Murder of Benjamin Hermansen

Benjamin Hermansen (29 May 1985 – 26 January 2001) was a Norwegian youth whose father was born in Ghana; his mother was Norwegian. He was stabbed to death at Holmlia in Oslo, Norway, just before midnight on 26 January 2001 by people from the neo-Nazi group Boot Boys. Joe Erling Jahr (born 1981) and Ole Nicolai Kvisler (born 1979) were convicted of the murder and sentenced to 16 and 15 years in prison respectively.[1] A third defendant, Veronica Andreassen, was convicted on a lesser charge of abetting bodily harm causing death and sentenced to three years in prison.[2]

Youths from Benjamin's neighborhood Holmlia stand in Youngstorget, 2011, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death. The banner they are holding reads "Be Proud."

Response to the murder edit

Since the murder was motivated by xenophobia and racism, it mobilised large parts of the Norwegian population. Throughout the entire country, marches were organised to protest against the murder, with nearly 40,000 people participating in Oslo.[2]

"Song to Benjamin" edit

Hermansen was buried on 6 February 2001. "Song to Benjamin", written by several of his friends for the service, was presented at his funeral.[3] The song was later recorded in studio by artists including Noora Noor and Briskeby.

The Benjamin Prize edit

In 2003, the Benjamin Prize was founded in Hermansen's memory. It is awarded on 27 January every year.

Michael Jackson's Invincible edit

American singer Michael Jackson dedicated his 2001 album Invincible to Benjamin Hermansen (and also to his own parents and grandmother). The reason for this has partly to do with the fact that the Holmlia boy Omer Bhatti and Jackson were close friends, and Bhatti was at the same time a good friend of Benjamin Hermansen. On the album cover, next to the image of a rose, it reads:[4][5]

Michael Jackson gives "special thanks": «This album is dedicated to Benjamin ‘Benny’ Hermansen. May we continue to remember not to judge man by the color of his skin, but the content of his Character. Benjamin … we love you … may you rest in peace.»

Testament edit

Clara Dorothea Weltzin (1925–2007), an Oslo woman with far-right views, left money to "people and organisations" that "work against immigration" in her will. A committee of three people including Erik Gjems-Onstad debated including 250,000 Norwegian kroner (c. US$43,000) to Ole Nicolai Kvisler, something that caused major headlines in Norwegian media, and there were also suspicions regarding the legality of doing it.[6]

Perpetrators edit

After their release from prison, Ole Nicolai Kvisler resumed his activities in the neo-Nazi community, while Joe Erling Jahr apologised for the murder.[7]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Gibbs, Walter (2002-01-18). "2 Neo-Nazis In Norway Are Guilty In Race Death". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  2. ^ a b "Neo-Nazis guilty of Oslo race murder". BBC News. January 17, 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  3. ^ "Norwegians Bury Slain Ghanaian Teen". Amsterdam, Netherlands: Ghana Web. AP. February 6, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "Hedrer Benjamin - Michael Jackson tilegner sitt nye album til det norske knivofferet" (in Norwegian). October 23, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  5. ^ McNamara, Liz (October 23, 2001). "Jacko dedicates Invincible to Benjamin". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  6. ^ "- Ulovlig å gi arv til Kvisler og Vigrid". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). 10 June 2008.
  7. ^ "– Viktig og positivt for samfunnet". Utrop (in Norwegian). 26 January 2018.