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Norwegian police apologise for deportation of Jews during WWII

Over 700 of the 2,100 Jews living in Norway at the start of World War II were deported, only 34 survived concentration camps.

Thirty thousand shoes at the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland (File photo)
Thirty thousand shoes at the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland (File photo)
Image: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

NORWEGIAN POLICE HAVE apologised for their role in the arrest and deportation of hundreds of Jews in the Scandinavian country during World War II.

Representatives of the Jewish community welcomed the apology while noting that it was long overdue. The statement coincided with the 70th anniversary of the 1942 deportation of 532 Norwegian Jews and Jewish refugees on the SS Donau.

“I want to apologise on behalf of the Norwegian police and those who were responsible for carrying out the deportation of Norwegian Jews to concentration camps,” newly appointed police director Odd Reidar Humlegaard told the daily Dagsavisen.

The collaborationist government of Vidkun Quisling, who was executed in 1945, ordered the deportation of hundreds of Jews from Norway in 1942.

The roundups were carried out by Norwegians, and not Germans, according to the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities.

The police apology, which came 10 months after that of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, was well-received by the country’s small Jewish community.

“That’s good to hear, but it was high time for these apologies,” Samuel Steinmann, 89, the last survivor of the Norwegian Jews who were deported to Auschwitz, told news channel TV2 Nyhetskanalen.

“It’s never too late,” said Ervin Kohn, president of the Mosaic Religious Community in Norway.

Of the 2,100 Jews who lived in Norway at the start of World War II, 772 were deported. Of those, only 34 survived the concentration camps to which they were sent, according to the Holocaust research centre.

- AFP, 2012

Read: Germany expanding compensation for Nazi victims

Read: Belgian premier apologises for WWII deportation of 25,000 Jews

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