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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2020

8. A Marginal Phenomenon?

Historical Research on Antisemitism in Norway, 1814–1945

From the book Antisemitism in the North

  • Christhard Hoffmann

Historical Research on Antisemitism in Norway, 1814–1945



Historical research on antisemitism in Norway developed relatively late and unsystematically. It had to contend with the prevalent view that antisemitism was virtually non-existent in Norwegian society since so few Jews lived in the country, or that it was at most a marginal phenomenon, limited to sectarian circles on the extreme political right. Challenging the self-image of Norway as a tolerant country, historical research over the last decades has uncovered various manifestations of an exclusionist tradition towards Jews in Norwegian history: from the total ban on Jews in the Constitution of 1814 to the prohibition of kosher slaughter in 1929, from the rejection of Jewish refugees in the 1930s to collaboration and complicity in the arrests and expropriation of Norwegian Jews under German occupation. Focusing on mainstream societal actors, such as the press at the beginning of the twentieth century, research has shown that caricatures of “the Jew” as a morally corrupt and harmful foreigner served as a negative foil to Norwegian identity. This form of stereotyping provided a repository of negative images of Jews for the Norwegian public, which would persist irrespective of the issues of the day.

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