Minnesota Norway Education (MINNE*) Israel & Holocaust Fellowships

*Minne  means “memory” in Norwegian


The MINNE Holocaust Fellows program annually selects college students to participate in two programs throughout the year to acquire a more in depth knowledge of the Holocaust and of Israel. Awards for the participation of these two programs comes through the MINNE Fund which is a fund of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

The MINNE Fellowships program was created due to the generosity of Peder Alfred Friiso (1919-2014) of Norway.  He was a kind man of strong Christian convictions who was deeply affected by the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and their collaborators, including Norwegians.  He also had a love for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.  Upon his death, he made a bequest to fund a program that would help Israel and also educate about the Holocaust.  He asked his nephew Geir Friiso of Minneapolis to find a way to make his desire become reality. The MINNE Fellowships program was established to honor his wish.

Click here to learn more about the creation of Minnesota-Israel-Norway Education Fellowships

Peder went by the name of Alfred, but to his family, he was Affen, a nickname of affection.  He was born in SaltrØd, a small farming and fishing community along the coast near the port city of Arendal. Affen was 14 when he went to sea for the first time, not an uncommon occurrence in Norway in the 1930s.

Germany invaded and occupied Norway in 1940 when Affen was about 20 years old. The occupation lasted for 5 years.  While Norway did not suffer the extent of destruction and horrors that some occupied countries experienced, the country was still deeply impacted.  The Jewish population of Norway was relatively small. Nearly 40% of the Norwegian Jewish community was murdered in the Holocaust. Thousands of Norwegians resisted the occupation, either within the country or escaping and joining armed forces based in Great Britain. To the great shame of his family and especially to Affen, there were Norwegians who collaborated with the Nazis. Some joined the Nazi party, even as members of Affen’s family were part of the resistance.

After the war, Affen quickly rose in the ranks of the shipping business becoming a captain at a young age despite the lack of a formal education.  He spent his life traveling the world as a ship captain for ALCOA and eventually retired to Kristiansund with his wife, Ingeborg. The two never had children.

By creating the MINNE Fellowships, Geir believes that his uncle would have felt some small measure of atonement for past wrongs committed by a small number of Norwegians who betrayed their country and humanity.  Equally important, the Fellowships will foster greater understanding between peoples and provide an education that will touch many lives.

Fellowship in the MINNE program this year offers a unique opportunity to engage fully in the course of study offered by the JCRC Holocaust education zoom webinars. We are offering a $200 stipend which will be awarded upon successful completion of all program requirements.

Because of the limited number of spaces available, we wish to ensure that those who are accepted into the program are able to make the most of the experience. The primary criteria for admission to the program are demonstration of interest in the offerings of the program and commitment to furthering your education about the Holocaust.

All fellows are expected to attend a minimum of 5 of the 15 1.25 hour classes that comprise the course. For a full list of course offerings, visit https://www.minndakjcrc.org/education_programs/lessons/

In addition, Fellows are required to submit a reflection paper as part of the program. They can choose one of the following options to be qualified:

1. Course Summary
For each of the topics discussed at the classes you attended, provide a brief summary of what you learned.
Note: The best way to go about this option is by taking notes during each lesson to use for later reference when putting together your course summary.

Each topic’s summary must be a minimum of 250 words.
Be sure to address the following points in each topic’s summary:
• What did you personally take away from learning about this topic?
• What is one thing you learned in this lesson that you never knew before?

2. Course Topic Essay
Choose one of the course topics and write an essay on it. Essays should demonstrate analysis and original thought.

• Minimum 2,000 words
• Include primary and secondary sources and footnoted documentation.

Applicants are required to attend at least 5 of the webinars and complete the reflection paper in order to become a MINNE fellow and receive a stipend.

Important dates:

Applications due by March 31, 2021
Zoom Webinars are M-F, April 12- April 30, 2021
Reflection papers due by May 14, 2021

Eligibility & Information: 

Must be a registered, full time student at Augsburg or St. Olaf with at least one year left on campus 

Israel Education:

Students who have participated in the Holocaust education portion will be referred to a program taking students on a FREE 10 day visit to Israel to learn about the country, its history, culture and society. If accepted to this program, MINNE will cover national airfare.

What is the Program to Israel?  Jewish National Fund – Caravan For Democracy: 


**Note: this depends on travel and COVID-19 restrictions

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