Norway under German occupation
The occupation of Norway by the German Wehrmacht in World War II began with the Weser Exercise Company on April 9, 1940 and ended on May 8, 1945, the day of the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht .
During these five years German troops were stationed in Norway . Josef Terboven , previously Gauleiter in Essen , became Reich Commissioner . He took control of the Norwegian government, which was formed without an election by the Supreme Court after King Haakon VII went into exile in London with the legal and democratically legitimized government under Prime Minister Johan Nygaardsvold . In 1942, the German occupation forces appointed the Norwegian fascist Vidkun Quisling as head of government for the puppet government it had installed. Today, his name is used in several languages as a synonym for a collaborator or traitor.
The occupation left clear traces in the minds of the Norwegians and after the war gave rise to discussions about the behavior of individual citizens between collaboration and resistance. The Norwegian resistance groups also came under fire because they had accepted civilian victims among the population in acts of sabotage and attacks on facilities of the German occupying power.
Norway had remained neutral in World War I and wanted to continue this policy in World War II. The largest party, the Labor Party , was pacifist . At the same time, a policy of austerity was propagated, which should bring about a balanced trade balance with low inflation and full employment through austerity measures in the state budget as well as in private consumption.
It was assumed that a strict policy of neutrality would keep Norway out of all acts of war. There was the idea that Norway, due to its geographical location, was not directly threatened by aggression and could at best be drawn into a conflict between the great powers by the League of Nations . According to the statute of the League of Nations, the member states were obliged to participate in the application of sanctions against aggressors. Together with Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, Norway signed a declaration on May 27, 1938 that regulates the rights and obligations of neutral states. The Storting , the Norwegian parliament, then made it clear in a resolution that Norway was ready to maintain full and unconditional neutrality “in any war that it does not approve of even in a League of Nations”. An offer by Germany to start negotiations on a non-aggression pact was deemed incompatible with the policy of neutrality and rejected by the Norwegian government.
It was only when tensions in Europe had risen at the end of the 1930s that the Storting decided to rearm , in order to be able to defend neutrality if necessary. In return, a national debt was accepted . It later emerged that these plans had been tackled far too late to have any effect.
Political relations with Great Britain and the German Empire
Because of the strategically important location in the North Atlantic and the access to raw materials essential to the war effort ( copper , sulfur and pyrites , nickel , molybdenum and iron ore , aluminum for aircraft construction) it was not easy for Norway to maintain an even distance from the conflicting parties Great Britain and the German Reich . Although generous trade agreements were concluded with both countries, Norway had to guarantee that it would not tolerate any war transport in its waters. An immediate blockade of trade connections by one of the two powers would have been the result.
The views on what to expect from the neutrality-violating transports through Norwegian territorial waters diverged between the two warring parties. This was also shown by the Altmark incident on February 16, 1940. The supply ship Altmark of the German Navy was in Norwegian waters with British prisoners of war on board. Since the transport ship not under the Reichskriegsflagge but under Reich flag went, it was not considered from a German perspective warship . The British side assessed the transport very differently. The Royal Navy had the transport ship boarded by a raid party from the destroyer HMS Cossack and freed the prisoners of war. Seven German sailors were killed. Two of the Norwegian Navy torpedo boats present were not used to prevent the attack.
The Norwegians realized that under the circumstances, enforcing neutrality would be difficult. Still, they wanted to hold on to her. In the German Reich, however, plans were forged to shift the balance of power.
General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst planned the attack on Denmark and its northern neighbor in great secrecy . According to the German plans, the king and government of Norway should be forced to cooperate and loyalty to the German occupation should be exercised. In contrast to Denmark, the German demand for immediate surrender was not accepted by King Haakon VII and his government under Johan Nygaardsvold. They initially fled inland and called on the population to resist. The fighting ended only after massive German air raids on Norwegian cities and towns 62 days after they began on June 10, 1940 with the surrender of the 6th Norwegian Division. King Haakon VII and his government managed to leave Norway on June 7, 1940 on a British warship and to form a government in exile in London.
