Knut Hamsun commemorated on Norwegian coin

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Knut Hamsun, the Nobel prize-winning Norwegian author who fell from grace for supporting the Nazi occupation of Norway, is to be put on a commemorative coin by his homeland's central bank.

The coin is the first to celebrate Hamsun, a Norwegian national hero until his sympathy for the Nazi party emerged. "NORWEGIANS! Throw down your rifles and go home again," he wrote in a newspaper article after the Nazis arrived in Norway in 1940. "The Germans are fighting for us all, and will crush the English tyranny over us and over all neutrals." His post-war trial for treason was ended after two psychiatrists ruled he was suffering from "permanently impaired mental faculties", but he was sentenced to the loss of his property, put under psychiatric observation, and died in 1952 in poverty.

The coin's issue, to mark the 150th anniversary of Hamsun's birth, comes seven years after a ferocious debate over naming an Oslo street after the author, an idea which was eventually dropped after public outrage. The coin shows a reproduction of Hamsun's notes for his masterpiece Markens Grøde (Growth of the Soil), along with his features, which are partially visible through the text, and his signature.

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