The Second World War and the background for the friendship
In March 1942 the German authorities decided to deport a number of prisoners from Yugoslavia to Norway for forced labour, mainly in a defense and transport project along the Norwegian coast. Altogether 4268 prisoners were deported from 1942 to 1945 from a large number of camps in
Yugoslavia to more than thirty Norwegian camps, most of which were in northern Norway.
These camps, where the prisoners were forced to do hard physical labour under extreme conditions, were often located in or near Norwegian villages, which meant that the Yugoslav prisoners soon came in contact with the local Norwegian population.
The Norwegians reacted with horror and disbelief to the inhuman treatment in the camps, and very soon secret channels were set up to help the prisoners as much as was possible under the circumstances. In small places like Rognan, Korge, Brekstad, Øysand and Hovde, almost the whole local population participated in the secret assistance efforts.
Food, clothing and vital information were smuggled in and many of the prisoners who escaped from the camps were helped across the border into Sweden. This help, however, could not do much to mitigate the harsh conditions and cruel treatment that the majority of the Yugoslav prisoners were exposed to. Of the 4268 prisoners that arrived in Norway, only 1917 returned. The rest of them, around 55 per cent, died in prison or while escaping from it.
Establishment of national friendship associations
”Joy of Europe” - an arrangement for children and young people from the whole world that takes place every year in Belgrade. Children from different countries and cultures gather together year after year and participate in cultural activities such as folk songs, dance and theatre. Ever since the event was established the Yugoslav Friendship Association has helped the Norwegian children participating in it, by finding host families, arranging visits to chocolate factories and publishing houses, introducing them to Yugoslav children and school classes, and so on. Altogether more than 600 Norwegian children from 20 Norwegian towns have participated in this arrangement over the years.
The Norwegian Assistance to Serbia and Montenegro in 2007 amounts to NOK 600 millions.
For questions related to business in Serbia, visit the following links:
http://www.siepa.gov.rs/site/en/home/ (Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency)
http://www.pks.rs/Default.aspx (Serbian Chamber of Commerce -in English)