The Holocaust in Norway

Nazi Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940. The legitimate Norwegian government  went into exile, and the German occupation authorities appointed a collaborationist government headed by Vidkun Quisling, leader of the Norwegian Nazi Party (Nasjonal Samling or NS).

During the first two years of the occupation a few isolated actions against the Jews, including individual arrests, took place in Norway. In 1941 the German Security Police instructed the Norwegian police to stamp a red ”J” on the identification card of every Jew in Norway, preparing the ground for the mass roundup that followed.

The registration of the Norwegian Jews began in earnest in 1942. In addition to having the “J” letter stamped on their identity papers, the Jews were required to fill in a ”Questionnaire for Jews in Norway” issued by the NS Statistics Office. Simultaneously, Quisling reintroduced the anti-Jewish Article II of the 1814 Norwegian Constitution, which had been repealed by parliament in 1851.

The systematic arrests of Norwegian Jews began on October 6, 1942 in Trondheim. On October 25, 1942 the head of the State Police Karl Alfred Marthinsen sent a cable to the local Norwegian police authorities ordering the arrest of all Jewish men aged 15 and above. The women were ordered to report daily to the local police stations.

In parallel, on October 26, 1942, Quisling  prescribed the confiscation of Jewish property. The assets were seized in connection with the arrests, depriving the Jewish minority of their livelihood.

The Jewish women and children were arrested on November 25 and 26, 1942. A total of 772 Jews were deported from Norway to the Auschwitz death camp, only 34 of whom survived. The remainder of the small Jewish community in Norway, which totalled about 2,100 persons on the eve of the war, survived by escaping to Sweden. Norway thus lost more than one-third of its Jewish community during the war.