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According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, approximately 1,800 Jews lived in Norway when Nazi Germany occupied the country in 1940.  Under the Nazi occupation, 759 were deported, nearly all to Auschwitz.  Only 25 survived.  Another 23 Jews died in Norway as a result of Nazi policies, bringing the total of Norwegian Jews killed during the Holocaust to at least 757.  More than half of the Jewish population fled Norway, with some 900 being smuggled out of the country to Sweden or Great Britain.

The Nazi-supported regime in Norway, led by Vidkun Quisling, enacted laws stripping Norwegian Jews of their property, while Norway’s government-in-exile in London passed a decree during the war guaranteeing the restitution of private and communal property.  After the war, all confiscated property – whether owned by Jews or non-Jews – became subject to restitution.  Immovable property was returned to those rightful owners who survived the war and returned to Norway to claim it.  In contrast, government policies at that time made it difficult for heirs to recover or claim compensation for the confiscated private property of relatives who died during the Holocaust.

This situation persisted until 1998, when the government approved a comprehensive settlement (“the Settlement”) with the Jewish community that covered all private, communal, and heirless property claims and provided compensation to both individual claimants and the Norwegian Jewish community as a whole.

While fewer than 800 registered members of the Jewish community currently live in Norway according to the Norwegian Central Statistics bureau, the University of Oslo estimates that there are between 1,700 to 2,000 Norwegians of Jewish descent in the country.  The Jewish community, represented by Det Mosaiske Trossamfund (the Mosaic Community), regards all claims for Holocaust-era restitution as resolved and assesses that the government has satisfied the terms of the Settlement.  The Norwegian government provides good access to Holocaust-era archives and robust support for Holocaust education and remembrance programs.

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future