July 30, 2009

Norwegian Foreign Minister Støre’s letter to the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation


Oslo, 30 July 2009

Mr. Baruch Tenembaum
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Dear Mr. Tenembaum

you for your letter of 9 July, on behalf of the International Raoul
Wallenberg Foundation, expressing apprehension with regard to Norway’s
commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian
author Knut Hamsun.

I would like to emphasise that the
commemoration is a tribute to the literary achievements of Knut Hamsun,
for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920.

Hamsun anniversary in no way condones Hamsun’s support for the Nazi
regime. He received massive condemnation for this after the war, and
his pro-Nazi activities must continue to be condemned.

difficult aspect of Hamsun’s life has been debated in Norway for many
years, and in fact the anniversary has intensified the public debate
about all sides of his life. As a result, a nuanced and critical view
of him, both as an acclaimed author and a person who sided with the
Nazis who occupied Norway for five years, has developed.

I would
like to point out that full reference was made to Hamsun’s Nazi
sympathies at the Hamsun exhibition in Oslo earlier this year. This
aspect of his life will also feature prominently in the Hamsun
exhibition at the Hamsun Center in Hamarøy, where he grew up.

believe that democracy and the education of future generationsis will best be served by
being completely frank about these divergent aspects of Hamsun’s life.

your letter you also refer to the Task Force for International
Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). Let
me assure you that Norway stands firm in its commitment to the
principles of the Stockholm Declaration on the Holocaust, which form
the basis of the Task Force. As you know, Norway is currently assuming
the Task Force chair.

Yours sincerely

Jonas Gahr Støre