From the German point of view, the invasion was defended as a “protection” against British operations in Norwegian waters. The former NSDAP Gauleiter of Essen, Josef Terboven, was appointed Reich Commissioner for Norway by Hitler, turning away from an occupation rule of a military administration bound by international law, and was supposed to "win the Norwegians as friends". However, this did not succeed. One reason was that he had no representative government with whom he could negotiate. The chairman of the small Nasjonal Samling and former defense minister Vidkun Quisling proclaimed himself head of government in a speech on Norwegian radio NRK , which neither the German government nor the Norwegian public supported. The German occupiers forced Quisling to give up the post again. On April 15, 1940, the Norwegian Supreme Court installed an Administrasjonsråd as a transitional government, headed by the German-friendly conservative politician and district president of Oslo and Akershus, Ingolf Elster Christensen . After all attempts to achieve recognition of the interim government through negotiations failed, Terboven declared on September 20, 1940 the removal of the king and the government in exile, the dissolution of the Administrasjonsrådet and the ban on all political parties except the Nasjonal Samling. For his part, Terboven set up "Commissary Councils of State" as the government to implement the German orders. The collaborator Quisling was appointed head of government on February 1, 1942, to give the Norwegian government the appearance of legitimacy. Sverre Riisnæs was given responsibility for the Justice Department and Jonas Lie for the Police Department of Norway. But that didn't change the real balance of power.
Norwegian law was subordinated to German. If the current law was not in line with German law, the Reich Commissioner created new law. This was published in the “Ordinance sheets for the occupied Norwegian territories”. German martial law was also proclaimed in some occupied territories.
German security forces and repression
After the occupation in April 1940, Reichskommissar Terboven implemented an increasingly tougher occupation policy, as the collaboration government under Vidkun Quisling had no support from the population. Under the commander of the Security Police and SD Heinrich Fehlis , who had replaced Walter Stahlecker in the autumn of 1940 , Sipo and SD arrested political opponents, communists, union members, opposition teachers, students, police officers, officers of the Norwegian army, prisoners of war, forced laborers and Jews. Four police and prison camps were set up for this purpose. These were Grini fangeleir near Oslo , Falstad near Trondheim , Ulven and Espeland near Bergen and Sydspissen / Tromsdalen near Tromsø . The camps were used as places of execution and prisoners were deported to concentration camps.
Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) North was Fritz Weitzel in April 1940 , who died in an air raid on Düsseldorf in June 1940 and was replaced by Friedrich Wilhelm Redieß .
Of the approximately 500 Norwegian night and fog prisoners who had been secretly deported to Germany to unsettle the resistance movement, half never returned.
For Wehrmacht commander Norway was appointed by Falkenhorst. He was replaced by Lothar Rendulic in December 1944 , who in turn was replaced by Franz Böhme in January 1945 .
In Norway, a completely intact occupation army of 300,000 men (1940-1944), at the end of the occupation even 400,000 men, had to be supplied and their construction projects secured with money, material and labor from the Norwegian economy. In no other country occupied by Germany was the numerical ratio between occupation troops and population so unfavorable. The beginning of construction made the Air Force with airfield projects such as the expansion of the airfield Sola for the Battle of Britain and the Navy with submarine - vertices (as Dora 1 and Dora 2 in Trondheim and Bruno in Bergen) and coastal artillery . In the late summer of 1940, after the lost "Battle of England", the construction of gigantic coastal fortifications began. The meager Norwegian road and rail network should be expanded for the attack on Murmansk with the polar orbit to Kirkenes and the Riksveien 50 from Oslo to Kirkenes.
After the attack on the Soviet Union , Hitler's fear of a British invasion of Norway became a real obsession. After the British Operation Claymore against Lofoten on March 4, 1941, he immediately ordered the forced expansion of the coastal defense. Smaller Anglo-Norwegian commandos maintained the appearance of a latent threat to Norway.
Prisoners of war
Forced laborers were recruited mainly from Polish and Soviet prisoners who were concentrated in four bearings: Stalag 303 in Jørstadmoen at Lillehammer , Stalag 322 in Elvenes at Kirkenes , Stalag 330 in legends at Alta (after the withdrawal from the Finnmark according Beisfjord at Narvik postponed ) and Stalag 380 in Drevja and Oppdal . In addition, there were at least 121 sub-camps scattered across the country. Aerial archeology has shown that there must have been considerably more sub-camps. These camps were under the command of the Wehrmacht. Additional workers were recruited under the control of the Todt Organization . The Waffen-SS had its own camps in which political prisoners from Yugoslavia were interned until 1943 . However, under pressure from the Red Cross , these camps were later also handed over to the Wehrmacht . The Waffen-SS succeeded in winning around 6,000 Norwegians for the 5th SS Panzer Division "Wiking" .
Around 13,000 Soviet, 2,600 Yugoslav and 160 Polish prisoners died in Norway as a result of executions or as a result of systematic undersupply, mistreatment, exhaustion and illness. This number exceeds the total number of civilian and military casualties in Norway during World War II. Some of the notorious POW camps in Northern Norway resembled death camps.
