Ruth Maier

Ruth Maier (November 10, 1920, Vienna, Austria – December 1, 1942, Auschwitz, Poland) was an Austrian woman who wrote journals telling about her experience during the Holocaust in Austria and Norway. Her writings were published in 2007, and she is described as “Anne Frank of Norway”.


Ruth Maier was born in Vienna to a Jewish family. His father, Ludwig Maier, was a PhD in Philosophy, was polyglot (spoke nine languages) and worked in the postal and telegraph service. He died in 1933 of erysipelas. His first cousin, who survived the war, was the philosopher Stephan Körner.

His little sister Judith escaped to the United Kingdom. And, through her father’s contacts, Ruth found refuge in Norway, where she arrived by train on January 30, 1939. She was welcomed by a Norwegian family, learned the language in a year and met the future poet Gunvor Hofmoat in a field Of volunteer work in Biri. They became inseparable and worked in various parts of the country.

Model for the sculptor Gustav Vigeland

Ruth was also one of the models for the statue “Surprised”, of Gustav Vigeland. It is permanently exhibited at Frogner Park in Oslo. Vigeland began the work in 1904 and completed it in 1942. The model for the face of the sculpture was Inga Syvertsen. In 2002 the statue was made in bronze.

Ruth Maier was also a model for the Norwegian painter Asmund Esval.

Arrest, deportation to Auschwitz and death

Ruth rented a room in Oslo in early 1942 and was arrested and deported on 26 November 1942. She arrived in Auschwitz on 1 December and died in the gas chambers at the age of 22.

Publication of the newspaper

Gunvor Hofmo, Ruth’s close friend, kept her diaries and much of her correspondence, which led to Gyldendal publishing house for publication in 1953, though they were rejected. After his death in 1995 Jan Erik Vold edited the writings for 10 years and was finally published in 2007. Vold was very impressed by the literary value of the journals and compared Ruth Maier’s talent to Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag. 1 The book was translated into English in 2009. 2

Apology from the government of Norway

In a speech on 27 January 2012 on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance in Memory of the Holocaust Victims, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called for an official apology for Norway’s role in deportations. As reported on the official website of the government, Stoltenberg delivered his speech at the Oslo quay, where 532 Jews embarked on the Donau on 26 November 1942 to the Nazi camp. Stoltenberg said: 3
“The Holocaust came to Norway on Thursday, November 26, 1942. Ruth Maier was one of the many arrested on that day. On November 26, when the sun was rising, the sound of heavy boots could be heard on the stairs of the” Englehjemmet “in Oslo A few minutes later, this Jewish girl was spotted as she was taken out of Dalsbergstien’s No. 3. Ruth Maier was last seen being forced into a black truck by two Norwegian policemen. A gas chamber at Auschwitz.Fortunately, it is part of the human being to learn from our mistakes.And it is never late.At the 50th anniversary after the war was over, the Storting decided to correct the error, collectively and individually, of the liquidation Of Jewish property The state accepted moral responsibility for the crimes committed against the Norwegian Jews during World War II What about the crimes against Ruth Maier and the other Jews The murders were undoubtedly carried out by the Nazis. But it was the Norwegians who made the arrests. It was the Norwegians who drove the trucks. This happened in Norway.

– Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian Prime Minister, 27 January 2012. ”


In 2015, the Klassekampen newspaper printed a facsimile of the passage ” Kirkegård / Vår Frelser ” (“Cemetery / Our Savior”) in an article about the exhibition Krigsbilder. Kunst under okkupasjonen 1940-45 at Bomuldsfabrikken Kunsthall in Arendal.


  1. Back to top↑ Haagensen, Nils-Øivind (October 18, 2007). ‘En pike utenom det vanlige’ (in Norwegian ) . Oslo: Klassekampen.
  2. Back to top↑ Vold, JE; Maier, R. (2009). Ruth Maier’s diary: a young girl’s life under Nazism. (In English) . London: Harvill Secker.
  3. Back to top↑ “Speech on the International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust” , delivered by the Prime Minister of Norway, January 27, 2012.