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 The Holocaust in Norway

UMD Center for Genocide, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies

Panel Discussion and Film Screenings


Berit Reisel

Panel Discussion: Holocaust in Norway

A panel presentation with four speakers, Berit Reisel, Arnfinn Moland, Bjarte Bruland, Irene Levin, and Irene Levin Berman, will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday April 23 in the Kirby Rafters.

Berit Reisel, from the Restitution Claims Committee, in Oslo and a member of the Oslo Jewish Community will discuss the issues surrounding World War II restitution claims. Reisel, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, works as a psychoanalyst, teacher and writer. She is a member of the Executive Board of the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC) representing the four Nordic Countries. As a member of the official Norwegian committee on the restitution of Jewish property after World War II she worked with Bjarte Bruland on a minority report presented to the Minister of Justice that was eventually adopted by the Norwegian Government.

Arnfinn Moland, Director, Resistance Museum, Olso, wrote the book, Top Secret. The Norwegian Intelligence Service 1945 - 1970, with Olav Riste. In it, Moland describes an operation that grew from a handful of specialists in 1946 to become a comprehensive organization of about one thousand people by the end of the 1960s. This Norweigan intelligence service made an important contribution to the safety and strength of the western alliance during the Cold War.


Irene Levin

Bjarte Bruland, Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Restitution Claims Committee, Oslo. He is a non-Jewish historian who researched the confiscating of Jewish property in Norway and wrote the book The Deportation of the Norwegian Jews and the Role of the Norwegian Authorities.

He is also Chief Curator at the Jewish Museum in Oslo.

Irene Levin Berman, who lives in Hartford, Connecticut, is a child survivor of the Holocaust in Norway (her family having safely gotten to Sweden). Berman and many of her friends have donated funds to the new Oslo Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, to the Jewish Museum and to our Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. She tells her story of growing up in Norway during World War II and is finalizing a children’s book based on her experiences. She is a renowned translator of the great Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen.

Irene Levin is professor of Social Work at the University of Oslo. She will speak on Righteous Gentiles: The Rescue of 14 Children from the Jewish Children's Home in Holbergs Gate, Oslo.

Film Screening

Three films, Holocaust in Norway: Oral Testimonies, Origin Unknown, and The Man Who Loved Haugesund, will be shown at 7 p.m. on Monday April 23 in the Kirby Rafters.

Holocaust in Norway: Oral Testimonies is a documentary telling the stories of Berit Reisel and Irene Levin, and their experiences with the Holocaust in Norway.


from Origin Unknown

Origin Unknown: The film, Origin Unknown by Nina Grünfeld tells the story of the Grünfeld family. In Norway, Berthold Grünfeld is a well-known Jewish psychiatrist, sexologist, and professor of social medicine. Brought up by a Catholic family until he moved to Norway as a boy, he knows nothing about his real mother. Nor does he care to, having long ago shut out the past in order to succeed in the present. But his daughter, director Nina Grünfeld, has a pressing need to know, and sets out to uncover her father's history. Her documentary about the search has a stunning clarity and focus, especially given her emotional involvement with the subject.It is introduced by Liv Ullmann, noted actress and director, and longtime friend of the Grünfeld family.


Moritz Rabinowitz

The Man Who Loved Haugesund: This documentary, by directors Jon Haukeland and Tore Vollan, is about Moritz Rabinowitz, who was the highest profile Jew in Norway when the Nazis invaded the country in 1940. A Polish Jew, he moved to the small Norwegian fishing village of Haugesund in 1911. With hard work and exemplary relations with his employees, he built the largest clothing store and factory in the country. Rabinowitz had to flee when the Nazis landed in Norway. Dozens of non-Jewish Norwegians risked their lives to hide him. In the end, his downfall was that he wouldn't stop trying to help out with his business. A call back to review how things were going accidentally revealed his hiding place. He and all of his family died in various Nazi concentration camps in Germany.


For information contact Alexis Pogorelskin, Director, Center for Genocide, Holocaust, and Human Rights Studies, 218 726-7548, apogorel@d.umn.edu

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