Frontpagemag Manfred Gerstenfeld Norway

Manfred Gerstenfeld in Front Page Magazine: Norway’s Nazi Problem…….

Norway continues to blunder

Norway’s Knut Hamsun:
How I love thee Joseph
let me count the ways

The original publication of Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld’s article over at FPM was a bit messy, so the Tundra Tabloids republishes (with the permission of the author) a more readable version of the same article in its entirety, concerning Norway’s “international leader educating people about the evils of the Holocaust and simultaneously spend tens of millions of dollars to honor a dead Nazi.” KGS

UPDATE: Dr. Rafael Medof is director of the Wyman institute in the U.S, and is a serious scholar, he too takes on the issue of Norway chairing the Holocaust Task Force while honoring a noted Nazi Sympathiser, Knut Hamsun.

Each of the countries belonging to the task force has pledged to carry out the eight-point final declaration of the Stockholm Conference. Point number six is particularly relevant to the Knut Hamsun controversy: “We share a commitment to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to honor those who stood against it.”

This puts the Norwegian government in something of a bind, because instead of honoring “those who stood against the Holocaust,” such as Undset, it is honoring someone who stood for it.

In the 1940s, Undset and Hamsun made their choices: Undset sided with good, Hamsun with evil. Today, Norway too must make a choice, between venerating the memory of the Holocaust, and desecrating it.It cannot do both. “

Norway Honors Hitler Admirer

by Manfred Gerstenfeld

Can one be an international leader in educating people about the evils of the Holocaust and simultaneously spend tens of millions of dollars to honor a dead Nazi? The Norwegian government thinks that such moral relativism is normal.

The honored Nazi in question is the novelist Knut Hamsun, who welcomed the brutal German occupation of Norway during World War II. He also offered his Nobel Prize in Literature as a gift to the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Hamsun later visited Hitler, whom he admired, in Bavaria.[1]

The New York Times wrote that in February 2009, Norway’s Queen Sonja opened the “year-long, publicly financed commemoration of Hamsun’s 150th birthday called Hamsun 2009…the queen spent a highly specific half-hour with Hamsun family members at the National Library. Together they viewed the author’s handwritten manuscripts.”[2] There is more than one layer of significance to this. First, a Labor party-dominated government rehabilitates an admirer of Hitler and the National Socialists. Second, the Queen participates in this event, as if the royal family did not flee abroad when the Germans conquered their homeland in 1940.

In March Norway became head of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research. The ITF consists of representatives of government, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations. Its purpose is to place political and social leaders’ support behind the promotion of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. It was initiated by Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson in 1998, This Task Force currently has twenty-six member countries. It met on 24 June for a major conference in Oslo.

Holocaust remembrance requires moral choices. The whitewashing of a Nazi supporter however expresses moral turpitude. A Norwegian government spokesman said that Hamsun was one of Norway’s most important authors and added that during the Hamsun festivities his Nazi past will be mentioned. How important can such mention be in what in essence are festivities in his honor?

Has Norway built a twenty million dollar museum for any Norwegian who resisted the Nazis? A more than life size bronze statue of Hamsun is also planned. One can probably search in vain all over Western Europe for a statue of such an extreme admirer of Hitler.

The German Jewish author Max Tau, who fled to Norway before the war, tells in his biography how Hamsun—a former friend of his—was despised by many Norwegians when he showed his sympathy for Hitler-ruled Germany. The medical head of a hospital, said to Tau: “I have burned all Hamsun’s books.” Others told him they would never read one more sentence written by Hamsun.[3]

The outrageous state-sponsored honoring of Hamsun is only the tip of the iceberg of why Norway should never have been chosen as ITF Chair. A country where moral relativism is widespread among part of its elites can not lead an effort to teach the Holocaust internationally. A few examples of what is possible in Norway: Last year TV2, Norway’s second largest TV station, was condemned by the press ethics commission PFU for an extreme anti-Semitic program by the comedian Otto Jespersen. It was so hateful that for the first time ever the PFU came out against satire. In May 2009 TV2 brought Holocaust denier David Irving to Oslo for a lengthy interview by an ignorant journalist.

In his opening speech a few days ago at the Oslo ITF conference Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre came out strongly against Holocaust denial. He did not mention that his country was probably the only one among the member states, where a Holocaust denier had been given the occasion to appear recently on a major TV station.

