Fredrik S. Heffermehl (11 Nov 1938 – 23 Dec 2023)

OBITUARIES, 25 Dec 2023

Posted by Antonio C. S. Rosa | Editor – TRANSCEND Media Service

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, cand. jur, LLM NYU, was a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, ex-Vice President of the International Peace Bureau, and founder of Nobel Peace Prize Watch. He was the author of The Nobel Peace Prize, What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger, 2010 – expanded versions in Chinese, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish and [2014] Russian). Fredrik died on 23 Dec 2023 at the age of 85. The world lost an exemplary human being and a courageous activist for disarmament and the abolition of war. RIP

Fredrik was a Norwegian jurist, writer and peace activist. He worked as a lawyer and civil servant from 1965 to 1982 and was the first secretary-general of the Norwegian Humanist Association from 1980 to 1982. He later made his mark as a writer and activist for peace and against nuclear arms. He was the honorary president, and president, of the Norwegian Peace Council, a vice president of the International Peace Bureau, and a vice president of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms.


Born in Rena, Norway, Heffermehl enrolled at the University of Oslo, graduating with the cand.jur. degree in 1964. He then worked as a lawyer from 1965 to 1973, while also taking a master’s degree in 1970 at New York University. In 1973 Heffermehl became an assistant director at the office of the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman. He left this position in 1980 to become the first secretary-general of the Norwegian Humanist Association. He left the Humanist Association in 1982 to work as an independent writer. In addition to writing non-fiction books, Heffermehl has translated several books to Norwegian.

In 1988 he became the president of the NGO Norwegian Peace Council, and a member of the board of the International Peace Bureau. In 1994 he became vice president in the International Peace Bureau, and in 1997 he assumed the same position in the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. After stepping down as president of the Norwegian Peace Council, he was proclaimed honorary president.

Heffermehl presenting his latest book

From August 2007 Heffermehl marked himself as a staunch critic of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which, according to him, failed to comply with the will of Alfred Nobel, thereby making several awards—45% of the awards after 1945—juridically illegal. Among the laureates perceived by Heffermehl as illegal are the more controversial laureates, such as Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho (1973) and Arafat, Peres and Rabin (1994), but also less controversial ones such as Mother Teresa (1979) and Elie Wiesel (1986). Although many laureates have done “commendable work”, Heffermehl stressed that this is not good enough to receive a prize whose criteria explicitly pertain to disarmament and peace work.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Dec 2023.

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