International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Norway

The official national ceremony in Norway is held at the quayside from where the Jews living in Norway were brutally forced on board ships for deportation at the harbour in Oslo, in 1942. This happened where  an impressive piece of art is located today, the "Site of Remembrance," a memorial in the shape of empty chairs, created by the British artist Antony Gormley. The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies has organized this national ceremony since 2002. The 27th of January is also commemorated at the Falstad Centre close to Trondheim, at Arkivet in Kristiansand and Arendal, at the Rafto Foundation in Bergen, at the Narvik War Museum and in a number of other towns, schools, museums and memorial sites. We have collected some of the 2020 events. The total number of Jews deported from Norway in 1942 and 1943 were 773 persons, most of them with the final destination Auschwitz-Birkenau. Of these 35 only survived. Around 230 families were extinguished.

The National Ceremony for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Oslo, 27 January 2020 (15:00 - 17:00)

It is 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, January 27, 1945. The release of this camp complex was central to the implementation of the Nazi plan on "the final solution »- the annihilation of Europe's Jews - will be marked around the world, including at the national memorial marking in Norway, at Akershuskaia in Oslo. The program at Akershuskaia and Akershus Fortress is open to all. Speech from the Government by Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen and Mayor in Oslo, Marianne Borgen. Appeals from Massimo Dhal (roma),: Kristin Skogen Lund (political prisoners), Ervin Kohn (the Jewish community in Oslo). Director of the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, Guri Hjeltnes, heads the commemoration. Part II of the commemoration takes place at Artilleriloftet, Akershus Fortress, ca. kl. 15.45, where there will be a conversation between Monas Levin and three generations of jews along with a musical performance and serving of soup.

Online teaching materials: the International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A Time Witness tells her story. On November 26, 1942 at 14.55 DS Donau left Oslo harbor with 529 Jewish men, women and children on board. After four days, they arrived in Stettin. From there they were sent on by train to Auschwitz. Only men suitable for slave labor avoided being killed in the gas chambers upon arrival. Gerd Philipson was twelve years old in 1942 and was supposed to have been on board the DS Donau in accordance with the Nazi plan for the complete extermination of Europe's Jews. But she wasn`t. Today Gerd is an adult. How does one tell their children and grandchildren such a family story? What do the next generations want to share? Gerd and two young Jewish Norwegians meet to discuss how the Holocaust has affected their lives and identities. The Education department at the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies have also made an online education material about this story.

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day at the Falstad Centre

The Holocaust Day commemoration at Falstadsenteret will take place over a two-day period. On January 25, Falstadsenteret invited the Sund Folk High School (about 100 students) to a day filled with reflection in the form of various workshops. We have invited Professor Hilde Kramer at University of Bergen and Jon Reitan from Nord University to hold a workshop on topics such as history use and memorial work related to the national and international annihilation of European Jews during World War II. At the same time, the students themselves will design their own workshop with day-to-day themes. Part II of the program will take place on Monday the 27th at Straumen, Inderøy and Sund Folk High School. Here, with the help of the Falstadsenteret, the students will work together to arrange a torchlight train followed by an appeal. A concert will be held by the students in the afternoon. The 27th mark will be open to anyone wishing to participate.

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day at the Narvik War Museum

Students (14/15 years old) are invited to a lecture about Jews from Narvik who became victims of the Holocaust. The program includes work with documents regarding Lillian Fischer (14), a Jewish girl from Narvik, who died in Auschwitz; lecture about Jews from Narvik and a city walk - visits to the city's nine stumbling stones (three different places).

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day in Southern Norway

The main Library in Kristiansand, Rådhusgaten 11, Kristiansand  and Arendal (19:00 - 20:00)

It has become a tradition in Kristiansand and Arendal to gather all the ninth graders from the region to mark the commemoration day. More than 1500 students will attend the three day program in the cities of Kristiansand and Arendal.
At the Kistiansand library there is a lecture about the Holocaust in southern Norway, and what happended to the shops and business in Kristiansand who had jewish owners, and also about hate speech and antisemittism of today.

Monologue by Jan Fjelldal about Moritz Rabinowitz.
“The hunt for the Jews”, by Gro Kvanvig from Arkivet.
«Word means something» by writer and film maker Monica Csango

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day at the Museum Vest - Nordsjøfartsmuseet

Museum West - Nordsjøfartsmuseet, Telavåg, 27 January 2020 (18:00)

At Nordsjøfartmuseet, Per Kristian Sebak is giving a lecture about what happened to the jews who lived in Bergen and western Norway during WWII. Sebak is the director of Bergen Sjøfartsmuseum (Bergen Maritime Museum) with a PhD I history and he has written the book “Vi blir neppe nogensinne mange her - jøder i Bergen 1851-1945”

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day in Trondheim

Trondheim folkebibliotek, Rådhussalen, Peter Egges plass , Trondheim, 27 January 2020 (19:00 - 21:00)

Debate: "What is the political left side's relationship to antisemitism?"
Co- organized by the Jewish community in Trondheim, the Jewish Cultural Festival of Trondheim, the Jewish Museum of Trondheim and the Literature House in Trondheim you are  invited to a debate on the political leftside`s  relationship to antisemitism. What is the relationship between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, can one be an anti-Zionist without being antisemitic? Where does the border between antisemitism and legitimate criticism of the Israeli state policy go? Is the label antisemitism used to prevent legitimate criticism of the Israeli state's policies?

Keynote speaker:
Robert Mood, President of the Norwegian Red Cross

Participants in the panel debate:
Nik Brandal, Ronny Kjelsberg, Vibeke Moe and Claudia Lenz

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day in Bergen

Espeland Fangeleir, Moldamyrane 81, 5267 Espeland, Bergen, 21 - 21 January 2020 (9:15: - 14:30)

The Rafto Foundation (one of seven Peace and Human Rights Centers in Norway) invites 9th graders to a full-day workshop in collaboration with Espeland Prison Camp in Arna, where the Prison Camp provides a historical framework for discussing current issues related to democracy and human rights. The theme of the workshop is "Us and the others". A total of 540 students will take part in the workshop during 21 - 27 January 2020. In research on Holocaust commemorations, it is emphasized that it is essential that students do not focus solely on Holocausts particularity, but are able to reflect on how and why this is important today.

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day in a school in Oslo

Parkveien 65 Oslo, 27 January 2020

Many Norwegian schools have a International Holocaust Day  commemoration. For Oslo Handelsgymnas (High School), this is the school`s program for the day:

• Lecture by Ingjerd Veiden Brakstad from the Norwegian Holocaust Center
• Musical performance.
• Selected students will share their experiences from their visits to concentration Camp Sachsenhausen and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, fall of 2019.

Commemoration of the International Holocaust Day in Arendal

Arendal Kulturhus, Arendal, 29 January 2020 (12:00)

Carl Fredriksen's Transport. A compelling musical narrative performance about the largest rescue operation in Norway during World War II. Carl Fredriksen's Transport is the story of the gardener Rolf Syversen, the former policeman Alf Pettersen and the others who in the winter of 1942/43 rescued about 1000 people from the concentration camps. Wanted Jews and resistance people were hidden under tarpaulins on ice-cold trucks and driven to the Swedish border. The performance follows people on three of the transports: the London family, nineteen-year-old Jewish girl Sara Tomsinsky and the two Czech children Vera and Tibor. This is a performance that has received fantastic receptions everywhere it has been played. Narrator: Per Jostein Aarsand. Musician: Solfrid Molland. Directed by: Kjersti Haugen Dramaturgy: Janne Rønningen


The Narvik War and Peace Centre. Credit: Elena Badanina