A Declaration of Collective Guilt Without a Trial (2020)

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A Declaration of Collective Guilt Without a Trial

The Case of Norwegian Women in Love Relationships with Nazis during and after

World War II (2022)

By Ingrid Katrine Amundsen


This is an interdisciplinary essay that concerns the unlawful and stigmatizing treatment of Norwegian women in love relationships with Nazis during, and after World War II.  


The Norwegian women in a love relationships with Nazis was disgraced by being named as 'Tyskertøsene' (eng. German Hores). The Norwegian women who belonged to this stigmatized group in Norway; after the World War II settlement, was marked in the Norwegian society by being despised, was forced to take a crew cut, and sent to internment camp on Hovedøya Island, in the inner Oslofjord, of Norway. Their children were placed in orphanages. The Norwegian society's strong reaction to their love relationships, resulted in this group of women being punished morally for their forbidden love, and they were defined as disgraceful as a group. This may be explained by their preceived moral breach with Norwegian values, rules and norms, which during the war was characterized by Norwegians violent patriotism and loyalty to their own nation. Women's potential motherhood also make women's love relationships; with an enemy during, and after a war more controversial politically and morally (Ellingsen et al. 1995). Of these reasons the Norwegian women in love relationships with Nazis were declared collectively guilty without a trial, shortly after a court settlement; the so-called treason settlement. More than 3000-5000 women were declared guilty, but never saw a trial. There were strong reactions to the treason settlement in the contemporary Norwegian society at that time, most of all because of its decicion of declaring guilt in retrospect. This is particularly true of the issues of collective guilt; which was the case of the Norwegian women in love with Nazis, since these penal provisions were declared as retroactively. This was and still is problematic, particularly from a legal perspective. But, research on the Norwegian women in love relationships with Nazis shows that they simply did not support Nazism ideologically, or expected any economical advantages, such as the male traitors did: the women simply fell in love (Ellingsen et al. 1995). The male traitors simply benefitted financially on the misery of wartime, and exploited its economic 'opportunities' or favoured its ideological frameworks and the political stance of Nasizm. However, women's love relationships; during and after a war, are, however, conceived as more deceitful and treacherous, and thus receive more controversial reactions in their society. This may, again, be because of their motherhood (Ellingsen et al. 1995). The male traitors that made financial gains by collaborating with the Nazis in Norway during World War II, supprisingly got away with far lesser legal reactions and an almost absence of controversial stigmatizm. This is also problematic, again; unlawful, and critical from a feminist stance. In a public event connected to the human rights declaration's 70th anniversary, our prime minister; Erna Solberg, at 17th of November in 2018, made an official statement and apologized to the Norwegian women of this collective group; 73 years after they were declared collectively guilty without a fair trial, and without having committed any weighty or real war crimes. It is hard to forgive women's treason, particularly women's love matters in wartimes. Love relationships, which during war can be perceived as a forbidden love, highly treasonous and deceptive; can take a long time, in many instances –  generations before a society in retrospect is willing to forgive. This shows how highly controversial and potent this particular political issue is, and the difficulties, challenges, problems and frightening social and moral pressure, mental treats and physical violence, these love relationships; most certainly, have encountered.


Women's Love Relationships With the Enemy at Wartime

Norwegian Women in Love Relationships With Nazis

Legal Reactions to these Love Relationships and Questions of Collective Guilt

Cases of Retroactive penalties for Norwegian Women in Love Relationships With Nazis 


Why Were the Norwegian Women in Love With Nazis, Declared Collectively Guilty Without a Trial, When there was a Court Settlement – The Treason Settlement?

The World War II in Norway and the Treason Settlement: The Problems of Declaring Collective Guilt and Declaring Penal Provisions Retroactively

Can Love Relationships With the Enemy of a War Be Regarded as a Treason, by the Rule of Law?

Or, Must Multicultural Couples from War Zones Ultimately Seek Status as Love Refugees in Another Country?



The Aftermaths of the World War II Settlement: UN Stated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948):

"Article 1.  

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 6.  

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.  

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 10.  

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 16. 

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State" (un.org 1948).

It is evident that the Norwegian court settlement failed to protect the legal rights; of the Norwegian women in love relationships with Nazis, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948). Everyone has the freedom of chosing their own partner for a love relationship, marriage and raise a family. However, there are still opinions that will argue that love relationships with the enemy in wartimes is classified as treason. Nevertheless, everyone are born with the same rights, and are entiteled a fair trial: innocent until they are proven guilty by the rule of law. And further: the author claims that the official apologize to them; for declaring them guilty as a collective without a fair trial, came far on overtime. Their legal treatment were not in line with legal principles of a democracy, of which ideas and practices the Norwegian rule of law must represent, follow and adapt to. Declaring collective guilt without a trial, is not lawful or a democracy worthy. The treason settlement should have been harder on those who benefitted on the misery of war ideologically or economically, and been less harsh on the women in love with Nazis. In many cases, the rule of law's legal reactions, did not always prosecute the most guilty war criminals; those who committed real warcrimes and treason, economically or ideologically, against humanity. The court settlement or treason settlement was unfair, in some cases it represented an unsufficient prosecution; particularly on the war criminals that benefitted economically, it had inherent legal errors and flaws, and the rule of court was sloppy, which caused inequality of prosecution and uneven legal measurements.



Ellingsen, A., Warring, D., and Björnsdóttir, I.D., (1995). Kvinner, krig og kjærlighet. Oslo: Cappelen, pp. 5-209.

Felmee, D., and Sprecher, S., (2013). Love. Enclypedia of Social Psychology. Thousand Oakes: Sage Publications Inc., pp. 1-6.

Gran, S. (2007a). Den Andre Porten. Kjærlighetens Tre Porter Vendepunkter i Nye og Gamle Forhold. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard), pp. 97-115.

Gran, S. (2007b). Den Første Porten. Kjærlighetens Tre Porter Vendepunkter i Nye og Gamle Forhold. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard), pp. 1-93.

Gran, S. (2007c). Den Tredje Porten. Kjærlighetens Tre Porter Vendepunkter i Nye og Gamle Forhold. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard), pp. 1-93.

Gran, S. (2007d). Epilogue. Kjærlighetens Tre Porter Vendepunkter i Nye og Gamle Forhold. Oslo: Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard), pp. 297-299.

UN (1948). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [online]. Available at: https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/  [Accessed: 11.08.2019].

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