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Suicide Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven, the Reichskommissar for Norway.

13-10-2018

Josef Terboven, born on 23-05-18989 in Essen, was a Nazi leader most known for his brutal leadership during the Nazi occupation of Norway.

Terboven   was born the son of minor landed gentry. He served for the German field artillery and nascent air force in World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross . He was dishonorably discharged as a lieutenant. He studied law and political science for a few years at the universities of Munich and Freiburg, where he first got involved in extremist politics. He worked as an apprentice at a bank for a few years before being laid off in 1925.

This set the stage for an active career in the Nazi party. Terboven helped establish the party in Essen and became Gauleiter there in 1928. He was part of the Sturmabteilung from 1925. He was made Oberpräsident der Rheinprovinz in 1935 and earned a reputation as a petty and ruthless ruler of the area.

He was made Reichskommissar (Commissary) of Norway on April 24, 1940 , when it became obvious that a more authoritarian administration was needed in Norway. He moved into the Norwegian crown prince’s residence in Skaugum and made the Norwegian parliament’s buildings  his headquarters.

Although the Nazi authorities instituted a puppet Norwegian regime through the Vidkun Quisling cabinet , he ruled Norway as if he were dictator. He did not have authority over regular German armed forces in Norway (sometimes as many as 400,000 men), which were the command of General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, but commanded a force of 6,000, of which 800 were part of the secret police. His aspiration was to set up Fortress Norway that would be the last stand for the Nazi regime. He also planned to set up a concentration camp in Norway, all plans that came to nothing.  Quisling, Himmler, Terboven and Falkenhorst, left to right.

On 18 December 1944, Falkenhorst was dismissed from his command for opposing certain radical policies of Terboven. As the tide of the war turned against Germany, Terboven’s  personal aspiration was to organise a “Fortress Norway” (Festung Norwegen) for the Nazi regime’s last stand.

Terboven also planned concentration camps in Norway, establishing Falstad concentration camp  near Levanger and Bredtvet concentration camp in Oslo in late 1941.

On 18 July 1942 the Beisfjord massacre occurred. Terboven ordered the massacre a few days earlier. In July 1942 at least one German guard employed by the Korgen prison camp was killed. The commandant ordered retribution: execution by gunfire for “39 prisoners at Korgen and 20 at Osen”; in the days that followed, Terboven also ordered retribution: around 400 prisoners shot and killed in various camps

Terboven was much hated among Norwegians and earned little respect among his allies. He committed suicide a little past 11 p.m., May 8, 1945, age 47, by detonating 50 kg dynamite in his bunker hideout on the Skaugum compound. At the end of the war Terboven’s wife Ilse Stahl   killed their daughter Inga by strangle her in bed  Ilse was the former secretary of Joseph Goebbels. With the announcement of Germany’s surrender,Terboven blew himself up with 50 kg dynamite in the company of the body of the commander of the SS in Norway, Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Rediess , who had shot himself, age 44, in his bedroom at Skaugum in the early hours that same day.

When police arrived in Skaugum on May 9, 1945, they found a crater in the floor of the bunker. And the remains of Hitler’s National Commissioner Josef Terboven, who had ruled Norway with dictatorial powers since 1940. One week after Der Führer committed suicide, Terboven also chose death as a way out of responsibility.

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