From the beginning it was important for Terboven not only to use the Norwegian economy for war economic goals, but also to make preparations for integration into the German “greater economic area”. According to the plans of Heinrich Koppenberg and the Reich Aviation Ministry under Hermann Göring , the armaments industry wanted to use gigantic construction projects to use hydropower in Norway and to quadruple the aluminum production there for aircraft construction by the Air Force. The occupacio bellica allowed on the enemy property decree the equity investments in foreign, mainly British owners to provide under the German trusteeship of Kopp mountain. The project failed due to a lack of labor, mismanagement and transport difficulties due to a lack of shipping space.
The civilian population suffered from war and occupation. The German occupation was primarily associated with a deterioration in the situation of the workers, which was expressed in falling wages, the rationing of food and fuel and the associated black market . An escalation occurred on September 8, 1941, when the milk ration was reduced and milk sales on the farms ceased. As a result, work was stopped in 55 factories in the Oslo area in what became known as the milk strike . This was countered with extreme severity. Many Norwegians suffered from deficiency diseases . Denmark and Sweden supported the population with aid deliveries. The average energy requirement in the German Empire was calculated to be 2700 kcal per person. The Danes had an average of 3100 kcal available, while the citizens of Norway, Belgium, France and Italy had to get by with 2000 and Eastern Europeans with a maximum of 1500 kcal per day.
Around 12,000 occupation children, i.e. children of German soldiers with Norwegian women, were born in Norway (of which an estimated 8,000 were born as part of the Norwegian Lebensborn program ). The fate and, above all, the systematic discrimination of these Tyskerbarn and their mothers, called Tyskertøs ("German bitch "), in the post-war period was a taboo for decades in Norway.
During the occupation, around 50,000 Norwegians fled to neighboring, neutral Sweden . Sweden was not occupied by German troops because of its minor strategic importance. In return, some concessions had to be made regarding the transport of goods essential for the war effort through the country.
Among the people who had to flee the country were Norwegian Jews , opposition political activists and wanted resistance fighters, including Willy Brandt . The border between Norway and Sweden was very long at 1,619 kilometers and could not be effectively controlled by the Germans. Locals helped many people escape across the Green Border . In 1944 there were 560 Jews with Norwegian citizenship who had been registered as refugees in Sweden and could not leave the country. The Swedish authorities guaranteed the safety of the refugees and there were no deportations or extraditions. In the first years of the occupation, however, there was no encouragement or support for fleeing Norway from the Swedes in order not to endanger their neutrality status. Many refugees were interned in camps where they were only provided with the essentials.
Among the people who crossed the border were many men of military age who wanted to make their way to the Norwegian troops in exile to support them. Most of these troops were stationed in Great Britain. Before the German invasion of the USSR , it was still possible to leave Sweden through Soviet territory and travel great distances, often through India, to reach the United Kingdom. After the start of the Barbarossa operation , the refugees in Sweden could not continue their journey by land or sea. Only if they were able to get a place on a flight to Great Britain could they leave Sweden.
After the occupation, around 2,100 Jewish Norwegians and refugees from Central Europe lived in the country, and their situation deteriorated from the summer of 1941. In northern Norway the German occupiers arrested all Jewish men, in other parts of the country only the stateless Jews. From February 1942 onwards, on the instructions of Heinrich Fehlis, the ID cards of Jews were marked. Supporters of the Nasjonal Samling called for a radical, ultimate settlement of the Jewish question, and their statistical office obliged the Jews to report their financial circumstances .
On October 25, 1942, Wilhelm Wagner, the head of the Gestapo department in charge of the commander of the Security Police and SD in Norway, ordered the arrest of all Jewish men who were then interned in Søndre Berg near Tønsberg . Immediately afterwards the Norwegian government passed a law to confiscate the property of the Jews for the benefit of the state treasury. A law on mandatory registration of November 17, 1942 defined who was to be considered a Jew. On November 25, 1942, the arrest of Jewish women and children was ordered. 532 people were transported to Stettin and from there to Auschwitz on the troop transport ship Danube . Most of them were killed instantly there. On February 25, 1943, another 158 Jews were shipped to Stettin, brought to Auschwitz via the Berlin Synagogue Levetzowstrasse assembly camp and there - except for 28 men classified as fit for work - murdered immediately.
The arrests and deportations were carried out by Norwegian personnel and the reactions from Norwegian society and the resistance movement had been “surprisingly” cautious and ambiguous up until November. However, individual police officers warned Jews at risk of the waves of arrests, and although Jewish helpers were threatened with the death penalty on October 12, 1942, in autumn 1942 more and more non-Jewish Norwegians were helping to escape. In total, more than 1,000 Jews were smuggled into the neighboring country.
