Anders Breivik’s Father Considered Suicide

As the trial of the man who killed 77 people in Norway’s worst terrorist attack starts, his father says the fallout led to him considering suicide.

Jens Breivik, 76 years old, told the Guardian:

“Constantly, I am reminded who I am. In the first few weeks, I thought seriously of taking my own life. I’ve lost the retirement I always imagined; that’s gone. I will forever be asking how a man could possibly develop such thoughts. And could I have done something?”

Jens, a former diplomat, now lives in France with his fourth wife. He has not seen his son since 1995, and they spoke on the phone once in 2005.

Anders Behring Breivik was born to Jens and his second wife, Wenche Behring, in 1979 when Jens was stationed in London. Within a year, the couple had separated.

Jens says that Wenche moved back to Oslo and prevented him from seeing his son. Wenche has never spoken publicly about her son, who was living with her in a flat last year, but is quoted in the psychological report as noticing “paranoid delusions” in Anders from 2006.

Jens married again in 1983 and was moved to Paris, but it had became clear that Anders’ mother was not doing well. Norwegian child authorities actually recommended he be moved and Jens and his new wife applied for custody. This was denied in court.

Anders would often visit, though, and Jens describes a normal childhood. In 1990, Jens returned to Oslo but his third marriage broke down and in 1995 he married for the fourth time. This led to the estrangement of his other three children and at the same time, Anders was not very accepting about his father’s concerns over his teenage rebelliousness.

That period, when Anders was 13-15 years old, is mentioned in his 1,500 page manifesto and Anders blames his father.

Says Jens:

“I tried with Anders; I really tried. I knew about teenage boys, I knew what interests them. He was always: don’t know. Don’t care.”

Jens is haunted by what his son did and the choices he made which could have had some effect. He wonders if he had made more effort to see his son after 1995 what might have been.

“But I honestly thought he was okay,” he says. “Quiet, awkward, but not … abnormal. If he didn’t want to see me, there wasn’t really much I could do. I had no leverage. And anyway, after that he seemed successful, with his own business, employees. That was good, wasn’t it?”

“Some people do feel I am guilty,” he says. “I do have feelings of shame, disgrace. Damnation. Maybe … maybe I am to blame.”

Katharine Birbalsingh is one allocating the blame to Jens. Writing for the Telegraph, she blames him for the divorce and claims this would have had a ‘long term impact’ on the then-small Anders. She cites Anders mentioning of the relationship with his father in his ‘manifesto’ and finds fault in some of Jens’ quoted reactions immediately after the massacre.

“Jens Breivik is not a bad man. Anders Breivik is. But his father’s reaction to this event is disappointing, and demonstrates a lack of humanity that should be there,” she wrote.

Others had more direct contact with Anders immediately before the massacre. One strong possibility was the right-wing blogger and frequent Fox News guest Pamela Gellar. She published a post in 2007 from a Norwegian complaining about Muslims who said he was “stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment.” Gellar’s writings make up a big portion of Anders ‘manifesto.’ As far as is known, Gellar has never been interviewed by the FBI.

Following the massacre, she joined those finding some sort of justification for it. She posted a picture of the young people gathered on the Island of Utøya, home to the Labour Party summer camp, from 24 hours before the massacre, and commented “note the faces which are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian.” She called the camp an anti-Israel “indoctrination training center.”

There were many more. Pat Buchanan wrote a column arguing that “Breivik may be right.” On his radio show, Glenn Beck said the youth camp Breivik targeted, which could be compared to the College Democrats or other mainstream political organizations, reminded him of “Hitler Youth.”

Anders’ lawyer has said he wants to call 29 witnesses, including “Fjordman,” a Norwegian right-wing blogger and influence on Breivik, as part of Anders plea of ‘self defense.’

Jens may have made bad decisions in his life, but taking Anders Breivik’s words and his manifesto at face value, we should look elsewhere than Anders father for the finger pointing to why Anders felt justified killing 77 people in cold blood.

Related stories:

Norway Mass Murderer Not “Psychotic,” Say Psychiatrists

Norway’s Government “Naive” Says Le Pen, Far-Right French Politician

Media Criticized For First Blaming Muslims For Norway Attacks

Picture by Oslo politidistrikt


janice b.
jan b5 years ago

Pat Buchanan and the Beck's of American society incite the crazies here with that kind of talk they engage in.

Mandy Harker
Mandy H5 years ago

I think it's unreasonable to be blaming the father. Making stupid decisions is one thing but having them lead to killing 77 people in cold blood is unreasonable.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner6 years ago

It's worthwhile to mention that the hundreds of poison pharm brain targeting drugs like Prozac, Ritalin, etc being peddled to the public by pharm crooks (who are usually that kind of psychopath themselves holding the job they like..harming people) are the root cause for the rise in sudden school shootings, etc. Those pharm drugs are deadly poisons which kill or drive people into psychopathic behavior

Mark Donners
Mark Donner6 years ago

Not surprised, anybody who was stuck with raising this kind of monster as a son would commit suicide. These kind of serial killing monsters are born that way, but the truly vicious ones are only a tiny percent of the population, I wouldn't mind if these types are shot through the brain when they're detected (they can be very convincing on the surface, but the chaos they're spreading deliberately can be seen) to be the vicious Hitler type of personality. There is no rehabilitation possible for evil psychopaths, death or life in a dark hole is their only option.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

When this happens why does everybody look for somebody to BLAME? Why not seek how to PREVENT this from happening AGAIN? This person went crazy. Why not find out WHAT MAKES PEOPLE GO CRAZY and STOP DOING THAT? It's TOO LATE AFTER THEY GO CRAZY AND KILL PEOPLE. What GOOD does it do to lay around wringing your hands and getting OUTRAGED? Prevent BEHAVIOR that CAUSES THIS and we won't HAVE THESE PROBLEMS. In every one of these cases of mass murder, the murderers showed signs of craziness and everybody LOOKED THE OTHER WAY and DIDN'T GET HELP FOR THE PERSON. Hitler was certifiably nuts but all the Neo-Nazis NOW are given free reign to do anything they want. Did we learn NOTHING from the HOLOCAUST? This is the return of the Third Reich around the world.

Lilithe Magdalene

Interesting. So many factors go into becoming who we are. What about his mother as well? What was she like? He still had the opportunity to be a good person and not a murderer - no matter what his parent did. Ultimately, it is his own fault.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

This is not so much about a bad childhood as choosing Hitler as a role model. This is the fault of the Catholic/Christian/Nazi regime that has been at war with Muslims for around 2,000 years.
Take the "religion" out of it and all you have is two warring tribes of barbaric homo-sapiens. Neither one will stop til they have taken down the whole world. We are all doomed.

scarlett g.
.6 years ago


Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

Who knows? Maybe his father is partially responsible, maybe he taught his son to hate, a lot of parents do. As for Breivik the son, he claims he did it because of Muslims. Then why didn't he kill Muslims? All the victims look white and Norwegian to me. Not only is he a murderer he is a liar as well! It's like what that comedian Rich Hall said about Adolf Hitler. "The more I hear about that guy is the less I like him".

Michaela C.

Why blame his father? Who blame the muslim terrorists family for what they are doing around the world every day now