23 October 1945 – Vidkum Quisling
Vidkum (or Vidkun) Abraham Lauritz Jonsson Quisling (phew) was a Norwegian head of state who’d been installed by the Third Reich. He was executed for his activities on this day in 1945 after he was found guilty of treason, chiefly due to his collaboration with the Nazis during World War II.
A politician in the run-up to the war, he led the Fascist Party in Norway and encouraged the country to embrace Hitler when the Germans descended on Norway. Talk about backing the wrong horse.
The country put up a fight but they were soon occupied, but resistance was high and when the Nazis fell from power post-war, Norway wasted no time in putting their experiences and suffering to good use by becoming a founding member of NATO.
Quisling, on the other hand, did not have such a rosy future. He was found guilty of war crimes and of treason and was executed by firing squad on this day in 1945, aged 58.
But get this. During our research for this piece we happened upon a gem of information dredged up by George Duncan in his ‘lesser known facts about World War II’. During the war, many children were born to Norwegian mums who’d fallen for Nazi storm troopers as part of a programme known as ‘Lebensborn’.
While most were ostracised by society after the war, one child of particular note managed to turn her life around after she was taken in by neighbouring Swedes. Her name was Anni-Frid Lyngstad, but you may know her better as Frida (the brunette) from ABBA.