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German hero named ‘Norwegian of the year’
Photo: DPA

German hero named ‘Norwegian of the year’

Published: 16 Dec 2011 12:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2011 12:24 GMT+01:00

A German man has received the honour “Norwegian of the Year 2011” for helping rescue 30 survivors of the Utøya island massacre in July.

Rostock native Marcel Gleffe, 32, was holidaying with his parents on the mainland when he heard gunshots being fired by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik on the nearby island of Utøya, where 69 people died.

"Initially I thought that it was fireworks,” said Gleffe. “Then I quickly realised that someone was shooting, and that someone had to bring these people out of the water," he added.

Instincts took over as Gleffe, who had been living in Norway for several years working as a roofer, jumped in a boat and began pulling youths from the cold waters of surrounding the island.

He made multiple trips in the hour that it took the police to arrive at the shooting, managing to bring between five and eight people at a time back to the mainland. His boat was shot by the attacker during the rescue.

Officials believe he rescued around 30 survivors from the island, which was hosting a camp for the Norwegian Youth Labour Party.

The prestigious “Norwegian of the Year” award, which is run by the Norwegian news magazine Ny Tid was also awarded to Norwegians Prableen Kaur, 18, and Synnøve Kvamme, 20. The ceremony took place on Thursday, at the House of Literature in Oslo.

Kaur is the deputy head of the Labour party’s youth wing in Oslo and the youngest person ever to be elected to the Oslo City Council.

Kvamme organized the largest demonstrations in Norway in the last 30 years, against the construction of massive electricity pylons in the rural west of the country.

In the past year, Gleffe has also received the German Federal Cross of Merit, the Ludwig-Beck Prize for Civil courage and the Golden Hen German media prize.

NTB/DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:53 December 16, 2011 by Berliner Mauer
Gratitude goes out to all who exemplify such selfless acts of courage in the face of danger and for reminindg us those people who cause such great harm there are always those polar opposite who restore faith in mankind.
15:16 December 16, 2011 by catjones
By headlining this report as a 'german hero' implies that being german had something to do with his bravery and that trait is a 'german' one. Typical german conceit.
15:29 December 16, 2011 by HelloOutThere
Typical catjones comment.
19:21 December 16, 2011 by JAMessersmith
@Catjones

Everyone knows heroism is an American trait. Get with the program.
19:46 December 16, 2011 by reallybigdog
Headlines; The Germans save Europe, or the Germans only do peace missions, or the German hero vs the USA and England caught up time and time again over the last 600 years spearheading war without evidence or a smoking gun. Just brilliant!! My my how times have changed.

Just look at catjones making his bitter sweet comment of unjust German heroism. Not to mention lack of correct history or fact. Short memories from little minds always twist facts.

Professor Quincy Wright offers this further statistical evidence for the same period, that is, 1480-1940:

Of the 278 wars involving European states during this period, the percentage of participation by the principal states was: England, 28; France, 26; Spain, 23; Russia, 22; Austria, 19; Turkey, 15; Poland, 11; Sweden, 9; Netherlands, 8; Germany (Prussia), 8; Italy (Savoy-Sardinia), 9; and Denmark, 7.7
20:52 December 16, 2011 by TRJ
@reallybigdog-

I'm impressed by Denmark's 7.7 wars. I guess maybe only 70% of Danes were really into the 8th war. (just kidding)
21:19 December 16, 2011 by reallybigdog
@ TRJ

:) just like 2.5 kids!
23:25 December 16, 2011 by wxman
I agree with #2. The fact that he was German had nothing to do with it. He's a hero for helping save lives. Doesn't matter his country of origin. Congrats to him for his clear thinking and heroism in a chaotic situation.
00:20 December 17, 2011 by ChrisRea
Come on, people! A GERMAN is the NORWEGIAN of the year. The journalist's play with a paradox is not that subtle.

Anyway, hat off to Mr. Gleffe for what he did!
02:58 December 17, 2011 by nedmesis
@ TRJ

Percentages are advanced math for some. In fact the Danes were in 21.4 Wars. Still a bit hard to grasp. No, it's not the result of round off.
03:07 December 17, 2011 by Christine1
Heroic, and inspirational!! Great to read a story like this instead of the mundane political or sordid ones!
03:30 December 17, 2011 by wood artist
Two things:

First, I think the headline is appropriate, since you wouldn't typically expect the "Norwegian" of the year to be a native of some other country. That's completely aside from the fact that I think the man deserves the recognition.

Second, I'll bet the "fractional wars" numbers come from the 30 Years War. Some countries only participated in parts of it, dodging in and out from time to time. On the other hand, not all wars are created equally, and I don't think you should get as much credit for "The War of Jenkin's Ear" as you would for World War II. Just thinking out loud here.

wa
13:54 December 17, 2011 by zeddriver
@woodartist

In the context of a German citizen winning Norwegian of the year the title is absolutely appropriate. Kudos to this guy.

I do think how ever. That in general far to much is made out of where one comes from. This is a big issue with government forms in the US. If one applies for a home loan, Your race must be revealed. Ones race should not matter. If you have a good job make enough money and don't owe to much is what really should matter. But the government just loves to pigeon hole people into neat little stacks.
19:16 December 17, 2011 by bjerkebek
Thank you.
08:00 December 18, 2011 by wood artist
@zeddriver

I haven't filled out home loan forms for many years, but I know that in most other situations, the questions relating to age, sex, and race are separate, and clearly marked as "optional." They supposedly are collected only for statistical purposes. That may or may not be true, however, it is illegal to base any decisions upon them. That said, I won't say it couldn't happen.

Most often that information has been required by Congress, to evaluate or show whether or not the "intent" of a specific law or rule is accomplishing its goal. While I personally don't much care about my own data...I understand that some question them, and all the forms I've seen specifically state that you can leave them blank.

Yes, the government does like their statistics, but I think some of them are valid. Hard to judge which ones...and we might disagree on that.

wa
16:29 April 17, 2012 by Sastry.M
Even if a German national wins a foreign honor of recognition for his exemplary and courageous help witnessed by all he is still reviewed more with his nationality than his good work. No surprise when a Nobel prize honored compatriot is criticized for voicing his views.
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