50-YEAR MILESTONE: Erik Hermans’ Norwegian newspaper began in Brooklyn

August 2, 2012 By Henrik Krogius, Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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By Henrik Krogius

Erik Hermans is not a familiar name, unless one happens to be an American of Finland-Swedish descent. However, Hermans’s newly completed 50 years as editor of Norden is remarkable not only for his own longevity but also for keeping a now bi-weekly newspaper alive for a minuscule ethnic group spread across the country.

He was also part of an early move to computerized production using a Macintosh Plus by three Scandinavian papers — the Finland-Swedish Norden, the Sweden-Swedish Nordstjernan and the Norwegian Nordisk Tidende — that in the 1980s shared offices in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

My own family connection comes in here.

The first editor of Norden’s predecessor Finska Amerikanaren (The Finnish American) was my maternal grandfather Edvard Antell (editor 1897-1924), whose wife Anna received ownership of the paper from her father and my great-grandfather Axel Hornborg, an adventurous (not always successful) venture capitalist with investments stretching from Alaska to Cuba. Finska Amerikanaren was published from what was then known as Finntown in Sunset Park.

The paper was later sold, and four editors followed before Hermans took over in 1962. He now publishes Norden out of a studio apartment on Manhattan’s East 51st Street. There he assembles news items from every part of Finland, including cultural news and sports, and compresses them into a tabloid format the same size as this newspaper.

A full page of the July 26 issue was devoted to him and the paper’s history, written in Swedish by his longtime news and production associate with the surprising name of Richard Holt.

Hermans, who will be 82 in November, hopes to keep it up another five years. I can only envy a fellow editor with such energy, dedication and enormous capacity for detail! Grattis, Erik!
Henrik Krogius is editor of the Brooklyn Heights Press & Cobble Hill Newsle Hill News

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