Norwegian troops in exile
Only in the last two years of the Second World War did Sweden agree to the demands of the Norwegian government-in-exile in London and allow the training of Norwegian "police forces" in Sweden. However, it was about the establishment of regular military units that were to be used in the liberation of Norway. So 12,000 men, consisting of Norwegian refugees in Sweden, were trained and armed. The first of these "police troops" were deployed after the Germans withdrew from Finnmark in the winter of 1944/1945.
Another escape route on which mostly young men came to Great Britain to join the Norwegian units in exile was the journey across the rugged North Atlantic to the Shetland Islands . These trips were started in fishing boats from the Norwegian coast and lasted around 24 hours. The distance off the Norwegian coast had to be covered under cover of darkness. Initially used irregularly by refugees, this sea route developed over time into the “ Shetland Bus ”, with which Norwegians not only escaped to Great Britain, but people and material were also shipped in the opposite direction.
In the early days, the journeys went unnoticed by the occupying forces. Eventually the escape route was discovered and the German Navy successfully attacked fishing boats many times, sank them or took the crew members prisoner.
When the SS learned that resistance fighters were also being smuggled back to Norway from Shetland by boat, a unit under the leadership of the German intelligence chief in Norway, Hauptsturmführer Gerhard Berns, and his deputy, Untersturmführer Henry Bertram, set out to meet two of the resistance fighters arrested in Telavåg village , where they were hiding. The two, Arne Vaerum and Emil G. Hvaal, had trained in Scotland and were dropped off on the Norwegian coast in early April 1942 with the "Shetland Bus". During the action in Telavåg, Vaerum, but also Berns and Bertram were killed. As an act of revenge, SS units landed in the village, kidnapped the women in Norwegian camps, the men in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and blew up all the houses to wipe out the village.
As part of the Nordlicht company , the complete and ruthless deportation (evacuation) of the Norwegian population and the destruction of all accommodation east of the Lyngenfjord by the Wehrmacht took place at the end of 1944 .
The plans drawn up under Terboven for the "final battle" in Norway envisaged the lasting destruction of all important industrial and utility companies in the country. In preparation, there was a special department at the HSSPF under the IG Farben director von der Bey. The Wehrmacht commander in chief for Norway Böhme as well as the chiefs of the OKW , Wilhelm Keitel and the Wehrmacht command staff , Alfred Jodl , were basically positive about these ideas. Terboven's plans did not get through to the new German head of state Karl Dönitz , was deposed on May 7, 1945 and committed suicide the following day.
Ensign Terje Rollem , a member of the Milorg resistance group , who officially received Akershus fortress in Oslo from the German commanders on May 11, 1945 , became known nationwide . The photographs produced by Johannes Stage are national icons in Norway, prints and prints were seen in the post-war period and later in many Norwegian private homes and on Norwegian postage stamps. While the German major and fortress commander and his adjutant in the correct uniform, polished boots, gloved and with their medals walk up to the handover, Rollem receives them without a cap, wearing knitted traditional leggings , knickerbockers and an old uniform jacket.
Terboven, Redieß and Fehlis evaded responsibility by suicide. Von Falkenhorst was sentenced to death by a British military tribunal in Braunschweig for participating in the murder of British commandos, pardoned to life imprisonment and released in 1953 for health reasons. On the initiative of Norway , the United Nations War Crimes Commission in London, formed in 1943, drew up a list of the names of 380 Germans and Austrians who were suspected of having committed violations of martial law. 86 have been indicted and convicted of 81 in Norway, 76 of whom had been charged with murder, manslaughter or assault. 70 convicts belonged to the Sipo. At the same time, 90,000 cases of treason against Norwegians were prepared. At the Nuremberg trial, Lothar Rendulic was accused of having vandalized the Norwegian province of Finnmark willfully and without military necessity . The court regarded it as proven that this procedure was objectively not militarily necessary, but admitted that the defendant could have erred in the context of his honest assessment of the military situation at the time and found him not guilty on this count.
On August 7, 1959, a global reparation agreement was signed between Norway and the Federal Republic of Germany with a payment obligation of DM 60 million.
- Robert Bohn (ed.): The instruments of German rule in the Reichskommissariat Norway. In: The German rule in the "Germanic" countries 1940–1945. Steiner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-515-07099-0 , pp. 71-110.
- Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. "National Socialist Reorganization" and War Economy. Oldenbourg, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-486-56488-9 .
- Svein Aage Knudsen: German U-Boats off Norway 1940-1945. Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg [a. a.] 2005, ISBN 3-8132-0841-9 .
