Bergen rejects ‘German’ wharf name change

The town council in Norway’s vibrant old Hansa trading port, Bergen, showed they were appalled by a proposal to re-name part of their harbour “The German Wharf” in tribute to its history.

Bergen rejects 'German' wharf name change

Bergen’s citizens, known in Norway as Bergensere, were once under the prosperous dominion of German merchants of the Hanseatic League. The Hansa town’s legacy from its German-speaking past is a picture-postcard set of gabled, harbour-front buildings once used to store and expedite cargo.

“I understand why we changed the name back in 1945, but the time is ripe to go back to the original name” for Bryggen, or “the wharf”, said Hans-Carl Tveit, the Liberal Party’s city council member who sponsored the city council motion.

Bergen’s best tourist attraction had been called The German Bridge since the 14th century, but the “German” in anything had been stripped away after the Second World War and the Nazi occupation. In the same way, Berlin, Ontario in Canada was renamed Kitchener, although there had not been an occupation of Canada.

Tveit said he thought a little introduction to the idea is all that should have been needed to overcome opposition to the idea. He claimed to have had letters from war veterans saying “go ahead”.

“Tourists come to see Bergen. Why in all the world would we not want them to learn that this place was fitted out by Germans and forget the foul things that happened in those five years (of World War Two, six for the rest of Europe),” he told newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Until the turn of last century, citizens in Bergen could elect to have state wedding ceremonies carried out in German.

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Norwegian ‘witch’ books stolen by Nazis found

Books belonging to former SS leader Heinrich Himmler were recently recovered in a warehouse outside Prague.

Norwegian ‘witch’ books stolen by Nazis found
Heinrich Himmler took some 6,000 books from the Norwegian Order of Freemasons as part of his research into witch hunts. Photos: Public domain
Among the finds where thousands of Norwegian Masonic books that the Germans took from Oslo during the war. 
“I was personally involved in identifying some of the books. Many of them belonged to the central Norwegian Order of Freemasons library in Oslo,” Bjørn Helge Horrisland, a Norwegian Freemason historian, told VG. 
Himmler ordered a branch of the SS to carry out a massive survey of witch-hunt trial records in Europe. His SS troops combed 260 libraries and archives to find traces of the witch trials of the Middle Ages. According to academics, Himmler was on a mission to prove that the prosecution of witches was tantamount to an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to wipe out the German race.
World War 2 historical centre Stiftelsen Arkivet, along with the National Library of the Czech Republic, was scheduled to hold a conference on Wednesday in Kristiansand about the Nazi confiscation of literature during the ward. Horrisland will present the findings of Himmler’s stash of witchcraft books. 
“In all likelihood, many of these books were part of Himmler’s so-called ‘witch library’. The books were found in a large warehouse belonging to the National Library of the Czech Republic. The collection has been left untouched since the 1950s,” he said. 
The project to recover Himmler’s witch books received European Economic Area funds from Norway and is a result of a cooperation between Stiftelsen Arkivet, the National Library of Norway and the National Library of the Czech Republic. 
Some 6,000 of the 13,000 recovered books belonged to the Norwegian Order of Freemasons.