Norwegians honoured at Israeli Embassy for saving Jews during the war

The German ship the DonauThe German ship the Donau.Photo: Fossum, Georg W. / NTB scanpix

Israel honors four Norwegians who saved the lives of hundreds of Norwegian Jews during World War II.

The four, Alf Tollef, Gerd Julie Bergljot Pettersen, Reidar Larsen, and Rolf Alexander Syversen, are to be recognized posthumously with a medal and honourary designation, ‘Righteous Among The Nations’, in a ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Oslo on Thursday.

Among the guests present will be the Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, and Oslo Mayor, Marianne Borgen.

They will be honoured for the operation known as ‘Carl Fredriksen’s Transport’, which was a codename for the organized smuggling of Jews across the border to Sweden.

During six intense weeks, Carl Fredriksen’s Transport managed to get around 1,000 refugees, including 358 Jewish people, across the border. It was the single biggest relief operation in Norway for refugees during World War II.

The operation began on November 28th, 1942; after two days, three of the four transports from Norway were conducted, with a total of 577 Jews on board the ships.

The refugees were gathered in Rolf Syversen’s garden and transported in two trucks over Orderudseter to the border. At every point, there could be between 8 and 40 people being transported.
In mid-January 1943, the operation was discovered, so Alf and Gerd Pettersen escaped to Sweden, as did Reidar Larsen.

Rolf Syversen returned again to Norway because his wife had just given birth to a son. He was arrested in the summer of 1943, and shot in Trandumskogen in October 1944.

On Thursday, his son, Øyvind Syversen Aasheim, together with Reidun Klemmetsen, Jon Elling Whist, and An-Magritt Munkeby, will receive medals on behalf of their parents.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today