International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated every year in Oslo with a ceremony at the Akershus Quay in Oslo. This year, Minister of Culture and Equality, Anette Trettebergstuen, will speak on behalf of the Government at the event, which is organised by the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies.

There are eight empty chairs arranged singly or in pairs on the grass outside Akershus Fortress. Credit: Guri Solberg, MFA
There are eight empty chairs arranged singly or in pairs on the grass outside Akershus Fortress. The chairs are facing the fjord, from which 529 Jewish women, men and children were deported on the DS Donau on 26 November 1942. The chairs have no seats, reflecting the void left behind by the departed. Credit: Guri Solberg, MFA

The date 27 January was chosen because it is the day on which Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. This year marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an occasion to reflect upon our past and view our present in the light of this. A total of six million Jews were killed during the Second World War. There were 773 Jews who were sent to the death camps in Germany and Poland from Norway. Of these, only 34 returned. Roma people, people with disabilities, gay people, and political prisoners were also killed. We must never forget our fellow Norwegians who were brutally deported and murdered. They were the man in the corner shop. The kind lady in the house next door. The boy on the football team and the girl in class at school.

‘Never again. Remembering the Holocaust is about more than history. It is about the present and the future as well. We must work every day to fight hostile and negative sterotyping of religions and religious minorities. This is part and parcel of our efforts to safeguard the rights of religious and other minorities,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

In 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entered into a three year agreement with the Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, supporting their international activities. A new agreement will be discussed in 2022 and Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt is scheduled to visit the center next month.