Hi Mette: You have such good reason to be proud of your grandfather. I have studied the Shoah (Holocaust) most of my life. And I married a woman who is also the granddaughter of Danes. Denmark was a noble example of fighting for freedom, and as a country saving as many Jews as possible. Of course many individuals all over Europe were heros on an individual level. But it is Denmark that stands out as an entire nation fighting for what is good and right. When the Jews of Denmark were forced by the Nazis to wear the yellow Star of David to indicate that they were Jews (and thus targets), the King then sewed a Star of David on his clothes too, stating that in Denmark “all are Jews.” What a great man. What a great people. What a great nation! How I love the people of Danmark (Denmark).
I’m married to a Danish-American. They are lovely, peaceful people–until someone tries to push them around–then watch out!!!!They will not knuckle under or give up their ideals. Love them!!!!!! I am glad you have this as your family history.
This photo is so full of sophistication despite being taken in one of the longest most gruesome wars. Incredible. I also love how the 2 gentlemen on the right are displaying their revolvers. It’s so old school.
This is one the best vintage photos I’ve ever seen. I mean, not just visually the best considering the fact that it’s vintage. But also, the great honor these men have. I mean, they are heroes and deserves to be remembered for ever :)
That’s what you get,
That’s what you get,
And after all this time
I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes
Do not make the man
All we have to do now is take these lies
And make them true somehow
All we have to see is that i don’t belong to you
And you don’t belong to me yea yea
You’ve got to give for what you take
You’ve got to give for what you take
Yea you’ve got to give for what you, give for what you give.
GEORGE MICHAEL FREEDOM 90
DESDES SEVILLA (ESPAĂ‘A), CON AMOR
I love this photograph for so many reasons and I will always LOVE the guts and bravery of these kind of guys. Feel sure that elegance was the last thing on their minds so it must have been a god given gift and WOW!
This is my favorite vintage photo. I love gear! Pockets, tabs, belts, grommets, rivets, etc. But most of all I love the spirit I see here. Your grandfather must have been a courageous and remarkable person. Thank you so much for posting this!
I like the picture too, the clothes and the atmosphere. Everyone of them hopefully made a difference in a bad period of European history. Stylish clothes.
David H. writes: “But it is Denmark that stands out as an entire nation fighting for what is good and right.”
Without judging about good and bad, I do not know if Denmark was the good example. Until 1940 the Danes had sent German jews back like most countries had done (as the Danish jew Vilhjalmur Ă–rn Vilhjarmursson has pointed out).
In 1940 Denmark surrendered after 2 hours of fighting. During the years that followed the government in Copenhagen collaborated with nazi-Germany. E.g. each year of the war, Denmark delivered more than one month’s food supply to Germany (according to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself).
At one moment, the Danish prime minister even announced actions against Danish freedom fighters (speech known as “stikkertale”) and against all those, that would oppose to the German military forces.
Denmark was even kind of a riviera for German soldiers. They called it the “butter front”. There was no fighting and plenty of food. The resistance was not a threat to the German military, but it did a good job by taking “care” of the Danish collaborators, convinced nazis etc. and thus made a difference.
The “good” thing about the Danish collaboration was that the government and king remained in Copenhagen and thus were able to protect the own population, including the own Danish (not German) Jewish population.
The good thing is, that Danish officials saved 7000 Danish jews when the highest German official in 1943 announced very loud and clear that the jews would be taken to the camps.
But David H, other European countries had chosen to fight nazi-Germany in 1940. These countries lost, their governments fled to London, and these populations – including the Jews, the gipsies, the disabled etc. – were left in the hands of the bad nazis. These countries did not have their own high officials that could act on their own when the Germans decided to take care of the Jews, the gipsies etc to the camps. Also, in these other countries it was never announced loud and clear that the Jews were being taken to the camps. Municipalities had to make lists of Jews and that was just the first in a series of measures that never took place in Denmark.
Ironically, the Danish collaboration with nazi-Germany saved the Jewish population. And yes, the Danish officials acted immediately. But I doubt the Danish collaboration can be seen as a good example, even if it saved 7000 people.
Anyway, despite the collaboration, the Danes were not in favour of Germany during the war. Which this picture of freedom fighters points out. Thanks for sharing, Mette.
There’s a wonderful book — Rescue in Denmark — about the heroic efforts of freedom fighters and sabateurs like your grandfather and the others in this picture. It highlights the many, many efforts of ordinary Danes to hide their Jewish countrymen and help them escape to Sweden, and later to resist the German occupation. It’s now out of print, sadly, but available via Amazon.
They are very lightly armed; of the six of them only two have submachine guns and one (second from left) has the actual machine gun capable of punching holes in walls or vehicles. Three only have revolvers.
They would not be able to match the firepower of a equivalent number of enemy armed with at least rifles and grenades, so I suggest that they would have only been successful at urban ambush, and not at any assaulting of buildings, etc.
More details please, good pic of the boys. I hope they all made it through.
My 7th and 8th grade Math teacher at Hopkins Grammar School in New HAven GT. during the mid 1960s was named Ib Jorgensen. He told of this group and I believe he participated in some similar activities. I recall he used to do a lot of stuffing potatoes up Nazi staff car exhaust pipes. He was a good man and a great teacher. We were in complete awe of him.