The Man who Loved Haugesund

Film review

The Man who Loved Haugesund

Photo courtesy of Films of Norway
The Man who Loved Haugesund is the true story of Moritz Rabinowitz, the only Jew there before World War II.

Films of Norway

Haugesund is a small city on the west coast of Norway between Bergen and Stavanger.

In the old days, Haugesund was mostly known for its shipping and canning industry, but these days, it is also known for its oil supply and perhaps more importantly, its Norwegian film festival! This is a yearly event that takes place in August, attracting filmmakers, cinemagoers, and other people from the Norwegian film industry.

I have been attending every year since 1985, and I always look forward to attending the event and staying in lovely Haugesund. I guess one might say that I am a man who loves Haugesund, but in a way it feels wrong to use that phrase, as there is a story about a man who really loved Haugesund, and there was even a movie made about him and his story.

The Man who Loved Haugesund is a well-made documentary about a Polish Jew, Moritz Rabinowitz, who was the only Jew in Haugesund before World War II.

He was described as an outsider but also as a person who had the ability to think big and have visions. He built Norway’s largest clothing factory and became a successful business owner. 

Already before the German occupation of Norway in 1940, Rabinowitz had started his campaign against Adolf Hitler. When the Germans came and took control of Haugesund, Rabinowitz was the first man they wanted to capture, as he was considered to be a danger to Nazi politics and their aims.

Moritz Rabinowitz

Photo courtesy of Films of Norway
Moritz Rabinowitz owned and operated a successful apparel factory in Haugesund that specialized in suits.

Rabinowitz created many jobs in Haugesund in a time when there were very few jobs around. I was born many years after the time that Rabinowitz lived in Haugesund, but based on the impression that I have after seeing this documentary, I am pretty sure I would have liked and respected him.

I strongly recommend you see this documentary. It tells a strong story from time that seem long ago (World War II), but yet we do see much of the same views and political directions today.

So, how did the story end, and how did Rabinowitz cope with the challenges he faced? I am not going to tell you any of that but just finish this review by saying that you should check out The Man who Loved Haugesund by watching this documentary, which can be streamed at

The Man who Loved Haugesund

Script: Tore Vollan

Director: Jon Haukeland & Tore Vollan

Cinematography: Tore Vollan

Producer: Hanne Myren

Year:  2004

Run time: 60 minutes

Genre: Documentary

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 3, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Geir Mæland

Geir Mæland is the founder and manager of Films of Norway, a Norwegian film-streaming service based in Stavanger, Norway.