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Norwegian Police Apologize for Wartime Deportations


On Monday, 26 November 2012, Norway commemorated the first deportation from Oslo harbor of 532 Jews to Auschwitz 70 years ago.

A total of 772 Jews were deported from Norway, only 34 of whom survived. The day was marked by well-attended ceremonies in Oslo and other cities which had lost members of their Jewish communities 70 years ago.

On this occasion, the Norwegian police for the first time offered an apology for their role in the deportations.

"On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the prisoner deportation on the ship 'Donau,' it is natural that I today apologize for the fact that the Norwegian police participated in deporting Norwegian Jews to the concentration camps," police director Odd Reidar Humlegård said. "These were completely innocent people who were subjected to atrocious acts, and it has inflicted much pain on survivors and surviving relatives."

As a consequence of the German occupation, the wartime Norwegian police was placed under the control of the SS. The Norwegian police forces subsequently played an active part in the registration, arrest and deportation of the Jews. The state police under the leadership of police general Karl A. Martinsen bore the principal responsibility for carrying out these actions against Jewish citizens in Norway, assisted by the regular police forces, the Germanic SS Norway and Quisling's guards.

The execution of the Holocaust in Norway has only recently received scholarly attention, heightening awareness about the central role played by the police. The Norwegian police have gradually integrated these wartime events into their education program, making use of the educational resources at the Norwegian Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities.

All first year students at the Police University College in Oslo are invited to the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities for a guided visit of the Holocaust exhibition and a lecture on the role of the Norwegian police in the wartime deportations.

In addition, the Center's senior researcher Terje Emberland regularly gives lectures at the Police University Colleges in Oslo and Kongsvinger on the topic of the Norwegian police during the German occupation. Emberland has on several occasions also been invited to give lectures as part of the continuing education program and the annual research conference at the Police University College.

The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities is currently in the process of planning a new exhibition and education centre in cooperation with the Defense Museum and the Police University College. The centre will be located on the site of the wartime SS training grounds for the military education and the ideological indoctrination of the Norwegian police in Kongsvinger. The intention behind this project is to build an arena for contemporary discussions about professional ethics embedded in the wartime history of the Norwegian police forces.