Axel Heiberg Stang (21 February 1904 – 11 November 1974) was a Norwegian landowner and forester who served as councillor of state in the Nasjonal Samling government of Vidkun Quisling, and later as minister.
Early life and career
Born in Kristiania into two of Norway's most wealthy and politically influential families with large estates. His father Ole A. Stang was a businessman and landowner, while his mother Emma Heiberg was Queen Mauds most trusted confidante and mistress. His brother was Thomas Stang, and thus brother-in-law to actress Wenche Foss and uncle to the former mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang.
Stang first joined the Nasjonal Samling (NS) in 1933 and served as district leader in Glåmdal, although he was largely a minor figure before World War II. After the invasion of Norway in April 1940 he was put in joint charge of the NS political staff with Ragnar Skancke. The Germans thought it wise to include him due to his family's close ties to the royal court and recommended that he be a part of the new government despite his lack of experience and commitment. In September he was appointed to Vidkun Quisling's collaborationist government as Minister of Labour and Sports, a heavily ideological department. In this role he passed a law making service in the Arbeidstjenesten (modeled after the German Reichsarbeitsdienst) compulsory in 1941. He also made service of all children in the "NSUF" (modeled after the Hitlerjugend) compulsory, this proved a disaster as it infuriated the population and was later scrapped altogether. Also his attempts to force all sports club to join the Nasjonal Samling Sports Organisation proved a failure, leading to an almost total boycott of organised sport for the duration of the occupation. Whilst continuing as a minister he also enrolled in the SS Division Nordland and won the Iron Cross Second Class after seeing action in the Balkans. He also served 8 weeks at the eastern front in Finland during the summer of 1941.
He was generally considered to be moderate and amicable among contemporaries, but unable to resist neither his German advisors nor the Norwegian hardliners in the government.
After the war, in 1946, he was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in collaboration, which was subsequently commuted to 20 years of hard labour. At his appeal to the supreme court, a minority of 3 judges voted for the death penalty, among them his own cousin, Emil Stang. He received a full pardon in 1956 and retired to his estate at Rømskog, where he remained until his death.
- ^ a b c d "Stang, Axel Heiberg" (in Norwegian). NorgesLexi.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- ^ a b Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, 1990, p. 372
- ^ David Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 19
- ^ Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, p. 24
- ^ Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, p. 35
- ^ Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, pp. 27-8
- ^ Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right, p. 373