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King Harald on good form as he fully resumes public engagements after health issues

King Harald of Norway was present when “White Buses” marked its 30th anniversary in Oslo. This was the Norwegian king’s first public appearance since he spent a few days in hospital earlier in the month being treated for an infection.

The organization runs journeys for Norwegian schoolchildren to former concentration camps and other memorial sites. More than 300, 000 schoolchildren from schools throughout Norway have taken part in these trips the last 30 years.

The ceremony to celebrate 30 years of operation of the study offer was held in Oslo, at the Norwegian Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Minorities. The centre is located in the lavish villa “Villa Grande” which was the home of the pro-Nazi Norwegian leader during the Second World War, Vidkun Quisling.

Several famous Norwegians spoke during the ceremony, among them Oslo’s mayor, president of the Norwegian Red Cross and Norway’s Minister of Knowledge. The guests of honour for the evening, together with King Harald, were Bernt Lund and Magne Øymo. They are two of the last surviving Norwegians who were themselves imprisoned in German concentration camps during the war.

Songs from the Norwegian resistance movement were performed. One song in particular made the King laugh. It was a version of Norway’s national anthem that was used in the Grini concentration camp in Norway. The anthem is set to a different tune so that the prisoners at Grini would be able to sing the national anthem without the German guards realizing which song they were singing.

Following the ceremony His Majesty said to the press: “It is very important that young people have travelled and seen what has happened. It creates attitudes that mean we don’t experience this again. I have myself visited the concentration camp of Auschwitz. It made an indelible impression. I think the young people who have taken part in these trips will have a hard time forgetting it.”

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About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.