Saturday, May 5, 2012

Holger Danske May 5, 1945

May 5 marks the end of the Nazi occupation of Denmark (May 5 1945). My cousin Morgens is one of the last surviving members of Holger Danske. He is in his mid 80's. Here he talks to his girl friend Winni's grandson about his memories. Lest we forget!!

Holger Danske was the leading sabotage group during the occupation of Germany and the resistance. It was a group formed by Josef Sondergaard and Jens Lillelund using the legend of Holger the Viking who represented the spirit of the Danish people. While Holger Danske was begun in Copenhagen it quickly spread to every part of the Danish countryside (Thomas). Holger Danske's acts of sabotage differed from the BOPA in that they were not as savage and better organized. At times, operations were planned months in ahead in order to avoid mess-ups. The groups of the Holger Danske were divided into small units that did not know the names of other units except for code names (Denmark Live 55). They worked closely with the SOE to gather information for London and carry out operations to stop German transportation. The Holger Danske groups performed well over 1000 operations in their existence which involved mostly railway sabotage and vehicle destruction. They are known for their destruction of the Forum on August 24, 1943. The Forum was a barracks for German soldiers. The destruction of the Forum marked the turn from passive to aggressive in resistance groups. It also caused the German government to take over the Danish government on August 29, 1943 (Werstein 5-9). This resistance group was perhaps the most effective because it gained the backing of British and the allies who supplied them with weapons and food due to their democratic allegiance. The fact that Germany never really gained the strategic advantage it wanted in Denmark and Norway can be dedicated to the Holger Danske and BOPA resistance groups and their efforts to stop German advancement at all possible places and levels.

The legend is that when Denmark is threatened, the Viking Holger Danske will rise up and save it.

1 comment:

Kelli Nørgaard said...

What a fabulous testament....

And it actually educated me a bit because Mads really wants to have his first tattoo be of Holger Danske. I never really understood "who" he was until I read this!!!