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AJC applauded the Norwegian prime minister for publicly apologizing for his country’s role in the Holocaust. “Without diminishing the Nazis’ responsibility, it is time to recognize that police and other Norwegians took part in the arrest and deportation of Jews,” said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. “I find it appropriate to express our deep apology that this could have happened on Norwegian soil.”
The prime minister was speaking yesterday at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the site where, 70 years ago, 532 Norwegian Jews were forced onto the Donau ship and sent to Auschwitz. “During the war, a total of 772 Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees were arrested and deported. Only 34 survived,” said the prime minister. “The murders were without a doubt the Nazis’ work, but it was Norwegians who arrested. It was Norwegians who drove the cars. And it happened in Norway.”
Twenty years ago, as the Prime Minister noted, Norway’s parliament provided both private and communal restitution for the “economic liquidation” the Norwegian Jews had been subjected to, which signified, “a moral acceptance of the state’s responsibility” for what had befallen the country’s Jews.
“Now, 20 years later, Prime Minister Stoltenberg has gone an important step further with his expression of regret for the role played by some Norwegians in the Holocaust,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “His words on International Holocaust Remembrance Day are a powerful reminder that the Nazi evil was too often assisted by some locals in occupied countries. We welcome the prime minister’s apology, as well as his forthright call for vigilance against those who continue to hate.”
In his speech, Stoltenberg said, “Seventy years later, it pains me to say that the ideas that led to the Holocaust continue to live on.” He expressed concern that Norwegian Jews have said they live in fear today. “We shall not have it like this in Norway,” said the prime minister. “No one should have to hide his own faith, cultural identity or orientation.”
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