The government of Norway has issued an official apology to Norwegian women who were mistreated over their relationships with German soldiers during the second world war.
Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister said that “Young Norwegian girls and woman who had relations with German soldiers or were suspected of having them, were victims of undignified treatment.”
Solberg expressed her apology at the 70th-anniversary event of the UN’s universal declaration of human rights. “For many, this was just a teenage love, for some, the love of their lives with an enemy soldier or an innocent flirt that left its mark for the rest of their lives. Today, in the name of the government, I want to offer my apologies,” she said.
Norway was penetrated by Nazi forces in 1940. According to Norway’s Centre for Holocaust and Minorities Studies, up to 50,000 Norwegian women, labeled “German girls” were believed to have had sexual relationships with German soldiers.
Most of these women were the target to reprisals by officials following the 1945 dismissal of Norway, job dismissals and illegal arrests. They were also persuaded to have children with them by Heinrich Himmler, SS leader. Himmler considered Norwegian women with the belief that they could empower an Aryan master race.
Over seven decades 70 years after the second world war, very few of the women who were affected are still alive.
Guri Hjeltnes, historian and director of the Centre for Holocaust and Minorities Studies said that the women’s “crime was breaking unwritten rules and moral standards. They were punished even more harshly than the war profiteers.”