70 years later

Norway’s prime minister issues official apology to wartime ‘German girls’

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the Chancellery in Berlin on October 16, 2018. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg officially apologized on behalf of her country’s government to the tens of thousands of so-called “German girls,” who, during World War II, had intimate relationships with occupying soldiers from Germany and later faced punishments from the government, AFP reported.

Throughout Germany’s occupation of Norway during the Second World War, some 30,000 to 50,000 women, who were then branded “German girls,” ended up having sexual relationships with Nazi soldiers, according to an estimate by Norway’s Centre for Holocaust and Minorities Studies. The women, some of whom were only ever suspected of consorting with the soldiers faced numerous consequences afterward.

Following Norway’s liberation from Germany in 1945, many of the women were stripped of their citizenship or were detained, among other reprisals from the government. They weren’t the only ones to face reprisals. An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 children were born as a result of the relationships between Norwegian women and German soldiers and they, too, were subject to punishment. Moreover, about 28 Norwegian men were found to have married German women during that time period and none of them were punished by the government. In 2000, the government formally apologized to those children who were by then in their mid-50s.

“Young Norwegian girls and women who had relations with German soldiers or were suspected of having them, were victims of undignified treatment,” Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s universal declaration of human rights.

“Today, in the name of the government, I want to offer my apologies,” she added.

Guri Hjeltnes, a historian and the director of the Holocaust and Minorities Studies center, said most of the women considered German girls are no longer alive and that they were never guilty of aiding the Germans’ war effort.

“Their crime was breaking unwritten rules and moral standards,” Hjeltnes said. “They were punished even more harshly than the war profiteers.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.

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