In 1942 there were 2,000 Jews living in Norway. Out of this group close to 500 had come to Norway in the thirties from Germany and other Eastern European countries trying to find a safe “Haven” in this little country in the North against the disturbing events that were unfolding as a result of Hitler’s ascent to power.
771 Norwegian Jews were deported to the Nazi’s annihilation camps in Germany during the war. Only 28 men survived. 230 Norwegian Jewish families perished.
Today there are approximately 1,500 Jews in Norway, living for the most part in Oslo and Trondheim. In 2008 a Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies was opened in Oslo. Ironically it is located at Villa Grande, the headquarters used by the infamous Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling during World War II.
There are two synagogues in Norway, one in Oslo (pictured at right) and one in Trondheim. Both of these cities also feature their own Jewish museum. Irene's mother, Rosa Selikowitz, was the daughter of Salomon Selikowitz who together with a few friends were responsible for the creation of the Oslo synagogue, the largest and most popular synagogue in Norway, even today. Author Irene and Martin Berman were married there in 1961.