Telavåg is a village with about 600 inhabitants on the island of Sotra on the west coast of Norway . It is part of the municipality of Øygarden , Vestland , and is 39 km from Bergen . On April 30, 1942, the village was completely destroyed in a so-called punitive action by the Gestapo and the SS . This war crime of the occupiers has not been forgotten in Norway.
Destruction in World War II
The background to this was the occupation of Norway since April 9, 1940 by 300,000 soldiers from the Wehrmacht and the SS and the installation of a collaborative regime under Vidkun Quisling . On the west coast, resistance activists worked with Great Britain and established the so-called Shetland Bus , a connection route between occupied Norway and the British Shetland Islands . This served primarily to replenish material such as people from the Norwegian resistance against the German occupiers. Two of these activists, Arne Værum and Emil Gustav Hvaal, members of the Kompani Linge resistance organization , were arrested by the Gestapo in Telavåg on April 26, 1942 . In this exchange of fire, in addition to Arne Værum, the local intelligence chief , Hauptsturmführer Gerhard Berns from Bergen, and his deputy, Untersturmführer Henry Bertram, died.
Four days later, SS boats landed in the village in the morning. Women and children were deported to Norwegian camps, and the men were deported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp . Of the 268 deported people, a total of 54 died, others later died as a result. The houses were blown up and burned with all inventory and personal belongings. Reich Commissioner Josef Terboven claimed that the place would forever remain an uninhabited desert.
After the war, the surviving residents returned and rebuilt the place. Josef Terboven committed suicide on the day of the German surrender on May 8, 1945 in order to avoid execution. Today a museum opened in 1998 ( Nordsjøfartsmuséet ) commemorates the crime.
Reception in Norway
A few days later, on June 4, 1942, after an attack in Prague, the death of R. Heydrich , the head of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) and head of the German occupiers in the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia . On June 9, parallel to the Nazi regime's Berlin funeral for Heydrich, the villages of Lidice and Ležáky were destroyed. All male adults were murdered, women and children were deported. In the whole of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia there were around 1700 fatalities in the wave of terrorism that followed the Heydrich attack. Only in the post-war period was there a discussion of the legality of such blanket “retaliatory measures” against bystanders. As it was the only place in Norway that was so destroyed, Telavåg in Norway remained in the collective memory with a high symbolic content. The ranking with Lidice, Ležáky and other places that suffered from massive German repression is therefore understandable.
- They burnt our homes, they killed our men.
- The North Sea passage museum in Televåg.
- Krigen i Telavåg (Norwegian)
- Marko Martin: German Occupation of Norway: How the SS Wiped Out a Village. In: Spiegel Online . July 21, 2005, accessed January 15, 2016 .
- Manfred Ertel: Second World War in Scandinavia: “The Führer is mad!” In: Spiegel Online . June 4, 2010, accessed January 15, 2016 .
- A house against forgetting in: FAZ of April 26, 2012, p. R4.