Jens Breivik, father of mass murdering terrorist Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, is to publish a book later this year questioning his role in the atrocity. His publisher described him as a “stricken man” and one whose “life is now shattered”, The Local has reported.
The book, titled Min skyld? (My fault?), is in part an attempt by Breivik the elder to reconcile himself with the events of that day to portray himself publicly in a more human light.
Jens Breivik has been subject to heavy criticism since the massacre, labelled “cold”, “tyrannical” and “absent”, with many pointing to his absence during his son’s childhood as a key factor when seeking to explain the son’s actions. He now lives in France, and has only visited Norway once since the Utoya massacre.
Speaking to the Norwegian News Agency (NTB), the publisher Arve Juritzen explained how Breivik had initially struggled to find a publisher, adding “The original script was something that we didn’t wish to publish, but we had a meeting with Jens Breivik and believed there were grounds for publishing a completely different kind of book.” The current script has been compiled by a ghostwriter working closely with Breivik over the last 18 months.
In the interview Juritzen appeared sympathetic to Breivik, describing him as a “warm grandfather figure” and a “silent, reflective man”, but also as “a stricken man and one who has got his share of beatings”. However, he explained that the intention of the book was not to defend Breivik, but that it is “an attack on himself and his own efforts as a father”.
His efforts may backfire. Anders Behring Breivik’s mother, Wenche Behring Breivik, was last year portrayed in a book by writer Marit Christiensen titled Moren (The Mother), but it was roundly criticised and accused of multiple ethical and factual errors.
Anders Behring Breivik gained worldwide notoriety as the perpetrator of a terrorist attack on 22nd July 2011, in which he bombed a government building in Oslo killing eight, and then shot 69 more, mostly teenagers, at a Workers’ Youth League camp on the island of Utoya.
His actions were designed to raise awareness of a far-right manifesto that he had compiled. Oslo District Court found him to be sane, and sentenced him to 21 years in prison with an extension if he is deemed to be a danger to society, which is the longest permitted sentence under Norwegian law. He is not expected to be released during his lifetime.
Min skyld? will be released in October, published by Juritzen Forlag. It is not known whether Anders Behring Breivik knows about the book; he will not be able to read the script before it is published.