Skaugum


When the Germans invaded Norway in April 1940, the leader of the Nasjonal Collection and also the Nazi sympathizer, Vidkun Quisling, tried to form a government strong enough to take over the leadership of Norway. But Quisling did not have the necessary support, so Hitler appointed Josef Terboven as the national commissioner for occupied Norway at the end of April 1940. Terboven immediately took measures to strengthen the Germans’ control of Norway and Quisling had to settle for an insignificant post as minister-president.

Terboven had served in the First World War and studied law and political science after the war. He came into contact with nationalist political groupings and ended up in the Nazi party.In 1928 Hitler appointed Terboven as Gauleiter (highest political leader) in the district of Essen. In 1935, he was appointed president of the Rhine province and came to make a name for himself as a feared and brutal leader, characteristics that made Hitler see him as suitable to suppress the unruly Norwegians. Although it was Quisling and his cabinet that officially held power in Norway, it was Terboven who had real power. Only the army was outside his control.

Terboven was ultimately responsible for the crimes against civilians perpetrated by the Germans in Norway. During Terboven’s time as a national commissar, Skaugum farm in Asker, just south of Oslo, served as his private residence. His official residence was the parliament in Oslo. Terboven also held invitations in Skaugum for prominent German leaders in Norway and the chief SS chief Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Rediess in Norway for a service residence in Skaugum. In 1944, Terboven built a protective bunker behind Skaugum.

As the end of the war approached, the world of Terbov fell apart. He was since 1923 a dedicated Nazi who could not imagine a world and future without Nazism and Hitler. Terboven was also fully aware of what he was guilty of during his years in Norway and that he thereby risked the death penalty after the war. To avoid justice, he blew himself up in the bunker at Skaugum on May 8, 1945. The same day Rediess had also committed suicide on Skaugum and his body was put in the same room in the bunker where Terboven blew himself up. Both bodies were heavily destroyed in the explosion but could still be identified.

Current status: Preserved (2017).

Location: 59° 51'14 N, 10° 26'35 E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Skaugum is (2017) the home of the Norwegian crown prince Haakon and his wife Mette-Marit and thus closed to visitors. To keep unauthorized persons away from the farm, it is surrounded by high fences and guarded around the clock by the Royal Guard of His Majesty. As a visitor you can only walk on the outside of the yard but because of the bushes and trees it is difficult to get a glimpse of the house and the guards do not like to photograph. But it is possible to find certain locations, albeit not optimal, where the house turns out and out of sight of the guards.

Regarding the bunker that Terboven committed suicide in, it is known to me left and is located in the woods behind Skaugum. It was partially or completely underground and to the surface it was quite large and measured about 175 meters from east to west. It consisted of several rooms for various purposes and the idea was enough that the inhabitants could stay in the bunker for a long time if necessary. To my knowledge, it should remain in relatively good condition and some of the three entrances that existed should be visible. However, it is within a security area that makes it difficult (or impossible) to get a glimpse of it.

Follow up in books: Greene, Jack, Massignani, Alessandro: Hitler Strikes North: The Nazi Invasion of Norway & Denmark, April 9, 1940 (2013).