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The stalwart Norwegians

Posted By Barry Farber On 07/26/2011 @ 4:06 pm In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Every Jew knows the feeling. When they’re unsealing an indictment against a major income-tax cheat we fervently hope his name is nothing like Hymie Epstein. We’re much more comfortable when it’s something like Archibald McChesney Trowbridge III.

I have the feeling the media-left is going to have physical trouble concealing its relief – nay, GLEE – that the Norwegian terrorist is a white, Aryan, “Christian” extremist, and not a Muslim.

Let others microscope Anders Breivik’s religious and political affiliations and search his blog-trail for troubling words, too late to save even one of the almost 80 lost Norwegian lives. “Confessed mass-murderer” is sufficient identification for me.

Norway rarely gets the compliment it deserves for World War II. Most Nazi victims – Poles, Czechs, all Slavs, Greeks – had no choice. Hitler considered them “untermentschen” (inferior peoples) and not much more deserving of life than the hated Jews. The Norwegians and their Danish cousins were different. They were Nordic poster-people; blonde, lean and attractive; unlike Hitler, Goering and Himmler. When the blitzkrieg struck in the north in April 1940, Nazi propaganda insisted that “We come as friends!” Norwegians and Danes were invited and sorely wanted by Hitler as part of his New World Order.

There were Nazi sympathizers in those countries. Indeed, the pathetic Vidkun Quisling sold out his country to his German masters and became Norway’s gauleiter, and his name became the international synonym for “traitor.” The Norwegians and Danes “didn’t need” World War II. They could have sat it out and celebrated Germany’s eventual defeat. Nothing doing. Norwegian and Danish resistance was quick, organized, courageous and effective. Names like Max Manus and Gunnar Sonsteby and many others covered Norway with honor during the five-year Nazi occupation.

There was, in fact, a day when Hitler, “heartbroken,” formally withdrew his invitation to the Norwegians to be Nazi partners, because of “all the bad things Norwegians were doing.” The grandfather of Norway’s prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was sent to a German concentration camp. Every other Nazi victim-nation was “drafted” into the war against Hitler. Only Norway and Denmark “enlisted”!

Of the three true World War II stories I find nearly unbelievable, two of them deal with Norway.

The non-Norwegian incredible story deals with Yugoslavia’s “Diaper Rebellion.” In March 1941, Hitler had Yugoslavia’s regent, Prince Paul, sign a pact as a Nazi ally, like neighboring Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. When the third-grade schoolchildren of Belgrade learned about the pact, they marched out of their classrooms and took to the streets in protest. They were joined by the high-schoolers, the college students and faculty, the trade unionists, the professionals etc., and by nightfall that government was overthrown and Yugoslavia became a German enemy. They suffered tremendously, but on the right side.

Over to Norway and the Allied attempt to deny Germany the “heavy water” necessary for the production of the atomic bomb. The Norsk-Hydro electricity plant in Rjukan, Norway, manufactured heavy water. The Allies wanted to destroy Germany’s heavy water production. Two gliders-ful of British commandos crashed in a vain attempt to destroy it. Repeated American bombing raids also failed. Finally a few good men from the Norwegian Home Army went in and did the job by themselves. Unbelievable!

The story goes on. One shipment of heavy water was already headed to Germany. The Norwegian Resistance sank the ferryboat taking that shipment across Lake Tinnsjo, sacrificing innocent Norwegian life for freedom’s cause.

The other incredible story – also starring Norway – involved that nation’s huge merchant marine. With only 3 million people at the time, Norway had the third-largest merchant fleet in the world; behind only Britain and America. Hitler salivated at the thought of that prize. When the Germans invaded Norway, special German units rounded up all the ship owners and hustled them down to the radio station in Oslo and handed them prepared statements ordering their entire fleet to head immediately for the nearest German, Italian or Japanese port “to enter Norway’s glorious new future as Germany’s partner.”

Norway’s ambassador to the United States, Wilhelm Munthe de Morgenstjerne, put in a call to the owner of a short-wave station, WRUL, with transmitters in Scituate, Mass. He asked permission to make an announcement to all Norwegian ships to ignore the gunpoint order from Oslo and, instead, head for the nearest British, American or neutral port.

WRUL’s owner, Walter Lemon, agreed. The effort was not 100 percent successful. It was MORE than 100 percent successful. Not a single Norwegian ship went to an Axis port, and one that was already in an Axis port (Tokyo) heard the Morgenstjerne message and successfully steamed out!

When, shortly after his takeover in January 1959, Fidel Castro started executing hundreds of Cubans after 10-minute trials, I, reporting from Havana and a friend of the Castro revolution at that time, told Raul Castro, “Norway suffered under a dictator worse than Cuba’s for about the same amount of time. After victory, there were long, thorough, fair trials. Norway wound up executing only Quisling and two associates. And here you guys are shooting everybody you don’t like!”

With a chilling glare I’ll never forget, Raul Castro said, “I guess that means Cubans are bad Norwegians.”


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