Kontakt     Hauptseite     zurück

Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Norway

Legal settling since 1851 - communities and associations - Holocaust period with deportations or flight to Sweden - return after 1945 and action for racist Herzl Israel

Encyclopaedia Judaica vol.12.
                  col.1222: map of the Jewish communities in Norway
Encyclopaedia Judaica vol.12. col.1222: map of the Jewish communities in Norway

from: Norway; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 12

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

Teilen / share:


<NORWAY, kingdom in N. Europe.

[17th and 18th century: singular Jews]

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, when Norway and *Denmark were united, most general regulations concerning the Jews of Denmark also applied in Norway. However, according to the Norwegian Legal Code promulgated by King Christian V in 1687 the Jews were barred from admission to Norway without a letter of safe-conduct; lacking this a Jew risked arrest, fines, and deportation.

As a result of this measure the special regulations allowing free access to the so-called (col. 1222)

"Portuguese" Jews (issued by the Danish crown in 1657, renewed in 1670, 1684, and 1750) were not consistently adhered to by the Norwegian authorities.

An incident which took place in 1734 became notorious: three Dutch "Portuguese" Jews were arrested on their arrival in the country and spent two months in prison. In the 17th and 18th centuries, few Jews stayed in Norway, usually only temporarily, though some Jews in other countries had business connections there, such as Manuel *Teixeira from Hamburg who was co-owner of Norwegian mines. Despite the liberal tenor of the Norwegian constitution of 1814, Article Two - stating that Lutheran Protestantism is the official state religion in which all Lutheran children must be brought up - confirmed the exclusion of Jews from Norway; this was strictly enforced.

In 1817 a shipwrecked Jew was thrown into jail and then deported.

In the 1830s, however, a more liberal spirit gradually became apparent. The government issued letters of safe conduct from time to time; one was given to Heinrich *Heine's uncle, Solomon *Heine, who was instrumental in the granting of a loan to the Norwegian state by the Copenhagen banking house of Hambro and Son.

[since 1842: votes for free immigration of Jews - free immigration since 1851]

In 1844 the Ministry of Justice confirmed the free immigration rights of "Portuguese" Jews.

The repeal of the ban on Jewish settlement was largely the result of the efforts of the writer Henrik *Wergeland. In 1839 he submitted his first proposal to the Storting, the Norwegian parliament, accompanying his proposal by a lengthy memorandum and publishing his essay on the Jewish question, Indlaeg i Jødensagen (1841). This was followed by numerous articles in the press, several of them by Wergeland himself.

In 1842 a committee on the constitution dealing with the problem made a notable proposal in which it was stated that the right to free immigration was an international one. The motion to give (col. 1223)

the Jews free access received a simple majority, i.e., more than 50% of the vote, in 1842, 1845, and 1848, but did not obtain the requisite two-thirds majority until 1851. In that year 93 votes were cast in favour of admitting the Jews with full civil rights, with ten votes against.

The First Communities.

[Immigration after 1880 - communities in Oslo (1892) and Trondheim (1905)]

The first Jew settled in the country the following year, but few followed him for many years; in 1875 only 25 Jews had their permanent residence in Norway. After 1880 immigration increased considerably, and Eastern European Jews gradually became most numerous. In 1890 there were 214 Jews in Norway; ten years later there were 642, most of them in *Oslo, the capital, and in Trondheim, where a community developed in the 1890s. The oldest communities, called "The Mosaic Congregation", were founded in Oslo in 1892 and in Trondheim in 1905; both congregations are still in existence.

Land for a cemetery was bought in Oslo as early as 1869, and the first burial took place in 1885. For some years there were several other congregations in the capital.

[1910s: new associations and groups - Zionist groups]

In the years before and during World War I, young people's associations, women's groups, Zionist associations, and charitable societies were established in Oslo and Trondheim. A *B'nai B'rith lodge was founded in Oslo in 1952 [[1922?]]. The two synagogues in Oslo and Trondheim still in use today were consecrated in 1920 and 1925 respectively. A second synagogue in Oslo, dedicated in 1921, has not been in use since World War II. The highest number of Jewish inhabitants, 1,457, was recorded by the census of 1920. For many years most Norwegian Jews engaged in trade; gradually they also went into industry and some entered the professions. Between 1930 and 1940 immigration was comparatively slight.


Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol.12,
            col.1223, synagogue of Trondheim
Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol.12, col.1223, synagogue of Trondheim

Holocaust Period.

The Jews of Norway, whose number in 1940 was estimated at 1,700-1,800, were hard hit during the German occupation in World War II (April 1940-May 1945). They included only a few refugees from central European countries, some 200 in number, since Norway restricted the entry of Jewish refugees even more than Denmark and Sweden. Already in October 1940 Jews were prohibited to exercise academic and other professions. In some regions the actual persecution of the Jews began in 1941, but only in the fall of 1942 did it become countrywide. [[...]]

[Damage by NS occupation - 1942: Quisling's orders of registration and confiscation]

The Germans inflicted heavy damage on the synagogue in Trondheim, and planned to obliterate the Jewish cemetery there. The physical persecution of the Jews by the Germans was facilitated by orders given by *Quisling's government for the forced registration of all Jews (June 1942) and the confiscation of all Jewish property (October 1942). [[...]]

[1942: Two raids and deportations to Auschwitz - 740 killed - flight of about 930 to Sweden - about 50 interned]

In two raids, in October 25 for all men over 16 and on November 25 for women and children, 770 Jews were seized and shipped via Stettin to *Auschwitz. About 930 Jewish inhabitants succeeded in fleeing to Sweden, while about 50 other were interned in Norway proper. Very few Jews remained in hiding, in hospitals, sanatoria, or in the Jewish old-age home. Victims of the war, 60% of whom were men (two-thirds of whom were citizens of Norway), totaled 760. Twenty persons perished either through acts of war or were shot in Norway. Of those deported 740 were killed in extermination camps and only 12 returned. [[...]]

[[The majority of the deportees probably died in the tunnel systems of the "Underground Reich", a little part died because of epidemics or by hunger or by shooting in the camps]].

[Bishop's protests]

The bishops of Norway sent a letter on Nov. 11, 1942, in protest to Quisling.

It was also signed by the other Protestant churches of Norway. The letter, in denunciation of the illegal acts, states:

"God does not differentiate among people ... Since the Lutheran religion is the state religion, the state cannot enact any law or decree which is in conflict with the Christian faith or the Church's confession."

The letter was read on Dec. 6 and 13, 1942, from the pulpit and was quoted in the 1943 New Year message. The Norwegian (col. 1224)

people, with the guidance of its underground, to the best of their capability helped Jews to escape to Sweden, often at the risk of their own live.


Contemporary Period.

[Return of about 800 Jews from Sweden - offers of asylum are denied by DP committee]

Most of the survivors of the Holocaust, about 800 in number, returned to Norway from Sweden after the war. The Norwegian government was eager to demonstrate the sympathy of the Norwegian people toward the suffering Jewish people. A 1946 offer to grant asylum to unaccompanied Jewish children from the *Displaced Persons camps in Germany was turned down by the central committee of the DPs, which insisted that the surviving children be raised in Erez Israel. Another offer to grant residence to about 1,000 Jewish DPs, and thus make up for the loss in Jewish population caused by the deportations, met with a more positive response.

About 400 Jewish DPs came to Norway in 1947, but many left after some time for North America or Israel. With the abolition of the DP camps in Germany in the 1950s, Norway accepted several scores of "hardcore" cases. By the mid-1950s the Jewish population reached close to 1,000 souls, of whom over 700 resided in Oslo, about 150 in Trondheim, and the rest were scattered over the country.

The communities in Oslo and Trondheim were reconstituted: Orthodox services were conducted in the synagogues; social work, supported by the *American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the *Conference on Jewish Material Claims, was expanded; a community center was opened in Oslo in 1960; a home for the aged exists in Oslo; the small community participates in all activities for Israel; 80 school-age children receive regular religious instruction in Oslo and Trondheim; and a *B'nai B'rith lodge was established in Oslo in 1952.

