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.


Holocaust Education:

  •  The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum visit:
  • Following this trip, participating students will be asked to either participate in a community program or host a program (with guidance and support from the Israel Center and the JCRC)


  • Deadline for application submissions is February 19, 2024 @ 9pm
  • Selected students will be notified of award by March 15, 2024

Eligibility & Information:

  • Must be a registered, full-time student at the following or at least one year left on campus:
    • Augsburg University
    • St. Olaf College
    • University of Minnesota
    • Minnesota State University, Mankato
    • St. Thomas University
    • Concordia College
  • Must be a sophomore or above
  • 3.0 Grade point level and above
  • Proof of COVID vaccinations may be required
  • Previous participants are not eligible

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, and its history, culture, and society. If accepted to this program, MINNE will cover national airfare.

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

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