Israel honours Norwegians for helping Jews flee in World War 2
Israel on Thursday paid tribute to four Norwegians who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during World War 2.
The four – Alf Tollef Pettersen, Gerd Julie Bergljot Pettersen, Reidar Larsen and Rolf Alexander Syversen – were honoured posthumously with a medal and the Israeli state designation ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ at a ceremony in Oslo City Hall on Thursday.
Among the guests present were Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen.
The four men were honoured for the operation "Carl Fredriksen Transport", a code name for the organized smuggling of Jews across the border to Sweden.
During six intense weeks, the Carl Fredriksen Transport managed to get around 1,000 refugees, including 358 Jews, across the border into Sweden. It was the single biggest relief operation for refugees during World War 2 in Norway.
The operation started on November 28, 1942, two days after three of four deportations from Norway were conducted with a total of 577 Jews on board.
The refugees were gathered at Rolf Syversen’s garden and then transported in two trucks to Orderudseter, a couple hundred metres from the Swedish border. Each convoy took anywhere between eight and 40 people.
The operation was discovered in January 1943, forcing Alf and Gerd Pettersen to escape to Sweden. Reidar Larsen also followed.
Rolf Syversen however remained in Norway because his wife had just given birth to a son. He was arrested in the summer of 1943 and shot in the Trandumskogen forest in October 1944.
On Thursday, his son, Øyvind Syversen Aasheim, together with Reidun Klemmetsen, Jon Elling Whist, and An-Magritt Munkeby, received the Israeli medals on behalf of their parents.