On July 22, 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people.
A decade after the terror, the Scandinavian country is making it clear that the acts must never be repeated.
Oslo - Norway commemorates the 77 deaths in the terrorist attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya exactly ten years ago.
On the anniversary of the attacks by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, several memorial events and minutes of silence are planned today, in which survivors, bereaved families, Prime Minister Erna Solberg and representatives of the royal family will take part.
At a national commemoration in the evening, King Harald V will give a speech.
Maximum penalty for Breivik
Breivik initially detonated a car bomb in the government district of the Norwegian capital on July 22, 2011, killing eight people.
He then drove to the island of Utøya, about 30 kilometers away, where he pretended to be a police officer and opened fire on the participants in the annual summer camp of the youth organization of the Social Democratic Labor Party.
69 people, mostly teenagers and young adults, were killed on Utøya.
Breivik named right-wing extremist and Islamophobic motives for his actions.
In August 2012 he was sentenced to the then maximum sentence of 21 years in preventive detention with a minimum duration of ten years.
Long-term consequences of the attacks
"July 22nd is a dark memory in our history and we should never forget those who were killed in the government district and on Utøya," said Prime Minister Solberg in advance.
July 22nd and all other days should be used as a reminder that you have a shared responsibility to deal with extreme attitudes, racism and hate speech.
"The fight against hatred and extremism never ends."
Survivors and their families are still struggling with the long-term health effects of the attacks, including anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
According to a recently published Utøya study, every third person who survived the terror on the island has experienced hate messages and threats.
Most of them attribute this to the fact that they were on Utøya on July 22, 2011.
The immediate reaction of Norwegian society to the attacks had been viewed with international admiration.
"Our response to violence is even more democracy, more humanity, but never naivety," said the then Norwegian Prime Minister and today's NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the time.
Remembering and commemorating
In an interview with ZDFheute on the occasion of the tenth anniversary, Stoltenberg said that July 22nd was primarily about those who had lost their lives and their loved ones back then. However, the whole nation was hit by the acts. “The attacks have had a major impact on Norway and what we are.” Or as Solberg - Stoltenberg's direct successor in the highest government office in Norway - put it at a panel discussion at the University of Oslo: “Some were attacked. But the rest of us were in shock. ”The population also felt the pain. "It was a pain for all of society."
The problem of right-wing extremist views has not disappeared in Norway after the acts of Oslo and Utøya. A year ago, a young attacker was sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention with a minimum of 14 years after attacking a mosque near Oslo on the eve of the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice in August 2019. He was armed with several firearms, but was overpowered and arrested by believers. In his apartment, the police later found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister, whom he had killed with four rifle shots.
The July 22nd commemorations were due to begin today with a ceremony in Oslo's government district. Among other things, the names of all 77 victims should be read there. Stoltenberg will give a speech in the morning in Oslo Cathedral, before flowers and wreaths will later be laid on Utøya. Crown Prince Haakon also wanted to give a speech on the island. Otherwise, not only will one thing prevail on this day in Norway during several planned minutes of silence: silence. dpa