Anger in Norway over memorial for victims of mass murderer Breivik

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 11:02pm


A controversial memorial project for the victims of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik near the site of the massacre has sparked anger among relatives and locals.

Called Memory Wound, the project by Swedish landscape artist Jonas Dahlberg carves a 3.5-metre wide slit through a small peninsula facing the island of Utoeya, where the right-wing extremist killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, on July 22, 2011.

I’m not against the monument itself. It’s the way that it was chosen

Names of the victims would be engraved into one side of the peninsula's symbolic wound, with an observation gallery installed into the facade on the opposite side.

The jury which selected the proposal described it as "a wound or a cut within the landscape" which symbolises "something being taken away".

The idea was hailed when it was chosen last month but since then criticism has grown.

Families of some of the victims complain they were never consulted about the avant-garde installation. Residents say that it scars the landscape. Experts argue that it is technically not viable.

"I'm not against the monument itself. It's the way that it was chosen and the location that poses a problem for me," said Vanessa Svebakk, the mother of the youngest victim, aged 14.

Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for the murder of a total of 77 people in a rampage which also saw eight people die in a bomb attack outside a government building in Oslo.

"Since the process started at the end of 2012, we who were closest to the victims, the most affected, have been kept in the dark," Svebakk said. "It's arrogant to use the names of our children without asking us. The fact that they are dead does not make them any less our children."

She said it was out of the question that her daughter's name should appear several hundred metres away from the island where she was killed.

Svebakk and several other families want to see a complete overhaul of the memorial project. They have been joined by people who live nearby the planned site.

"It's a bit hard to accept that we'll be reminded of July 22 every day for the rest of our lives," said local Ole Morten Jensen.