The Norwegian Laft Hus Museum in Red Deer has opened a book of condolences for Norway to help local residents and those of the Scandinavian country cope with the violent July 22 attacks that claimed 77 lives.
“I think it gives people an opportunity for a little bit of a healing process, to express how they feel,” said Syneva Baltimore, a museum volunteer. “And when they get it, the book, they’ll feel better because they’ll know the world is with them.”
On Tuesday, the Norwegian-Canadian and her sister, Anne Manca, who is visiting from Edmonton, discussed the bombing and shooting massacre that took Norwegians and the world by surprise.
“I was shocked when I heard about it and I still am,” Balitmore said.
“They don’t do that stuff in Norway.”
Manca agreed, saying the violent acts that rocked the peaceful country were just as alarming as the loss of life.
Andres Behring Breivik, 32, confessed to killing a total of 77 people by bombing the Norwegian government quarter in Oslo and in a shooting spree at an youth summer camp hosted by the Labor Party on Utoya Island.
Baltimore and Manca have 14 cousins who live in Norway, most within an hour of Oslo.
One cousin’s son-in-law works in downtown Oslo and a piece of a car flew threw his office window when the bomb went off, Baltimore said. He was uninjured but shaken up.
The women’s cousins have sent emails to say things are slowly returning to a state of normal despite the fact that most Norwegians have lost their sense of safety.
The museum set the book of condolences out last week and a handful of pages have since been marked with messages of heartfelt sympathy.
People from Red Deer, Lacombe, Stettler, Calgary, Chilliwack and Washington State all expressed disbelief while offering encouraging words for Norwegians.
“They’ve suffered such a shock and such a loss,” Manca said.
“It’ll certainly help to know other people are feeling your same pain.”
The book will be open until mid-August for those who wish to share their condolences. It will be delivered to the Norwegian Consulate in Edmonton later this month.
The museum is in Heritage Square, which is located behind the Recreation Centre at 4402-47 Ave. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.