On the trail of Vidkun Quisling

Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling

IN THE last months of his life, Norwegian dictator Vidkun Quisling was confined to a small district above the capital Oslo.

The once mighty politician who nominally headed the government of Norway after the country was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II , was put on trial during the legal purge in Norway after the conflict: he was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state.

His trial was held in a court house, which nowadays serves as a popular wedding reception venue and he was imprisoned – and later shot – at the Akershus Fortress which is just around the corner.

War Life has been to Oslo on the trail of Quisling, and finds that hardly anything has changed at the locations where he was convicted and stood against a wall and shot…

The trail of Quisling took place at the Gamle Logan. Throughout history, this place, which in English means ‘The Old Log’ has been a focal point for small and big events.
The trail of Quisling took place inside this building – known as:  ‘The Old Log’ – it has been a focal point for small and big events for many years. (War Life Photo)

The trial of Quisling took place at the Gamle Logan.

Throughout history, this place, which in English means ‘The Old Log’ has been a focal point for small and big events.

Even as War Life visited, thestaff were preparing for a wedding dinner.

Today, the building boasts modern facilities which are united with old style and historic elegance.

But, it is in the main ballroom that the features remain unchanged after 70-years – this was the very room where Vidkin Qusling went on trail and fought for his life.

He was sat in a makeshift dock at the top left-hand corner of the room – as you can see from our photo, nothing has changed.

The trial opened in this room on 20 August 1945. Vidkun Quisling's defence rested on downplaying his unity with Germany and stressing that he had fought for total independence, something that seemed completely contrary to the recollections of many Norwegians
The trial opened in this room on 20 August 1945. Vidkun Quisling’s defence rested on downplaying his unity with Germany and stressing that he had fought for total independence, something that seemed completely contrary to the recollections of many Norwegians

The trial opened on 20 August 1945.

Quisling’s defence rested on downplaying his unity with Germany and stressing that he had fought for total independence, something that seemed completely contrary to the recollections of many Norwegians.

Judges, seated on the stage area at the Gamle Logen, during the Quisling trial.
Judges, seated on the stage area at the Gamle Logen, during the Quisling trial.

After giving testimony in a number of other trials of Nasjonal Samling members, Quisling was executed by firing squad against the wall pictured below at the Akershus Fortress at 02:40 on 24 October 1945.

Quisling was executed by firing squad against this wall. (Photo: Nathan Morley / War Life)
Quisling was executed by firing squad against this wall. (Photo: Nathan Morley / War Life)

The execution was described in detail in the book “Quisling: Prophet without honour” by Ralph Hewins:

He asked to be allowed to shake hands with the ten-man firing-squad. This was agreed. ‘Don’t allow your conscience to trouble you in later years,’ he said to the boys.

‘Not on my account. You are acting under orders and are only doing your duty as soldiers, like myself.’

His request to face the firing-squad un-blindfolded was refused. As they bound him to the stake, he played his last trick.

While being fixed to his cardboard outline on the stake, he brought his mathematical mind to bear and balanced his body like a statue so that it would remain standing when he was dead.

So it worked out, after six or seven bullets had struck his heart. He seemed to be still alive when the thongs were undone and the bandage was removed from his staring eyes.

The onlookers were aghast. Then his corpse was taken down to the Mollergaten 19 garage and put on view for all and sundry. Many ‘good Norwegians’ came to see that the prototype ‘quisling’ was really dead. For their benefit the covering was thrown back.

People prodded the body and made ribald remarks. Even in the grave the decencies were not observed.

When his ashes were returned to his widow many years later, and interred beside his beloved mother at Gjerpen in his native Telemark, his last resting-place was defiled.

Oslo, the view from near the spot Quisling was executed.
Oslo, the view from near the spot Quisling was executed.
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