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Norway's past under revision

A CD-Rom for schools about the occupation of Norway by the Germans is to be revised, after critics' objections that it is too sympathetic to the Nazis, writes Frances Rafferty.

Erik Lund, a senior history lecturer at Oestfold College, near Oslo, who is advising the publisher, told a workshop at the Prague symposium: "The Nazi occupation is a sensitive issue. The CD-Rom brought together a whole range of archive material which was not new on its own, but packaged it in a totally new way."

The CD-Rom included biographies of Nazi leaders and Norwegian collaborators and interviews with former "frontier fighters", the young men who joined the Nazis on the Eastern front to fight against the Russians. The men, now in their seventies, described their motives and experiences.

The controversy arose when a TV programme alleged that the CD-Rom was too one-sided and did not tell pupils the consequences of Nazi actions. The publishers, horrified at being called Nazi sympathisers, halted production and began to revise the material.

Mr Lund said: "I thought it was a very good resource for teachers and a fascinating account of the period from 1940 to 1945. It pulled together a diverse selection of material in a lively way.

"In the interviews the former frontier men described how they wanted to fight against Bolshevism in Russia. The television programme alleged that these accounts were very persuasive and young people would be able to empathise with them and why they joined the Nazis.

"I think history teachers should be able to discuss these issues with their classes and teach them how to use such material. But is obviously a subject that is very uncomfortable and controversial for this country."

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