Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frydenholm by Hans Scherfig

WW2 in Denmark from communistic POV

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a fine read. It tells the tale of the German occupation of Denmark during WW2, seen from the perspective of a young communist. The book draws a picture of the Danish population as far more colleborative and sympathetic with the nazis then was generally accepted as historical truth in 1962 when the book was first published. The last 20 years historians have painted a far more nuanced picture of the Danish role during WW2, where it is acknowledged that the a large part of the Danish population actually were supporting Germany during WW2. Thus the book must have appeared much more controversial when it was first published in 1962. A red thread running through this account is the authors indignation with fact that the Danish government actually organised an imprisonment of the Danish communists during the war. Time and time again it is pointed out that this imprisonment was illegal according to the Danish constitution. The biggest crooks in Denmark, during WW2, according to the author, is thus the Danish judges! With sarcasm the writer is recounting how nobody in the Danish society came to support the Danish communists when they were subject to this imprisonment in conflict with the Danish constitution. The Danish government on the other hand said that it imprisoned the Danish communists to protect them against imprisonment by the Germans, which would have been far worse. The Danish government gave solemn gaurantees that the communists would not be surrendered to the Germans. But this promise was broken 29. August 1943 when the Germans occupied the Danish concentration camp where the communists were being held (23 Danish people were shot by the Germans on this day!). Later the communists were sent to the German concentration camp Stutthof in Germany. Of the about 150 communists sent to Stutthof, 21 perished in Stutthof, and some more perished later as an effect of the time in Stutthof. The best part of the book is the description of the Danish internment of the communists, the time in Danish prison and especially the stay in the Danish concentration camp Horserød in Northern Zealand. The author was himself one of the detained communists.

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