July 22, 2009

The Israelis differ on Hamsun


The Wallenberg Foundation roars against the Hamsun Year, while the Israeli Embassy in Norway is satisfied with the explanations given.

This year it is celebrated the 150th anniversary of the author and Nobel Prize winner. The year of 2009 has been officially declared as the Hamsun Year and the writer will be remembered with several festivities throughout the year.

Nonetheless, Hamsun is also known for having sympathized with the Nazi regime before and after the World War II.

Divergence. Consequently, the celebration has been inciting many reactions. The Holocaust Task Force (ITF) said to Vart Land on July 21st that the tribute raised doubts regarding the work of its organization.

Read also: Israel satisfied with the Hamsun answer: Israel fornøyd med Hamsun-svar

The organizers of the Hamsun Year emphasize that the festival only pays homage to the literary work of Hamsun and condemned the attitudes of the writer. So the ITF recognized the celebrations.

A scandal. However, the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation does not share ITF’s view on the matter. The organization aims at increasing World War II awareness. Its founder, Baruch Tenenbaum, reacted specially to the participation of Queen Sonja and sent the Royal Family a formal complaining letter.

- Honestly, I think it is a scandal that the Norwegian Queen takes part on this celebration of Knut Hamsun. There were many Nazi geniuses, but I do not know about anyone who has been honored by a leader.

Tenenbaum also condemns Princess Mette-Marit’s role on inaugurating the Hamsun Year on August 4th at the Hamsun Center.

- I do not understand how they dare. The Norwegian celebration is been interpreted as an anti-Holocaust symbol. I hope they reflect upon it and correct what they are doing now – says Tenenbaum.