Falkenhorst, Nikolaus von, born on 17-01-1885 in Breslau to an old Silesian military family of Jastrzembski, son of an officer in the Schleischen capital Breslau. He changed this Polish name to German name von Falkenhorst, “Falcon’s Eyre”, early in his career. He joined the German army in 1907, age 22 and during World War I was given various regimental and staff appointments. As a member of the Freikorps in 1919, he was transferred to the Reichswehr. In 1939 he commanded the Twenty First Army Corps during the Invasion of Poland, and was promoted to General der Infanterie. On 20-02-1940, Adolf Hitler (did you know) (see Paula) (see William Hitler)informed von Falkenhorst that he would shortly command a highly secret operation, the invasion of Norway Operation Weserübung. After planning the invasion of Norway and repulsing a counter-invasion by British forces from the north, Falkenhorst remained in charge of the Norwegian garrison.
In contrast to the civilian administration, the military forces aimed to form an understanding with the Norwegian people and von Falkenhorst ordered his men to treat them with courtesy. An apocryphal story, which was much believed by both sides, told of a Norwegian woman who complained that a German soldier had stolen some of her jam. The next morning, she was invited to come to the local army post to see the man shot by firing squad. This is one of 88 Model 770 K’s built by Mercedes Benz. It was originally commissioned to General Nikolaus von Falkenhorst and delivered to him in Oslo, Norway in November 1940. In May of 1945, during the liberation, the car was confiscated by the Allied mission, under the command of U.K. Lieutenant General Augustus Francis Andrew Nicol Thorne who commanded XII Corps . General Thorne survived the war and died 25-09-1970, aged 85, in Spynie Hospital, Elgin, Moray, Scotland. When the Norwegian Royal Family made their official return, in June of that year, the Allies presented the car to them. It was made an official parade vehicle and remained in the Royal Garage until 1963. It was the acquired by a member of the Norwegian Royal Guard who lovingly maintained the car until it was sold to a U.S. collector in the late 1970’s.
Von Falkenhorst here with Finnish General Hjalmar Siilasvuo
was dismissed from his command on 18-12-1944. The invasion of Denmark lasted less than six hours and was the shortest military campaign conducted by the Germans during the war. The rapid Danish capitulation resulted in the uniquely lenient occupation of Denmark, particularly until the summer of 1943, and in postponing the arrest and deportation of Danish Jews until nearly all of them were warned and on their way to refuse in Sweden. Von Falkenhorst here with finnish Marshal Mannerheim
In the end, 477 Danish Jews were deported, and 70 of them lost their lives, out of a pre-war total of Jews and half-Jews at a little over 8.000. A few Danish troops engaged the German army, suffering losses of 16 dead and 20 wounded. The Germans lost 203 soldiers, together with 12 armoured cars and several motorcycles and cars destroyed. Four German tanks were damaged. One German bomber was also damaged. Two German soldiers were temporarily captured by the Danes during the brief fighting. Sweden’s and Finland’s trade was totally controlled by the Kriegsmarine. As a consequence, Germany put pressure on neutral Sweden to permit transit of military goods and soldiers on leave. On 18-06-1940, an agreement was reached. Soldiers were to travel unarmed and not be part of unit movements. A total of 2.14 million German soldiers, and more than 100.000 German military railway carriages, crossed Sweden until this traffic was officially suspended on 20-08-1943. Von Falkenhorst was dismissed from his command on 18-12-1944, for opposing certain radical policies of Gauleiter Josef Terboven
, and the Nazi Reichs Commissioner of German-occupied Norway. Von Falkenhorst was transferred to the Führer Reserve, but no other assignment ever came. Terboven’s wife Ilse Stahl killed their daughter Inga by strangle her in bed. Ilse was the former secretary of Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler was the best man when Josef Terboven married Ilse Stahl in Essen in 1934.
On the same evening as he took his own life, he said the following to Chief Reimer at Skaugum: “If you come to Germany and meet my family by chance, please greet me wife. ” Ilse died in 1972.
With the announcement of Germany’s surrender, Rediess committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 08-05-1945 shot in his bedroom during the night 7th May. Terboven orders that the door should be locked. Terboven later gives orders to his guard commander, Friedrich Barthel, to carry the body of Rediess into a bunker in the garden. Josef Terboven himselfcommitted suicide by detonating 50 kg of dynamite in a bunker on the Skaugum compound. He died, age 46, alongside the body of SS Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Rediess
, here on the right with Mannerheim and Terboven, age 44, SS and Police Leader and commander of all SS troops in Norway, who had shot himself earlier. When police arrived in Skaugum on 09-05-1945, 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 in his bunker Skaugum.
After the war, Falkenhorst was tried by a joint British-Norwegian military tribunal for violating the rules of war. He had passed on the Führerbefehl known as the Commando Order which required captured saboteurs to be shot and was therefore convicted and sentenced to death in 1946. The sentence was later commuted to twenty years’ imprisonment. High decorated Falkenhorst was released from Werl prison on 23-07-1953, due to bad health.
Death and burial ground of Falkenhorst, Nikolaus von.
Von Falkenhorst took up residence in the small Weser town of Holzminden and lived there in complete seclusion, without appearing in public in any way and without speaking or writing. He still lived for 15 years and died in Holzminden on 18-06-1968, at the old age of 83. His daughter Harriet (1909-1995), was married to Generalmajor der Infanterie, Kommandeur Wehrmacht Operaties Staff, Erich Dethleffsen . Von Falkenhorst is buried with his wife Magarethe, born Ulrich, who died age 84, on 19-10-1959, on the Stadtfriedhof of Holzminden.