By Jim Kouri
More than 67 years after World War II ended, Norway’s national police service officially apologized on Monday for the involvement of Norwegian cops in the deportation of more than 500 Jewish Norwegians during the Second World War.
Monday, Sept. 26, 2012, marked the 70th anniversary of the tragic and shameful episode in which 532 Jewish residents were arrested and “deported” to the infamous Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Norway’s police herded their fellow citizens on board the German ship SS Donau to transport them to arguably the most notorious concentration camp in history.
Speaking to the Norwegian-language newspaper Dagsavisen, Norwegian police chief Odd Reidar Humlegaard said that he wished to apologize on behalf of the Norwegian Police Service and those who were involved with the deportation operation, in which more than 300 Norwegian policemen assisted the Nazis in rousting innocent Jews who were citizens of Norway.
Earlier this year, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg promulgated a formal apology for the deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz on behalf of the Norwegian government.
Norway’s police collaboration with the Nazi occupiers in the dark early morning 70 years ago was seen by many Norwegians as a “national shame.”
Norway was invaded by Adolph Hitler’s Nazi forces on Apr. 9, 1940 and the Scandinavian country remained occupied until May 1945 when the Nazis were finally defeated by the allies.
Out of about 770 Jewish Norwegians or Jewish refugees deported from occupied Norway, only a few dozen survived the death camps and returned to Norway following the war.
According to an Israeli source, Monday’s Norwegian police department apology was well received by the Jewish community in Oslo.
Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish organization Mosaic Religious Community, said that it was fine for the Norwegians to come up with an apology for what happened in 1942.
“What happened in 1942 in Norway should be a cautionary tale for anyone working in U.S. law enforcement today. Cops must always remember they don’t take oaths to obey and defend individual leaders. Rather, they take oaths to obey and defend the U.S. Constitution first and foremost,” said former police captain Anthony “Tony” DeAngelo.