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 Norway: World War II, and the Holocaust

Arts, Design and Architecture Faculty from

Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey

Halime Fisenk, Murat Devrim Atilgan, and Filiz Yenisehirlioglu, with chair of the UMD Department of Art and Design, Virginia Jenkins.

Conference: Norway: World War II, and the Holocaust
The question of Norway and the Holocaust has intensified recently due to the opening of the new Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Oslo, Norway (August 2006). While Minnesota is situated in an area with a large population of Scandinavian heritage, some aspects of historical interest in the subject of the Scandinavian countries and World War II has languished. The purpose of the event is to revisit these tragic years with a critical eye.

Recent events, such as the formation of The European Task Force on Holocaust Education, have pushed the subject to the forefront in Europe, while interest has remained very strong in the United States all along. In addition, there has emerged a new generation of historians in Scandinavia who are looking critically at the post-war official version of the World War II events in Norway.

Dr. Monika Zagar, Professor of Scandinavia Studies is finishing a book on the life of Knut Hamsun, which necessarily includes an evaluation of World War II events, including the Holocaust. She recently returned from her research visit to Oslo. Dr. Paul Levine from Uppsala University has visited the University of Minnesota on several occasions and his academic work for this occasion can reflect on Swedish Diplomacy that made for the rescue of Norwegian Jews as well as their reception in Sweden.

In addition, Berit Reisel, member of the Oslo Jewish Community appeared as a speaker at the Brown University/ Holocaust Educational Foundation conference on the Holocaust in November 2004. Her presentation on issues surrounding restitution claims from World War II was riveting and we would like to bring her to our campus as a speaker. We hope she would not only speak at our two-day conference but also at independent speaking events.
Finally, our relationship to Mrs. Irene Levin Berman who lives in Hartford, Connecticut and is a child survivor of the Holocaust in Norway (her family having safely gotten to Sweden) has been relevant. Ms. 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. Mrs. Berman has been enthusiastic about telling her story of growing up in Norway during World War II. One of the aims of the conference is to help her finalize a children’s book based on her experiences.
Targeted audiences will consist of: Norwegian and Jewish Communities in Minnesota and the public in general; Faculty and graduate and undergraduate students at University of Minnesota, especially in GSD, History, Jewish Studies, Holocaust Studies, and IGS; Faculty and students at University of Saint Thomas, St.Olaf College, Augsburg College, Luther College, Iowa, Concordia College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, University of Northern Iowa’s Program in Holocaust Studies, University of Minnesota –Duluth, St. Cloud State University and perhaps even University of Wisconsin-Madison. Public schools (high schools) will also be invited for those with interest in the subject. As the Holocaust usually focuses on Germany and Central Europe, the emphasis on Norway may provide some new insights into issues connected with racial hatreds and prejudices and how events like the Holocaust can happen even in idyllic places like Norway.
Strategies for establishing interest will include close work with Norwegian Consul General in Minneapolis, general advertising available through the University of Minnesota, use of radio and television stations and other advertising methods. Special attention will be paid to making contact with Norwegian Fraternal organizations in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Last but not least, we will advertise through several departments’ list serves in order to attract students of Scandinavian, Jewish studies, history, political science, and so forth.
Conference Organizers
Dr. Stephen Feinstein
Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Dr. Monika Zagar
Assoc. Professor of Scandinavian Studies
Supported by Grants from:
American Scandinavian Foundation
College of Liberal Arts Scholarly Events Fund
Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in College of Liberal Arts
Institute for Global Studies
Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch
History Department
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Center for Jewish Studies
Scandinavian Airlines
Thanks To Scandinavia
Martin and Irene Berman
Archie and Bertha Wexler Foundation (in process-unconfirmed)
With a special thanks and dedication to the support of Dr. Martin and Irene Levin Berman whose interest in the subject was the opportunity for this conference, and dedicated to the memory of Marcus and Rosa Levin, Oslo Jewish Community Leaders in the Post-war period.
Tentative Schedule:
Norway Conference Schedule
Site confirmed: Radisson Metrodome Hotel, Washington Avenue, U of M Campus.
Dinner Humphrey Room
Thursday evening April 19, 2007
Opening dinner sponsored by Consulate General of Norway, represented by Rolf Hansen, Consul General.
Remarks and welcome: Dr. Stephen Feinstein, Director Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Professor Monika Zagar, Department of Dutch, German and Scandinavian
Honorable Rolf Hansen, Consul-General of Norway in Minnesota.
Dr. James Parente, Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of
Department of Dutch, German and Scandinavian.
6:30 PM Dinner. Guest speaker: Berit Reisel, Norwegian Immigration Policies 1930-1950.
Closing remarks by Arnfinn Moland, Director of The Resistance Museum, Oslo
Those wishing to attend the dinner who are not part of the conference schedule may do so for a fee of $40, check made out in advance to "Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies." Such reservations must be received by April 10.
Friday, April 20, 2007
9AM-10:30AM: Session 1: Norway, World War II and the Jewish Question
Bjarte Bruland, Oslo Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, The deportation of the Norwegian Jews and the role of the Norwegian authorities.
Paul Levine, Uppsala University Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Sweden’s Diplomacy on the Question of the Norwegian Jews.
Irene Levin, Professor Oslo University College and Member of the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Oslo. Righteous Gentiles: The rescue 14 children from the Jewish children’s home in Holbergsgate in Oslo.
10:30-11AM: Coffee Break
11-12:30PM Session II. Memory: Resistance and Collaboration

Kathleen Stokker, Luther College, IA. Humor as Resistance in Wartime Norway.
Monika Zagar, University of Minnesota. Knut Hamsun’s Legacy.
Arnfinn Moland: German Terror in Norway and the Persecution of Norwegian Jews
during WW II.
12:30-1:30 Lunch Break on own
Coffee, tea and soft drinks will be available through the afternoon sessions
1:30-3:00PM Session III: Witnesses
Irene Levin Berman, literature translator and writer. .Literature of Survival: Memories of Rescue from Norway to Sweden.
Reidar Dittmann, Professor emeritus, St.Olaf College, Minnesota, From the Norwegian Resistance to Buchenwald Concentration Camp
3:15-4:45PM: Session IV: Justice: Restitution and the Future
Berit Reisel, Member of Claims Committee, Oslo and author of the Reisel/Bruland Report, The Struggle for Reconciliation in Norway.
Bjarte Bruland, Oslo Centre. The re-establishment of Jewish Community Life in Post-War Norway and the role of Marcus Levin
Arne Lunde, University of Minnesota: Norwegian film about war and remembering
5:00-6:00PM: Concluding Roundtable “Norway and Restitution, Memory and New Europe.”
Berit Reisel. Member of Claims Committee, Oslo and author of the Reisel/Bruland Report,
Honorable Rolf Hansen, Consul General in Minneapolis
Arnfinn Moland, Director of The Resistance Museum, Oslo
Irene Levin, Professor, Oslo University College and Member of the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Oslo.
6:00-7:45PM Dinner on own.
8:00 Screening of The Man who loved Haugesund, in collaboration in Nicholson Hall Room 275 and discussion.
For reservations, contact Orit Akerman at 612-624-0256.

This involvement is the Art and Design Department collaboration in the Turkish American Alliance begun by SFA Dean Jack Bowman in 2005. A new collabora

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