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Omits the fate of the Jews in Norway

A new history book for the secondary school does not mention the Jewish section, the extermination of Jews in Norway or the Jews as a minority. Holocaust Center Director Odd-Bjørn Fure thinks the school book should be stopped.

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

[new school book] -This is pointless. Such a book should not be published in Norway today. Norwegian youth do not deserve it. Especially not when we in 2008 enter a Diversity year and will celebrate the 200 anniversary of Henrik Wergeland's birth.

Sidsel Levin, chair of the Jewish Museum, in Oslo reacts strongly when she sees the contents of this fall's new history book for the secondary school, Monitor 2. History (Cappels). The book is part of the new Knowledge Promise, and it will be used in schools across the country when students and teachers return to a new school year from Monday 20. August.

In the new history book there are twelve pages on "War and occupation" in Norway from 1940 to 1945, but the arrest, deportation and killings

on a total of 766 Norwegian Jews are not mentioned. By comparison, the bullying of so-called German kittens and German kings gets half a page.

  • It is terrible that a textbook in Norway in 2007 omits information about the extermination of Jews in such a comprehensive discussion of the war. On the basis of the past

years of research on the Norwegian part of the Holocaust, and not least the documentation found in the new exhibition at Villa Grande, it is completely incomprehensible that a textbook can omit this crime.

This is how Odd-Bjørn Fure, Director of Research at the Center for the Holocaust and Life Minorities (HL-Center), responds as he browses through it.

new story book Monitor 2. The only hint of the fate of the Jews comes in a caption to a picture of a business with the inscription: "Palestine calls. Jews cannot be tolerated in Norway ”, but it only says that“ The business owner was probably a Jew ”. In the end

of the war chapter, students are given the task: "What happened to the Jews in Norway?"

  • This is precisely what a textbook should inform students about. This neglect of the Jewish extermination is similar to the story of history

was made before 1990, but such an omission is unlawful today, says Fure.

He browses the new school books while sitting in the Tower Room of Vidkun Quisling at Villa Grande, the large villa that the HL Center now

resides in.

  • What do you think should happen now that the book is printed and ready to use?

  • The book should be put on ice. The publisher should revise it immediately. It costs a little extra, but there is no way out. Norwegian school pupils have a regrettable and unfortunate gap in their historical consciousness with such a presentation.

  • The Curriculum does not say that the extermination of the Jews should or should be mentioned. Will there be a solution to bring this in?

  • Actually, such a thing should not be necessary. But having seen this, it is appropriate to suggest that the authorities take such a step

point, Fure replies.

He also responds that the exclusion of Jews from Norway, the "Jewish clause" in the Constitution of 1814, is not mentioned in one word in the full

Constitutional discussion. Monitor 2 states that the women and the homeless did not get the right to vote, but not that the Jews were banned from staying. The chapter on minorities says about the Sami and the Romani people, but nothing about the Jews except that they are mentioned as a minority. Fure highlights Harald Skjønsberg's new textbook Underveis. History 9 (Gyldendal) as an example of how this can be done. Both the Jewish section, the extermination of the Jews and the Jewish minority are extensively discussed.

Sidsel Levin at the Jewish Museum is now calling for stronger control of Norwegian textbooks.

  • From a central level, far stronger signals should be given about what the textbooks should contain. Recently, we corrected errors and omissions in another textbook we reviewed before it went to print. Today, there is no possibility for control of school textbooks anymore, but it may seem that a similar arrangement may be necessary again. At least we want to be able to review what is written about the Jews and Judaism before the books go out to schools, says Levin.

TERRIBLE: Research director Odd-Bjørn Fure at the Center for Holocaust and Religious Minorities thinks

it is terrible that the persecution of Jews is left out of the textbook. PHOTO: ERLEND AAS, SCANPIX

  • Unreasonable criticism

[history] – The extermination of the Jews has not been left out in Monitor, says editor-in-chief Thor Jørgen Kristiansen in Cappelen Primary School to Ny Tid.

The publisher believes the criticism is unreasonable and testifies that the textbook critics have not been able to see the whole of the textbook package. The Monitor series is a social studies work that consists of three basic books (social studies, history and geography) and 1 common

exercise book per year level. In addition, there is a website with student assignments and links, as well as a teacher's guide.

    1. World War I and the Holocaust were covered in Monitor 1 for Step 8. In the exercise book for 9th grade, the students can work thoroughly with both factual text and assignments around the problem of what happened to the Jews in Norway during World War II, the editor-in-chief explains.

In the exercise book, students can read the Mosaic faith community's description of the persecution of Jews in Norway during the war and discuss group assignments in relation to this.

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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