August 23, 2009

Bad winds are blowing from Scandinavia


A few weeks ago, we learned that Norway’s Royal House and Government have launched a one-year long celebration to commemorate the 150th birthday of their national writer and Nobel laureate, Knut Hamsun. Understandable if it weren’t for the fact that Hamsun was a rabious Nazi supporter, a traitor of his own corageous countrymen who fought and shed their blood against Nazism. The celebrations include a special issue of 1.5 million stamps bearing the semblance of this bigot, who gave his Nobel medal to Joseph Goebbels and even wrote an obituary after Hitler’s suicide. A big outcry came from many decent individuals and organizations, most notably from The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, an NGO which devotes itself to researching the stories of the Righteous Rescuers and creating educational programs to instill their legacies to the young generations. And now it is Sweden’s turn to be ashemed. True: Freedom of expression is a sacred value in Sweden, but the heinous blood libel fabricated by the Aftonbladet, should have least be condemned by the Swedish Government. It is a shame that both Sweden and Norway are distancing themselves from the noble tradition set by Raoul Wallenberg.

Eliahu Shamir
Tel Aviv