During one of my visits to Norway I saw a book about “Norway’s Worst Nazis” while passing through the airport. I thought that this was interesting since the only narrative we love to share is the one of “resistance” and “contempt” for “the occupation.” So this time around I made it my mission to track down the work! I was really happy that I was able to find it since I had forgotten what the title was which meant that I had to go through lots of WW2 books over in Bergen, as I was only able to recognised it due to the “wording” or the author’s writing style on the back of the book.
This work features 60 Nazis who had influence in Norway during the “occupation years.” Some of them were ideologues others were guilty of torture, some were actual Germans, the most hated ones were Norwegians aiding the occupants, some received a sentence that they deserved when the war was over, others escaped very cheaply from their crimes…(Gestapo man Georg Wolf became a journalist for Der Spiegel for example….. some other German nazis apprehended in Norway were deported back to their homeland where they got themselves normal jobs………)
The book makes for a sad read that’s for sure, especially because some of the most heinous crimes depicted in this book came from Norwegians mistreating, torturing and killing their fellow country men over ideology…
Written about Thorvald Thronsen: ” 30. November he led a group of 15 “hird-men” in an outright attack on students and teachers at the Oslo “Handelsgymnasium.” They wanted to set an example after a “hird-boy” at the school had been in conflict with other students. During the attack they forced themselves into the school building and classrooms mistreating both headmaster, teachers and students.” (direct translation by me from the Norwegian text).
Written about Ole Wehus and his torture of Tor Njaa: “Njaa developed gangrene in his wounds, and over time he was incapable of standing upright. Big meat-chunks the size of the palm of a hand came off his body. The stench in his cell was intolerable. Sipo-SD however never managed to get any information out of him … He died under a transportation to Dachau in september 1944. This was however not the only time that Ole Wehus was active during the interrogation of a prisoner. He had tortured and mistreated more than 90 people before the war was over.” (direct translation by me from the Norwegian text).
“Germans deported 644 students to Germany, after Jews, military officers and police officers had suffered the same fate.” (direct translation by me from the Norwegian text).
There is special focus on the ship SS Donau in the book, probably because this was the first “shipment” of un-wanted people (jews). There were more individuals who were deported though not mentioned in the book. Out of the 532 prisoners on SS Donau only 9 survived the war, more deportations (and escapes) followed suit. 767 Jews from Norway were deported during the occupation, the majority ended up in Auschwitz, only 26 survived. Internment camps were also erected in Norway.
“Nasjonal Samling” Norway’s only legal political party during “the occupation” were literally “puppets” for the Germans, they were butting heads though as Germany’s vision for Norway differed. Quisling was very keen on Norway re-gaining its sovereignty and his main ideologue emphasised “Norwegianness” which clashed with Germany’s view of Norwegians as a sub-race to “Übermensch” Germans. It is believed that Quisling’s main ideologue, along with his wife, was assassinated by the occupants, when his car officially slipped off a ferry drowning him. The couple was apparently asleep in the backseat when it happened, but it wasn’t legal at the time to drive/leave a car with passengers inside the vehicle onto that type of boat. As the men on board were Germans, and things were politically tense, the accident gave birth to conspiracy theories. The Germans were not happy with Norwegian patriotism, but Quisling, funny enough, managed to get a promise from Hitler himself, that Norway was to regain its sovereignty after the war…..
The book reminds me of a real life “Game Of Thrones” in many ways, with all of these different characters, many of them extremely intelligent and successful, competing for control and power. There seems to have been many assassinations carried out by the Norwegian resistance during “the occupation.” The most popular targets were Norwegians aiding the Nazis, Quisling even asked for 10 000 personal pistols to “his people” so that they could protect themselves from the rebels.
An interesting character that stood out to me was Halldis Neegaard Østbye who through a letter written to Quisling tried to delay or postpone the Jewish deportation, advocating for imprisonment in Norway instead, as the country was facing so much instability internally that she felt that a “moderate” direction would benefit NS more. She also proclaimed that it was “un-aryan” to kill people slowly prolonging the suffering of ones enemies. Yet she also knew what the deportation entailed for the unfortunate victims as she wrote that: “it is granted that “the final solution” should be brought to completion without sentimentality when it comes to securing our own people and Europe from a new Jewish foray.” (my own direct translation based on the Norwegian text). “She meant that ” the jews are no race,” but viewed Judaism as a religious sect where followers had been guilty of inbreeding, isolating themselves from the outer world for centuries.” (my own translation based on the Norwegian text).
It is interesting to note that the Jewish community was criticised since they did not integrate but rather created parallel societies within European countries…….
Even in Norway properties and belongings were confiscated, something that disgusted certain individuals within the Nazi/NS regime as it was seen as tasteless and corrupt theft of other’s property.
There was a lot of internal division. Some nazis were full on supporters of the Germans only, others of only Quisling, the majority of the population probably hated the whole scenario, while some of the resistance fighters appears to have been full on communists. Written about Per Imerslund: “ These groups formed a left-ish oppostion to NS, who they accused of being a capitalist party managed by freemasons. The Ragnarok-group … was just as anti-capitalist as it was anti-communist.” (translation by you-know-who).
It is also interesting to note that those who were reluctant to partake in the horror-regime were sometimes threatened with deportation themselves from their superiors: ” his subordinates feared him, because he threatened to send them to concentration camps or kill them with his own hands if they disobeyed his orders.” ( Written about Ernst Weiner p.173, translated by guess-who).
It was also part of the plot of course to infiltrate the church, the education system and entertainment industry, in order to win the culture war and sway public opinion – and we all know who won that war in the end……*cough*The ghost of Marx*cough*cough*
The book is an interesting read for sure. I think it would have been good if a “map” of all the different Nazis mentioned had been included though, depicting how NS and the various German institutions overlapped, along with the personnel included. Since the perpetrators are presented to the reader in alphabetical order, you’ll find yourself going back and forth within the book to connect the various dots.
I would certainly recommend this book. I liked it.