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Norway rail firm ‘should apologise’ for Nazi past

Norwegian train company NSB is facing calls to apologise for transporting Norwegian Jews and using prisoners of war during Norway’s occupation by Nazi Germany.

Norway rail firm 'should apologise' for Nazi past
An NSB locomotive during the Nazi occupation. Photo: Norwegian Railway Museum
Bjørg Eva Aasen, curator of a new exhibition on NSB’s collaboration with Nazi Germany said that NSB had neither made an attempt to examine its own dark history, nor apologies to those affected by its collaboration in inhuman acts.  
 
“I wish they had apologised to the Jews, and also to all the East European prisoners of war who were working for them on the construction of the Nordland Line,” she told the Local. “They say it’s a sad story, but they don’t apologise.” 
 
A large part of the exhibition at the Norwegian Railway museum in Hamar is devoted to how NSB collaborated with the Germans on the extension of the Nordland Line from Mosjøen to Dunderland, fot which the Germans put enormous numbers of Soviet prisoners of war to work in slave-like conditions.
 
Aasen has also uncovered new documents showing that as well as helping transport Jews from Oslo, which was previously known, NSB transported Jews from Trondheim. 
 
Bjørn Westlie, the Norwegian journalist who has turned himself into a historian of Norwegian collaboration with the Nazi occupation, told NRK that NSB should be more open about its dark past. 
 
“This is something NSB has tried to hide for 70 years. They should tell the whole story of what happened,” he said. 
 
NSB also chose not to send a representative to the opening of the exhibition. 
 
“Our president is on a journey on business to Vienna. I was meant to go to Hamar today, but had to cancel the trip for a meeting that it’s very important I attend,”  Åge-Christoffer Lundeby, a communications director for the company told The Foreigner. 
 
He earlier told Norway's Dagsavisen newspaper that the deportation of Jews from Norway to go to Nazi death camps, was "regrettable". 
 
“The persecution and deportation of Jews is clearly a dark chapter in Norwegian history. NSB's participation in this story is extremely regrettable,” he said. 
 
In another interview Lundeby questioned whether NSB had been motivated by profit. 
 
“It is here that this difficult discussion comes in: what was done voluntarily as business strategy, and what was done as a result of coercion under foreign occupation,” he told NRK. 
 
 
 

MUSEUM

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

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