Tuesday, May 8, 2012

67th anniversary...

Much like my darling expat friend Kelli (over at ‘Mads and Kelli’), I wanted to make sure to do a little
post today to honor a national holiday here in Norway that is today, and that as an American, is a
fairly new phenomenon for me to experience...

I’m talking about the 67th anniversary of Norway’s Liberation from under Nazi occupation during
World War II.

Nazi officials outside the National Theatre in Oslo. (credit)

Now I’ve been a WWII history fan for most of my life…

(I hesitate to call myself a ‘buff’ or an ‘expert’, as there are admittedly many facts I am not aware of
yet! But I did read up on and do quite a bit of research on the war, and events surrounding it in high
school, and even more so later in college…)

I can even proudly say that as a senior in my undergraduate program, I interned at the Washington
State Holocaust Research and Education Center! I was their only intern, and did some pretty
standard office-minion work for the larger Jewish Federation folks, but my main project was
translating the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor from audio tapes onto written documents.

He was an amazing man, that lived through years of work and torture in the Auschwitz concentration
camp, was present for the camp’s liberation, and even found his childhood sweetheart after the war
was over(who also survived years in a camp!), ended up marrying her and living happily ever after in
Washington state! Isn’t that almost unbelievably incredible?

I was selected to do this project based on my language skills, as when he recorded his own story
down onto tapes, he spoke a mix of German and English that wasn’t all that easy to understand…

That was one of, if not THE best job I’ve ever had…and totally unpaid even!

Just sitting at the computer for the most part, with big headphones on, typing away, date checking,
and even having the honor at one point to provide the transportation for this man to get back and
forth to a speaking engagement at one of the local universities…

Truly a humbling, and INCREDIBLY educational experience for me.

But it’s different, and feels removed though, living in a country that never was host to the events/
atrocities of WWII…even with personally knowing a couple of people that experienced the war
on different levels (my intern project, and my Grandfather, that was a solider in Germany during
wartime), than living in a country where these things actually took place…

So today, I just want to remember, and encourage all other Weegies out there to do the same. No
matter how old you are, or what your interest in history is…remember that Norway did not make it
through WWII unscathed…

Nazi troops burning down a Norwegian village... (credit)

Remember the FIVE YEARS of Nazi occupation in our country.

The Nazi troops marching down the main street in Oslo (the Parliament building in the background) during their arrival in 1940. (credit)

Never forget the Norwegians that were deported to concentration camps in Europe and never seen
again. Never forget the resistance movement and its fighters that tried to provide Allied forces
with information, and gathered/militarized literally overnight to usher in the reclamation of their
country’s livelihood, and carry out the official surrender orders to the Nazi officials. Never forget the more than 10,000 Norwegians that lost their lives to different aspects of the war.

Never forget.

The Norwegian royal family finally returning home after exile in England during occupation. (credit) (The gentleman in military dress is our current king's grandfather, his father and mother are just to the right...which makes the little boy in front with his eyes closed to the camera, our King Harald!)

Thank you, God for granting Norway peace and solidarity since the liberation by Allied forces on May
8, 1945.