‘Don’t forget the persecuted despite Norway’s independence’ – authors / News / The Foreigner

‘Don’t forget the persecuted despite Norway’s independence’ – authors. Thomas Vestgården believes people should also remember those that were not accepted by society while celebrating the bicentennial of the Norwegian Constitution. The time since 1814 has seen some barbaric events. Both he and Sigmund Aas have written a book about the darker side of Norway in the time since the historic 1814 event took place. The authors talk about the abuse of unpopular minorities. They refer to a mass grave at Ris cemetery in Oslo’s Vestre Aker district.

norwayconstitution, 17thmay, constitutionbicentennial



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‘Don’t forget the persecuted despite Norway’s independence’ – authors

Published on Tuesday, 18th February, 2014 at 14:44 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last Updated on 10th November 2014 at 09:09.

Thomas Vestgården believes people should also remember those that were not accepted by society while celebrating the bicentennial of the Norwegian Constitution. The time since 1814 has seen some barbaric events.

Eidsvoll building (ca. 1870)
This building was the scene of Norway's independent beginnings, but many were denied their freedom and life following 1814.Eidsvoll building (ca. 1870)
Photo: Joachim Christian Geelmuyden Gyldenkrantz Frich


Both he and Sigmund Aas have written a book about the darker side of Norway in the time since the historic 1814 event took place.

The authors talk about the abuse of unpopular minorities. They refer to a mass grave at Ris cemetery in Oslo’s Vestre Aker district.

It likely holds the remains of 51 people of Romani decent who were patients at Gaustad Hospital, the identities of which the government will not disclose, according to Aftenposten.

 “We do not know the cause of death of the 51 that are here, but many were admitted to Gaustad during the period of forced sterilization, and lobotomising Romani people was high on the agenda,” Mr Vestgården told the paper.

Gaustad Hospital, scene of patient abuse
Gaustad Hospital, scene of patient abuse
© 2005 J. P. Fagerback
Gaustad was Norway’s first state psychiatric institution. It was designed by German architect Heinrich Ernst Schirmer (1814-1887) and built in neo-gothic style.

Norwegian doctor and psychiatrist Herman Wedel Major (1814-1854), founded the institution, which was opened in 1855.

According to Norway encyclopaedia Store Norske Leksikon (SNL), Major demanded the inmates also got their basic human rights. Little had been done for them before then.

Nevertheless, there have been several allegations of the abuse of numerous people there. One was against construction worker Arne Juklerød (1925-1996), famed for his fight against psychiatry in the 1970’s-‘90s. This became known as ‘Juklerødsaken’ (the Juklerød case).

It was claimed he was sane when admitted. An attempt to get a second commission of inquiry into his case after the first in 1988 was voted down in parliament 86-6.

Norwegian state-owned broadcaster NRK’s 2010 ‘Brennpunkt’ programme looked into other incidents of abuse of patients.

One person, who managed to escape Gaustad, talked of patients “being locked in and abused”. She told them she was subjected to EST (Electroshock Therapy) against her will and partly due to her protests against conditions there.

She was given 360 International Units of insulin (1 IU= 0.0347 mg of human insulin) “to blanket the patient’s resistance”. She became unconscious, NRK also wrote, quoting for her journal.

Staff then administered Cardiazol (also known as Pentylenetetrazol), a drug used as a circulatory and respiratory stimulant – high doses can cause convulsions. Several patients died as a result of this treatment in the ‘40s and ‘50s, it is reported.

Akershus Fortress - used as a prison
Akershus Fortress - used as a prison
© 2005 by Tomasz Sienicki/W. Commons
Gaustad, which was designed to contain 300 people, but had 640 patients in the ‘50s, was taken over and run by Oslo municipality in 1985. It is now a division under Oslo University Hospital (Aker University Hospital).

Other examples listed in authors Thomas Vestgården and Sigmund Aas’ book ‘Skammens historie’ (‘The History of Shame’) include Akershus Festning – the fortress located at the harbor in Oslo.

This was used as a jail in 1814 after Norway’s constitution came into force. Inmates were tortured – the Constitution forbade torture during questioning but not whilst serving sentences – and later put in chains.

Many were sentenced to receive 25 lashes of the whip, and the state executed some 44 people between 1815 and 1856, often by public beheadings.

“Much of this [the post-1814 events] is well-illustrated from before, of course, but we’ve tried to put the stories in a different context to show another side of Norway’s history than the one that’s going to be mentioned in all the speeches under the Constitution bicentennial,” Mr Vestgården told Aftenposten.

(Additional sources: Wikipedia, Store Norske Leksikon (SNL))




Published on Tuesday, 18th February, 2014 at 14:44 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last updated on 10th November 2014 at 09:09.

This post has the following tags: norwayconstitution, 17thmay, constitutionbicentennial.





  
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