The Jewish community of Norway was hit hard by the Holocaust. The first anti-Jewish measure was introduced just a month after the beginning of the Nazi occupation, in May 1940, when radios of Jews were confiscated. In October 1941 registration of Jewish property started; a number of Jewish owned firms and businesses were confiscated. In January 1942 a decree was issued requiring all Jews to have a red “J” stamped in their identification papers. During this period there were some arrests of Jewish men , who were sent to prisons and labor camps inside Norway. However, in October 1942 mass arrests of Jewish men over 15 years started , followed by arrests of women and children. At the same time all Jewish property was confiscated. Norwegian policemen helped the German occupier in performing these acts. 26 November, early in the morning, 530 Jews were shipped out of the country in the boat “Donau”, heading toward Poland. A nother mass deportation of Jews followed in February 1943. T hese Jews were transported to Auschwitz, where women, elderly and children were sent directly to the gas chambers. Only 25 of the 795 deported Jews survived. This constituted around one-third of all Jews living in Norway before the war.
A large number of the Jews in Norway escaped to Sweden, which was neutral. To this date 42 Norwegians have been honored by “Yad Vashem” as “Righteous Among the Nations”. Among those is Ingebjørg Sletten-Fosstvedt. She helped the family of the Norwegian rabbi Julius Samuel, himself deported and killed in Auschwitz, to run away to Sweden. Among the most heroic stories is the rescue of the fourteen children of the Jewish orphanage in Oslo. Most of these were refugees from Austria. The children were smuggled out of the orphanage after an anonymous call warning the orphanage of imminent mass arrests of Jewish women and children. The children were subsequently hidden in several apartments in Oslo. After a week they were sent in small groups to a farm near the Swedish border. From there the children walked on foot, accompanied by Norwegian border guides, a distance of about 20 km before they reached the Swedish border. Seven Norwegians have been honored by “Yad Vashem” for this act: Sigrid Helliesen Lund, Gerda Tanberg, Martin Solvang, Ola Rauken, Ola Breisjøberget, Nina Hasvold and Nic Waal. The other “Righteous among the nations” are: Alfhild Bonnevie, Harald and Nanti Bryn, Einar and Agnes Follestad, Bjørn and Thorbjørg Hougen, Helga Hougen and Helga Hougen (cousins), Kåre Kleivan, Erling Malm, Rev. Hans Christen Mamen, Bjørn, Astrid and August Michelsen, Finn and Valdis Nielssen, Nikolai and Anny Nilsen and their children Edmund, Nordal, Jenny and Pauline, the Norwegian Underground Movement, Alice Resch-Synnestvedt, Per Roth, Markus Rotvold, Oscar and Frida Sjølie, Margit Tosterud (Limbodal), Einar Wellen, Agnes and Carl Wilhelmsen , and Per Faye-Hansen.