The government has given the go ahead for a project designed to find Norwegians involved in World War II who may deserve a medal for their actions.
Three historians, who will go through archives and travel the country in order to discover local history, have been given the task. The project could last up to five years.
Medals like the War Cross, instituted in 1941, are Norway’s highest military honour and could be awarded for “outstanding execution of combat actions or similar”. Up to 1945, it could be given for “outstanding civil actions of the Norwegian resistance”.
The War Cross has comes with one sword, and has additional two and three-sword citations. 148 Norwegians received the decoration as well as 67 Frenchmen, 43 British, 13 Poles and 2 Americans.
Norwegian resistance member Gunnar Fridtjof Thurmann Sønsteby DSO (Distinguished Service Order) is the only person ever to have been awarded the War Cross with three swords.
Nordland University historian Steinar Aas told Aftenposten, “There is hardly any doubt that those who have received the War Cross deserve the honour, but there must be others who have rendered outstanding effort who did not.”
In order to make decisions the historians will look at efforts made for Norway in demanding operations and assess personal bravery, local resistance and sabotage.
Minister of Defence Espen Barth Eide said in a press release, the move was “to obtain a final clarification of questions surrounding decoration from this period. We have now taken on the challenge of trying to straighten out old imbalances.”
Last year, former WWII veteran Leif Kjemperud, a member communist saboteur organisation called “Osvald-gruppen”, rejected his medal as a matter of principle because of Norway’s role in Afghanistan.
Not wanting the partisan group to be likened with the offensive, he said, “Norway is an occupying force in Afghanistan. This can’t be compared with the battle we fought as members of the resistance against the Germans.”
There were also allegations Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg deliberately excluded King Harald from attending a medals ceremony for three Special Forces soldiers on 08th May, known as “Veterans Day”, against HRH’s wishes.
Opposition leaders protested against the PM’s move, calling it “a disgrace”, a “type of power struggle”, as well as “staggering and extremely regrettable”.
Prime Minster Stoltenberg vehemently denied he actively stopped the Norwegian king from attending.
Approximately 350 of Norway’s soldiers serving in Afghanistan were recently honoured for their actions at a special ceremony at Gardermoen Military Airfield.