legal purge in Norway after World War II
*Books by Kristian Ottosen
**cite book |last=Ottosen |first=Kristian |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Natt og tåke : historien om Natzweiler-fangene |origdate= |origyear=1989 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Aschehoug|location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-03-16108-1 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= - about the Nacht und Nebel prisoners in the Natzweiler concentration camp, with an emphasis on the Norwegians held there.
**cite book |last=Ottosen |first=Kristian |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Liv og død : historien om Sachsenhausen-fangene |origdate= |origyear=1990 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Aschehoug|location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-03-16484-6 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= - about the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
**cite book |last=Ottosen |first=Kristian |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Kvinneleiren : historien om Ravensbrück-fangene |origdate= |origyear=1991 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Aschehoug|location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-03-16791-8 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= - about the Ravensbrück concentration camp, primarily for women.
**cite book |last=Ottosen |first=Kristian |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Bak lås og slå : historien om norske kvinner og menn i Hitlers fengsler og tukthus |origdate= |origyear=1993 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Aschehoug|location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-03-26000-4 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= - about the deportation and imprisonment of Norwegian men and women in prisons throughout Germany.
*cite book |last=Ottosen |first=Kristian |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Nordmenn i fangenskap 1940-1945 |origdate= |origyear=1995 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |volume= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Universitetsforlaget |location=Oslo |language=Norwegian |isbn=82-00-22372-8 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= - an authoritative list of Norwegian individuals who had been held in German captivity during World War II.

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