Murder of Benjamin Hermansen
Benjamin Hermansen (29 May 1985 – 26 January 2001) was a Norwegian-Ghanaian boy whose father was born in Ghana, his mother was Norwegian. He was stabbed to death at Holmlia in Oslo, Norway, just before midnight on 26 January 2001 by people from the Neo-Nazi group Boot Boys. Joe Erling Jahr (born 1981) and Ole Nicolai Kvisler (born 1979) were convicted of the murder and sentenced to 16 and 15 years in prison respectively. A third defendant, Veronica Andreassen, was convicted on a lesser charge of abetting bodily harm causing death and sentenced to three years in prison.
Response to the murder
Since the murder was motivated by racism, it mobilised large parts of the Norwegian population. Throughout the entire country, marches were organised to protest against the murder, with nearly 40,000 people participating in Oslo.
"Song to Benjamin"
Hermansen was buried on 6 February 2001. "Song to Benjamin", written by several of his friends for the service, was presented at his funeral. The song was later recorded in studio by artists including Noora Noor and Briskeby.
The Benjamin Prize
In 2002, the Benjamin Prize was founded in Hermansen's memory. It is awarded on 27 January every year.
Michael Jackson's Invincible dedicated to Benjamin
Pop singer Michael Jackson dedicated his 2001 album Invincible to Benjamin Hermansen (and also to his own parents and grandmother). The reason for this has partly to do with the fact that the Holmlia boy Omer Bhatti and Jackson were close friends, and Bhatti was at the same time a good friend of Benjamin Hermansen. On the album cover, next to the image of a rose, it reads:
Michael Jackson gives "special thanks":
«This album is dedicated to Benjamin ‘Benny’ Hermansen. May we continue to remember not to judge man by the color of his skin, but the content of his Character. Benjamin … we love you … may you rest in peace.»
Clara Dorothea Weltzin (1925–2007), an Oslo woman with far-right anti-immigration views, left 250 000 norwegian kroner (ca. 43 000 USD) to Ole Nicolai Kvisler in her will, something that caused major headlines in Norwegian media, and there were also suspicions regarding the legality of doing it.
- Gibbs, Walter (2002-01-18). "2 Neo-Nazis In Norway Are Guilty In Race Death". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
- "Neo-Nazis guilty of Oslo race murder". BBC News. January 17, 2002. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- "Norwegians Bury Slain Ghanaian Teen". Amsterdam, Netherlands: Ghana Web. AP. February 6, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- "Hedrer Benjamin - Michael Jackson tilegner sitt nye album til det norske knivofferet" (in Norwegian). vg.no. October 23, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- McNamara, Liz (October 23, 2001). "Jacko dedicates Invincible to Benjamin". Aftenposten. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
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