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May 20, 1983 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-05-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

22 Friday, May 20, 1983

Norwegian Priest Is a Leading Citizen of Israel

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By MOSHE RON

The Jewish News Special
Israel Correspondent

TEL AVIV — At a time,
when there are many yor-
dim, people leaving Israel to
look for riches in the U.S.,
Canada, etc. and when
many emissaries of the
state and the Jewish
Agency are active in many
countries to bring olim to Is-
rael, we have a priest in
Haifa who travels to the
U.S. to convince American
Jews to come to Israel.
In a modest church on
Mount Carmel there lives a
priest from Norway, Pier
Fie Hanssen. He is 67 years
old and is called "Zionist
Christian Number One."
The priest recently re-
ceived a medal from
President Yitzhak Navon
for his volunteer work for
Israel. It was a token of

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thanks for all he had done
and still does for the Jewish
people.
His activities started
before World War II. He
endangered his life to
save Jews from the Nazi
hell. After the establish-
ment of the state of Israel,
he became a Zionist
agitator in Norway and
other countries. He went
to the United States try-
ing to convince American
Jews to come to Israel.
Hanssen was born in 1916
in the vicinity of Oslo. His
mother was a member of the
Norwegian Parliament, his
father was an engineer. He
studied theology at the
University of Oslo. His love
for the Bible attracted him
more and more to the
Jewish people and Eretz Is-
rael.
In 1938, Hanssen came
for the first time to Eretz Is-
rael to visit the holy shrines
and was very enthusiastic
about what he saw.
When World War II broke
out, he and his family dedi-
cated themselves in Norway
to saving Jews from the

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hands of the Nazis and to
transfer them them secretly
to Sweden. He once stole a
car from the Gestapo
and brought Jews to the
Swedish border in it. The
Gestapo became suspicious,
but he succeeded in avoid-
ing arrest. At last he and his
family had to escape to
Sweden and to leave all
their fortune in Norway.
For two years Hanssen
lived as a refugee in Swe-
den, together with his
wife and two small chil-
dren.
In Sweden, he worked as a
teacher with refugee chil-
dren from Scandinavian
countries. He started a
Zionist campaign for the es-
tablishment of a Jewish
state. After the war he re-
turned to Norway and wrote
books and articles in favor
of Zionism. He initiated a
petition, collecting signa-
tures of 40,000 Norwegian
citizens backing the estab-
lishment of a Jewish state.
In 1947, Hanssen came
again to Israel. He met
David Ben-Gurion and
Moshe Sharet. He decided to
remain in Eretz Israel, and
built a small church in
Haifa which has become a
center for Scandinavian
sailors whose ships anchor
in the port of Haifa. His
church was supported by
several people in Norway
who identified themselves
with his attitude towards
the Jewish people and
Zionism.
He decided to dedicate
himself to activity for Is-
rael. He is opposed to any
missionary activities in Is-
rael.
At the end of 1948, Pier
returned to Norway and
took part in a political
campaign for Israel. Af-
terwards, he came back
to Israel to his little
church in Haifa. Today
he is living with his
daughter and her hus-
band, who are helping
him in his activities. The
daughter has a theologi-
cal diploma and her hus-
band has a degree in eco-
nomics.
Hanssen voices his opin-
ion about the Arab-Israeli
conflict. Ther Arabs should
live in Arab countries, he
says. There are no occupied
lands, but only liberated
territories in Israel. He does
not believe in peace with
Egypt and thinks that Jews
will some day return to
Yamit. It was a marvellous
town, he says. "A pity that it
had to be returned to
Egypt."
In 1956, Hanssen visited
several neighboring Arab
countries. He was arrested
in Damascus because he
had published pro-Israeli
articles in many countries
in the world. He was expel-
led from Syria.

In 1969, he established a
home for Scandinavian
sailors in Ashdod.
In 1976, he opened a reli-
gious club in Jerusalem for
Scandinavian tourists. In
1959, he was sent as an offi-
cial emissary by the Israeli
government to the United
States to convince Ameri-

can Jews to settle in Israel.
Every year he visits Nor-
way, Switzerland, C rmany
and other countries and lec-
tures about modern Israel.
Hanssen edits two
periodicals, in Norwe-
gian and German. His
newspaper is distributed
in the tens of thousands
of copies in Oslo. In Ger-
many it is published once
a month. Both periodi-
cals describe the political
and social life in Israel.
During the first months of
the Lebanese war, he stayed
in Norway to respond to the
attacks and criticism
against Israel. He told us,
"During the Six-Day War
my daughter was in Nor-
way. She phoned me and
told me that Norwegian
newspapers are reporting
that Egyptian planes have
destroyed Haifa. I im-
mediately denied these re-
ports."

Named Director

NEW YORK — The
American Society for Yad
Vashem, established in
1982, recently named
Samuel R. Moses of New
York as its first executive
director.

He said that the Jewish
people have got what was
prophesized and promised
in the Bible. There could be
some kind of war between
Russia and Israel, but Israel
will exist forever, as God is
with the Jewish state.

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