Oslo’s New WWII Memorial Full of Typos


Artist Kristen Kokkin‘s recently unveiled public sculpture in Oslo commemorating the 63 members of a local resistance group who died during World War II, which cost 1.2 million krone ($221,000) and was installed in the Aker Brygge area in late November, is full of typos, the Independent reports. Kokkin, the daughter of Sverre Kokkin, a member of the Pelle group, says she used an English-language spell-checking program to verify the memorial’s text, consequently missed a number of mistakes in its Norwegian text.

“I hope it won’t get too much attention. I worked on the text in America and didn’t have a Norwegian word program,” she told Oslo’s Astenpoften. “The text went through at least three people in addition to me. So this was missed, but it can’t be changed in retrospect.”


The errors include omitted letters, like a missing S in the Norwegian word for community, “fellesskap,” and the T missing from the word “Oslo-området,” which refers to Oslo’s entire metropolitan region. Periods are repeatedly misused or absent throughout the memorial text — most notably, they do not appear after each number, which is a standard Norwegian grammar rule.

“We must not forget that this is a work of art, an artistic retelling of a historic moment,” Kokkin said. “This must not be considered as a document.”

While the artist ruled out the possibility of fixing the memorial’s typos, recent history suggests that such commemorative monuments are not that fixed in stone — or bronze. A publicly ridiculed statue of Pope John Paul II in Rome was tweaked following an immense uproar, and Washington, D.C.’s Martin Luther King Junior memorial was edited earlier this year after one of its quotations was found to be incorrect.

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

(Top photo via Wikimedia Commons. Bottom photo: Jafe Parsons/Klassekampen.)