Last month Queen Sonja went to a mosque where she met the imam who supports suicide bombings. A few weeks later, at very short notice, King Harald V visited the Oslo synagogue. This was the first time a royal had done so since Jews were admitted to Norway 150 years ago. The juxtaposition of the two visits again exposes Norwegian moral relativism at the highest level.

In September 2008 a Jewish museum was opened in Oslo by Crown Prince Haakon.[4] In an interfaith debate in March the Islamist Mohammed Ali Chisthi spoke and made anti-Semitic remarks. His speech had been submitted to the organizers earlier. A picture in the daily Aftenposten captured the Crown Prince on the front row attentively listening to the inciter.[5] Comparing the two events one sees yet another manifestation of moral relativism.

In March 2007 Finn Graf was made a knight in the prestigious Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav by the king for his contribution as an artist.[6] In one caricature Graf had depicted then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a sadistic Nazi camp commander. In March 2008, when Julius Paltiel, one of the few Norwegian Auschwitz survivors, died King Harald V attended the funeral. The juxtaposition of the two events is symbolic: honoring a dead Jew as well as a living inciter to Jew-hatred.

One cannot expect the small Norwegian Jewish community to lead a fight against Norway’s chairmanship of the ITF. The community is heavily dependent on the government for its protection. Therefore the other member states and NGOs should bring pressure to bear to depose Norway of this position. Perhaps that would make the country’s leaders understand that there are no free anti-Semitic lunches.

The author is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. His latest book is Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews.

The author is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. His latest book is Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews.

1.) Walter Gibbs, “Norwegian Nobel Laureate, Once Shunned, Is Now Celebrated,” New York Times, 27 February 2009.
2.) Ibid.
3.) Max Tau, Ein Fluchtling findet sein Land (Hamburg: Hoffmann & Campe, 1964), 88, 89. [German]
4.) Nina Berglund, “New Jewish Museum opens,” Aftenposten, 9 September 2008.
5.) “Også Chisthi er norsk,” Aftenposten, 4 April 2009. [Norwegian]
6.) (the official royal website).

One Response

  1. I remember once, when I was 17, my French teacher couldn't help sing the praises of the French author Céline (pen name of Louis-Ferdinand Destouches (27 May 1894 – 1 July 1961). He clearly made note of Céline's inclination to vent his disdain for Judaism and the fact that this man was a collaborator of the Vichy régime, but he was very quick to add that this "paled in comparison to what Céline actually achieved for international literature in general".

    Céline fled France during liberation, and joined the last remnants of the Vichy government in Sigmaringen. He subsequently lived in exile for a number of years. During the rise of Nazi Germany, he wrote three typically cynical and antisemitic pamphlets: Bagatelles pour un massacre (Trifles for a Massacre) (1937), L'École des cadavres (School of Corpses) (1938) and Les Beaux draps (The Fine Mess) (1941), the last one published during the occupation of France.

    The massacre that Céline had in mind when he titled his first overtly antisemitic pamphlet Bagatelles pour un massacre was that of the "goïms," or Gentiles, who he thought would be led in slaughter once again in another great war.

    His fascist views are evident in L'Ecole des cadavres where he calls for a Franco-German alliance in order to counter the alliance between British intelligence and "the international Jewish conspiracy"

    After the Vichy regime fell in 1944, Céline escaped judgment by fleeing to Sigmaringen, Germany, accompanying the Vichy Chief of State Marshal Philippe Pétain, and President Pierre Laval. For a brief time Céline acted as Laval's personal physician.(he was also a doctor)

    After the fall of the Nazi government Céline subsequently fled to Denmark (1945). Branded a collaborator, he was convicted in absentia (1950) in France to one year of imprisonment and declared a national disgrace. He was subsequently granted amnesty and returned to France in 1951.

    Nevertheless, all seemed to be forgiven later on, when notable authors like Irvine Welsh,Günter Grass, Charles Bukowski,Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and William S. Burroughs among others cited him as a significant influence on their own work.

    And that's probably why my own French teacher at the time thought a bit of apologism was in order to absolve this man.

    If we start digging way deeper than the example of Knut Hamsun and Céline, we will probably find a lot more examples of such authors having been whitewashed by the left.

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