It’s okay, Norway. Happens to the best of us—and the worst:
Norwegian police on Monday 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.
How bad was Norway’s behavior? Only 34 Jews survived the Holocaust out of the 772 deported by the Norwegians themselves. Quisling became a generic noun for a traitor and a collaborator.
Nice of Norway to find the time to apologize 70 years later. Imagine how busy they must have been in the meantime!