- Fritz Petrick: "Disturbance of the Peace". Studies on the Northern European policy of Hitler Germany. Edition Organon, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-931034-01-1 .
- Michael Tamelander, Niklas Zetterling: The nionde April. Nazitysklands invasion av Norge 1940. Historiska Media, Lund 2005, ISBN 9-185-05795-9 (Norwegian).
- The occupation of Norway. Information on the website of the German Historical Museum
- Norway and the Second World War. Information on the website of the Norwegian Embassy Berlin
- ↑ Erling Fossen: Motstand glorifiseres . In: Aftenposten . December 14, 2008 (Norwegian)
- ^ Efraim Karsh: Neutrality and small states . Routledge, 1988, ISBN 0-415-00507-8 , p. 105.
- ^ Occupation of Norway ("Weser Exercise-North") on the website of the German Historical Museum
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 454.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 62 f.
- ↑ Wolfgang Benz , Barbara Distel (ed.): The place of terror . History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 9: Labor education camps, ghettos, youth protection camps, police detention camps, special camps, gypsy camps, forced labor camps. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-57238-8 , p. 39.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 70 ff.
- ^ Jon Reitan: Falstad - History and Memories of a Nazi Camp . In: Politics of the past and cultures of remembrance in the shadow of the Second World War . Ed .: Bohn, Cornelißen, Lammers, Klartext 2008, ISBN 978-3-89861-988-2 , p. 186 f.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 43 f.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 459.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 357 ff.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 371 f.
- ↑ Sporer krigsfangeleire med georadar published by NRK on June 21, 2009
- ↑ The Norwegian SS Volunteers , website about Norwegian volunteers under German command
- ^ Jon Reitan: Falstad - History and Memories of a Nazi Camp . In: Politics of the Past and Cultures of Remembrance in the Shadow of the Second World War , p. 187.
- ↑ Dirk Riedel: Norway . In: Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel (eds.): The place of terror. History of the National Socialist Concentration Camps. Volume 9: Labor education camps, ghettos, youth protection camps, police detention camps, special camps, gypsy camps, forced labor camps. CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 437 ff.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 36.
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway . P. 386 ff.
- ^ Aage Trommer: The store alliance. Gyldendal, København 1990, ISBN 87-00-32474-4 , p. 162.
- ^ Report and figures on the occupation children of the Second World War in Europe (in French)
- ↑ Reinhard Wolff: Late commitment to responsibility . In: taz.de of July 5, 2004, accessed on October 11, 2012.
- ^ Ellinor E. Major: The impact of the Holocaust on the second generation: Norwegian Jewish Holocaust survivors and their children . Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 3, pp. 441-454, July 1996
- ↑ Documents VEJ 6/14 and VEJ 5/20. In Katja Happe, Michael Mayer, Maja peers (Ed.): The persecution and murder of European Jews ... Volume 5: Western and Northern Europe in 1940 June, 1942. Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-58682-4 .
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of European Jews by National Socialist Germany 1933–1945 (collection of sources) Volume 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , pp. 24-25 and VEJ 12/29.
- ↑ Document VEJ 12/31
- ↑ Document VEJ 12/35
- ↑ Documents VEJ 12/36, VEJ 12/38 and VEJ 12/39
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of the European Jews ... Vol. 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , p. 28.
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of the European Jews ... Vol. 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , p. 28.
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of the European Jews ... Vol. 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , p. 27.
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of the European Jews ... Vol. 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , p. 29.
- ↑ Katja Happe u. a. (Ed.): The persecution and murder of the European Jews ... Vol. 12: Western and Northern Europe, June 1942–1945. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-486-71843-0 , p. 30.
- ↑ Arnim Lang: Operation Northern Lights - The Destruction of Northern Norway by German Troops…. In: End of the war in the north: from hot to cold war , Eds. Robert Bohn and Jürgen Elvert, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-515-06413-3 .
- ^ Robert Bohn: Reichskommissariat Norway. P. 1 ff.
- ↑ Robert Bohn: Guilt and Atonement - The Norwegian accounting with the German occupiers . In: Germany, Europe and the North . Ed .: Robert Bohn, Steiner, Stuttgart 1993, p. 108.
- ↑ Robert Bohn: Guilt and Atonement - The Norwegian accounting with the German occupiers , p. 113 ff.
- ↑ Kevin Jon Heller : The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law. Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-955431-7 , p. 311.
- ↑ Formation and further development of the reparations and consequences of war regulations in Germany ( Memento of the original from November 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF), Federal Ministry of Finance, accessed on November 22, 2016, p. 36.