Did you know...
- Holocaust Misconception: Norwegian non-Jews wore paper clips to express solidarity with Norwegian Jewry
When the Germans occupied Norway in June 1940, between 1700 and 1800 Jews lived there – most of them in Oslo and all but 200 of them Norwegian citizens. Acceding to German demands, the collaborationist government immediately implemented anti-Jewish legislation. In November 1942, in response to further demands, the government rounded up more than 700 Jews, who were subsequently deported to Auschwitz where most were killed. Although the Norwegian resistance managed to smuggle the remaining Jews to neutral Sweden, the wearing of paper clips had nothing to do with demonstrating support for these efforts or solidarity with Norwegian Jewry. Rather, it represented one of many non-violent expressions of Norwegian nationalism and loyalty to King Haakon VII. These included listening secretly to foreign news broadcasts, printing and distributing underground newspapers and wearing pins fashioned from coins with the king’s head brightly polished, from various “flowers of loyalty,” from the symbol “H7” (for Haakon VII), and – for a time, after the latter were outlawed – from paper clips (also occasionally worn as bracelets). Why paper clips? Presumably – although some dispute this – because they were invented by a Norwegian named Johan Vaaler in 1899. Although, ironically, he had to patent the device in Germany because Norway had no patent law at the time. Vaaler did nothing more with his invention and, in subsequent years, paper clips would be manufactured and mass-marketed by firms in the United States and Great Britain (most notably, the Gem Company of Great Britain – originators of the familiar “double-U” slide-on clips, which the Norwegians may very well have worn.) (from Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center)
- According to the most recent research from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, there were approximately 42,500 locations (camps, ghettos, etc) in which Jews and other people were kept prisoners throughout occupied Europe and Nazi Germany.