Thousands of years ago, the Asgardians came upon the Tesseract during Odin's rule and, at which point, was locked within Odin's Vault. After being brought by Odin to Earth, the Tesseract was locked up within the Tower as the legend of the Tesseract's power was spread throughout the world. Years later, Johann Schmidt sought out the Tesseract in order to use its power against the Allies and win the war.
Eventually, in 1942, Schmidt managed to locate the Tesseract at the tower in Tønsberg, leading his armies to claim the artifact. Raiding the tower, Schmidt ordered his men to destroy the tower's doors, killing Jan on his way inside. Schmidt confronted the Church Keeper as his men tried to open the ancient tomb in the center of the church. Schmidt managed to push the tomb open, only to find a fake Tesseract. Dismayed at first, Schmidt destroyed the fake Tesseract and walked towards a stone mural of Yggdrasil on one of the tower's walls. Finding a secret button, Schmidt was able to find the real Tesseract and killed the Church Keeper. During his exit, Schmidt ordered that the tower be destroyed and to kill the rest of the villagers.
Attacked by Red Skull
In Captain Carter's universe, Schmidt raided the tower in order to find the Tesseract and noticed a mural of the Champion of HYDRA. After finding the box containing the real Tesseract, his men killed the Church Keeper as the tower was destroyed.