Fredrik Jensen became the most decorated Norwegian in German service after joining Nazi Germany’s Waffen SS — the armed-forces wing of the sadistic SS, or shutzstaffel, Hitler’s loyal legion — in the half year after the dictator’s April 1940 invasion of Norway. Jensen joined Norway’s fascist party prior to war with Germany.
Jensen died in July 2011 at 90, having survived five war wounds, a two-year stay in an American prison camp and a few weeks of prison upon his return to Norway from US custody. His last wish was to clear his name of treason.
A Norwegian appeals commission turned down his daughter’s attempt to re-open the treason judgment but recommended she take it to Oslo district court. The Jensen family lawyer, Erling Mehus, is aiming to use the surrender terms of 1940 to overturn the treason ruling and to argue, in a way, that Jensen was a “non-combatant”.
“According to the capitulation treaty agreed on June 10th 1940 with Germany, Norway was no longer at war when (Jensen) a half year later joined the Waffen SS,” Mehus told newspaper Dagbladet.
He said his partially served 120-day sentence in 1948 was for serving on the “wrong side”.
“They didn’t do that,” said Mehus, in reference to as many as 4,000 Norwegian frontline fighters who joined the Waffen SS in the early days of World War II.
Most Norwegian fighters started up in the Nordland regiment of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and fought in Russia before being transferred in March 1943 to become the No. 2 regiment of 11th Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nordland.
By March 1943, most of the Norwegians were fighting with ethnic Germans from Hungary and Danes against Yugoslav partisans in northern Croatia. They ended the war fighting hard battles in what is today Kaliningrad and Gdansk before nearly being wiped out defending Berlin in the last death throes of the war.