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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Norwegians, Swedes and Why Their Attitudes Have Worsened Toward Jews

Nadene Goldfoot
My maternal grandmother, Augusta Johansson-Gustafson, was born in Sweden in 1870 and came to the states when she was 18 years old in 1888.  She always said, "Oh, those Norwegians!".    I never knew why she didn't respect them.  Now our family has members from both countries.  We follow our father's religion, Judaism,  and it's discouraging to see the change in attitude in these two countries from the time of World War II.
Before the 19th Century, Jews couldn't even enter Norway without a "Letter of Protection," because the Danish limited the amount of Jews entering the country.  In 1840 this changed when a poet, Henrik Wergelang, argued for Jews to be allowed to enter and got the Parliament to agree.  650 Jews were admitted by 1891 when emancipation took place.  They lived in Oslo and Trondheim.  By 1920 there was a whopping 1,456 Jews in Norway.  In 1940 Norway was invaded by Germany and found 1,800 Jews living there with all but 200 being Norwegian citizens.

Norway's army surrendered and they had a collaborationist government led by Vidkun Quisling.  The Nazis demanded anti-Jewish laws which were implemented quickly so that by 1942, 770 Jews were sent to Nazi concentration camps.  760 were killed in death camps, but the underground had smuggling out 930 Jews across to the Swedish border. After the war, 800 Jews had survived and they, with displaced persons, were invited back by the Norwegian government. By 1996 Norway thought about restitution of Jewish property that had been confiscated by the Quisling regime.

Today there is one rabbi in all of Norway who is at the synagogue in Oslo.  Norway doesn't allow the koshering of meat, so it is imported from Denmark.  There is a 2nd synagogue in Trondheim and is the most northern synagogue in the world.  I have met online a Norwegian Jewish girl whose family didn't know they were Jewish.  She wound up going to Israel to find out about her religion more.  It was a result of the family escaping from the Holocaust and winding up in Norway.

Today there is a lot of anti-Semitism going on in Norway.  Their Center Party just proposed a law against male circumcision, a Jewish practice for baby boys at the age of 8 days.  If this law passes, they will be the first country to do so.  Just such a proposal was made in San Francisco, California recently  and was not passed.  In 1814 Norway had "The Jewish Clause" in their constitution which excluded Jews from the country.  This had gone on till it was repealed in 1851.

 The country has also taken in many Muslims, and wherever both groups reside causes lots of sparking hatred. Most of the anti-Semitic acts going on are committed by Muslims.  Muslim children are taught this hatred and it's showing up in the schools.  In 2009, 39 % of primary-school students in Oslo came from  immigrant families.   The latest event is about bullying a Jewish boy in school for the past several years which has resulted in his tormentors burning him on the neck with a burning-hot coin at an Oslo secondary school barbeque.  Why?  The boy's father is an Israeli, and this ticked off the students in their hatred for our tiny country.

 Though the country declares that they have a zero tolerance for bullying, nothing was done about this incident. Other Jewish students have been assaulted in their schools and teachers are known to just look the other way.  Their media plays a major role in reinforcing anti-Semitism.  For example only one media in Norway reported the burned student, and that was a Christian, Israel-friendly daily newspaper.  The political left shows a hatred for Jews.
Jews living in Sweden are descendants of World War II refugees and Holocaust survivors who came after the war.  They also have Jewish refugees who fled Hungary in 1956 and others who left Poland in 1968.  Recently, Jews went there from the former Soviet Union instead of immigrating to Israel.  Stockholm has 3 synagogues and 2 rabbis.  One synagogue was built in 1870.  Gothenburg and Malmo also have a synagogue.  Here also, kosher meat must be imported from Denmark which is bought in Stockholm and Malmo.

Malmo has recently had an influx of Muslims, and the city has become a hotbed of attacks on Jews. There are only 760 Jews but 45,000 Muslims of Palestinian, Iraqi, Somali and even Yugoslavian heritage in this city of 293,900.   It has become so bad that many of these  Jews have had to move out of the city as they feared for their life.  Marcus Eilenberg, 32 year old attorney is taking his family and moving to Israel now.  The mayor is siding with the new population and has done nothing to stop the situation.  It really is a disgrace.  I even attempted to write some comments in an English newspaper online and was horrified by what people were saying and believing.

Both countries have their cultural elite whose attitude towards the Muslim influx seems to be that when their leaders rant against Israel and the Jews, their response is to join them in their rantings, calling this "solidarity."

Resource:   Jew-Hatred in Norway by Bruce Bawer

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