The Norwegian government, the church, and all political parties have been actively engaged in eradicating anti-Semitism. Pro-Israel sentiments are very strong and found their expression in many deeds.

[[Israel is an ideologic state according to Herzl colonialism and is very problematic because Herzl states the Arabs could be driven away as the natives in the "USA" had been driven away. There are no human rights]].

At the beginning of 1949, the Norwegian Relief Organization brought 200 Jewish children, destined for *Youth Aliyah, from North Africa to Norway for a rehabilitation period of eight months. All but one in a second group of 29 children from Tunisia perished in an airplane crash on Nov. 25, 1949.

A village of immigrants from North Africa, Yanuv, was established in the Sharon Plain in Israel in their memory; the Norwegian public contributed one million kroner (about $ 150,000) toward the establishment of the village. Staunch supporters of Israel in Norway included Trygve Lie, first secretary-general of the United Nations; the late leader of the Conservative Party, Carl Joachim Hambro; Odd Nansen (the son of Fridtjof Nansen), who continued the humanitarian work of his father in many fields; the leaders of the Labour Party, Einar Gerhardsen, Trygve Brattelli, Jens Christian Hange, Halvard Lange, Haaron Lie, Aase Lionaes, Finn Moe, and Martin Tranmachl; the outstanding scholars Francis Bull (literature), S. Mowinckel (Bible), Gunnar Randers (physics); and many others. Leading Norwegian personalities have also repeatedly intervened on behalf of Soviet Jewry, as well as on behalf of persecuted Jews in Arab countries.

[[Well, when Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel has a state program without borderline definitions and to drive all Arabs away the persecution of the Jews in the Arab states is a logic reaction]].

Table. Jews in Norway 1875-1955 approx.
xxxxxxxxxxYearxxxxxxxxxx number of Jews
1875 25xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1,700-1,800 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
about 800xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1955 approx.
about 1,000xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Table by Michael Palomino; from: Norway; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 12, col. 1224-1225

Relations with Israel.

Norway voted for the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947,

[[Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel stays against the Arabs what means eternal war]]

and Trygve Lie, as secretary-general of the United Nations, used all his diplomatic skill to remove obstacles to the adoption of the resolution. Diplomatic relations between Norway and Israel were soon established, first through nonresident ministers, with the Israel envoy in Stockholm and the Norwegian envoy in Athens serving in that capacity, and since 1961 on the level of resident ambassadors.

At the United Nations, Norway frequently came out in support of Israel. The friendly (col. 1225)

relations found expression in great celebrations of Israel's tenth anniversary and in official visits by prime ministers, foreign ministers, and of other public figures. The Norwegian General Odd Bull served as highly respected Chief of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization from 1963 to 1970. A cultural agreement between the two countries, signed in 1956, has been instrumental in fostering scientific cooperation and cultural and artistic exchange.

Tourism between Norway and Israel expanded considerably. Trade also developed satisfactorily, with Israel exporting $3,000,000-$3,500,000 annually, mainly in citrus fruits and products, yarn, tires, and fertilizers. Norwegian exports to Israel in normal years amount to a similar scope in fish, aluminium , and pulp, but in some years, 1968 for example, reached over $ 28,000,000 in refrigerator boats.


See Israel, *Foreign Policy.


-- H.M. Koritzinsky: Jødernes historie i Norge (1927)
-- O. Mendelsohn: Jødernes historie i Norge (1969)


-- H. Valentin, in: YIVOA, 8 (1953), 224-34, passim
-- B. Höye and T.M. Ager: The Fight of the Norwegian Church Against Nazism (1943)
-- Eduyyot Ha-Yo'ez ha-Mishpati la-Memshalah Neged Adolf Eichmann (1963), 475-80
-- J.M. Snoek, in: The Grey Book (1969), 116-9> (col. 1226)

Teilen / share:


Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol.
                          12, col. 1222
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol. 12, col. 1222
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol.
                          12, col. 1223-1224
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol. 12, col. 1223-1224
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol.
                          12, col. 1225-1226
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Norway, vol. 12, col. 1225-1226