Germany invaded neutral Norway on 9 April 1940, and Norwegian armed forces capitulated on 10 June. King Haakon VII and the government escaped to London, where they established a government-in-exile. The Germans appointed a civilian Reich Commissioner of occupied Norway, Josef Terboven. On 25 September 1940 the commissioner banned all political parties, except Nasjonal Samling, and in February 1942 set up a collaborationist government under Nasjonal Samling leader Vidkun Quisling which lasted until the liberation in May 1945.

At the time of the invasion, Norway had a total population of about 3 million people. Approximately 2,100 of them were Jews, including some 200 refugees from Germany and Austria. As the Germans prepared to invade the Soviet Union in early 1941, more and more Jews in Norway were arrested and incarcerated. In June 1941, all Jews in northern Norway were arrested. By early 1942, identity papers held by Jews had to be stamped with the letter “J”, and all Jews had to fill in a “registration form for Jews”. The fatal blow against Norwegian Jewry was struck by Quisling and Terboven in the autumn of 1942; in early October, all Jewish men in Trondheim were rounded up and on 26 and 27 October the Jewish men of Oslo were arrested by Norwegian police and paramilitary formations. A month later, the rest of Oslo's Jews were arrested by the Norwegian police and Norwegian Germanic SS units. Jewish property was confiscated. Some Jews were warned off by Norwegian policemen and members of the underground and managed to escape. Of the 772 Jews who had been arrested and deported to Auschwitz via Germany, only 34 survived and returned to Norway after the war. In Norway itself, 23 Jews died at the hands of the Nazis. About sixty percent of the Jewish population was able to escape to Sweden with the help of the Norwegian underground. Overall, 765 Jews from Norway perished in the Holocaust.

Archival Situation

The National Archives and the regional state archives (statsarkivene) together form the National Archival Services of Norway (Arkivverket), headed by the Director General (Riksarkivaren). The National Archives of Norway is an independent government authority under the Ministry of Culture. The authority of the Director General and the National Archives of Norway is derived from the Archival Act of 1992. There are eight regional archives in Norway and a Sámi Archive. The National Archives and the regional state archives also preserve private archives from companies, organizations, political parties and private people.

EHRI Research (Summary)

EHRI was able to identify the National Archives of Norway as the main institution to hold Holocaust-relevant collections on Norway. Furthermore, the Jewish Museums in Oslo and Trondheim, Norway’s Resistance Museum and The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL-senteret), which is financed by part of the settlement agreed between the Norwegian State and the Jewish communities, also contain some documentation on the Holocaust. Outside of Norway, EHRI has detected collections relevant to Holocaust research on Norway at the National Archives of Finland, as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, the German Bundesarchiv in Berlin-Lichterfelde and, to a lesser extent, at the Centre for Historical Records and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CEGESOMA) in Brussels.