09/18/2017 Project

Norwegian Students Visit Neuengamme

For a decade, classes of community schools in Øvre Eiker, Norway, have visited Neuengamme as one stop on a four-day program in Germany to study the history and effects of National Socialism.

For the past ten years, the schools of Hokksund, a town of the Øvre Eiker municipality located in the Buskerud county of Norway, have been visiting Germany yearly and stopping at the Neuengamme Concentration Memorial Site. This trip has a specific purpose; for four days, the schoolchildren immerse themselves in the theme of National Socialism. After visiting the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo, they make their way to the former concentration camps of Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen, and Neuengamme.  The first schools in Norway to launch such a project on history, the schools of Øvre Eiker began this undertaking with the rise of right-wing extremism in Norway, a trend that has since declined significantly over the past decade.

On September 6th, 2017, three ninth grade classes of the Hokksund Ungdomsskole High School arrived at Neuengamme. They were greeted and taught by Espen Darefjeld, a guide who has been leading groups from Øvre Eiker since the start of these trips a decade ago. The students split into smaller groups to discuss topics such as the White Buses of the Swedish Red Cross, the different groupings of prisoners in the concentration camp, and the SS security teams. As confirmed by coordinator Marita Bolstad, 4,000 pupils from Øvre Eiker have taken part in this project at Neuengamme to date.