"Kathe, alltid vært i Norge"
© 2003, Forlaget Oktober AS. English translation; © 2019, Krakiel Publishing, Norway. The translation is published with the financial support of NORLA (Norwegian Literature Abroad www.norla.no). The book has earlier been translated into German and published by Assoziation A
Kathe – Always Been in Norway
Translated by Kerri Pierce
With a foreword by Sarah Wildman, USA
Conscientiously and in her best handwriting, fifteen-year-old Kathe Lasnik, a pupil at Oslo's Fagerborg School, completed the "Questionnaire for Jews in Norway." To the question "When did you come to Norway?" she answered, "I’ve always been in Norway." The questionnaire is dated November 16th, 1942. Ten days later, together with 532 other Jews, Kathe, her mother, her father and a sister were herded on board the troopship Donau. On December 1st Kathe Lasnik was murdered in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Two of her sisters managed to reach the safety of neutral Sweden in time.
Søbye employs a biographical technique to tell the story of a perfectly ordinary girl who grew up in Norway during the interwar years. His source-based account charts the course of Kathe Lasnik's family from the day her parents arrived in Kristiania in 1908 as refugees from Vilnius to settle on the east side of the inner city, through to their persecution, deportation and eventual murder, the murder of a Norwegian family. The author encounters considerable difficulties with the micro-historical method he has chosen to adopt, because a determined attempt was made to wipe the family off the face of the earth, to which end all belongings, papers and photographs having to do with the family members were destroyed.
This heartbreaking biography is a sober and well-documented account of one of the bleakest parts of European history.
The Book "Kathe, alltid vært i Norge" was in 2018 selected to be one of the 10 best Scandinavian non-fiction books published after year 2000. The jury consisted of nine distinguished critics, writers and researchers but together by the Newspapers Morgenbladet, Aftonbladet, Weekendavisen Broen.xyz. a.o., together with Norwegian Literature festival.
In 2017, this book was named the second-best Norwegian non-fiction published after 1945 in the category of biographies by the members of the Norwegian Non-fiction Writers and Translators Association.