Artifact of the month for April

The Order of King David

Alfred Oster (1893 – 1967)


The Order of King David was instituted on the occasion of Jewish Youth Associations (JUF) 15-year anniversary in 1924. The order was given to those who had particularly contributed to the association, and should generally only be awarded to its members. At the association’s 75th anniversary in 1984, a total of 172 people had received the order. The Order’s first officials were Sigurd Levin, Harry Koritzinsky and Alfred Oster.

Alfred Oster was born in Christiania (Oslo) in 1893 as one of seven children to David (Cemach) and Bluma (Bertha Jenny) Oster. David Oster came originally from Lithuania, via Berlin to Oslo, where he gradually advanced to “factory master” at Conrad Langaard tobacco company. David Oster died in Oslo in 1934. Two of his children and five grandchildren were deported and killed in Auschwitz.

Alfred Oster trained as a draftsman and printmaker, and devoted a considerable amount of work for the Jewish Youth Association. He held, among other things, for several years the role as editor of the oldest Jewish press organ in Norway, the Israelite, a handwritten newspaper for the JUF. In 1919 he was, along with Erik Werenskiold, Edvard Munch and Harald Sohlberg, one of the initiators of the establishment of the Association of Norwegian Printmakers. During the war, Alfred managed to escape to Sweden.

Alfred Oster died in Oslo in 1967.