Monday, July 4, 2011

Copenhagen: Museum of Danish Resistance WWII; and the Danish Jewish Museum, Artifacts

 Danish Resistance Museum
Museum of Danish Resistance, Copenhagen


Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen

 1.  The Museum of Danish Resistance, Copenhagen.

Copenhagen presents the Nazi-WWII-Holocaust experience as to that country effectively.  The sites are manageable in size, and focused.  In Germany, the concentration camp settings are so large, and the quantity of photos and films and other documentation so overwhelming, as to become numbing.  We consider these photos from the Resistance Museum to be fair use of a totality. Let us know, Museum, if you object to us highlighting your work this way.

Nazis occupied Denmark from 1940-1945. Members of the Danish Resistance were executed with few exceptions, when discovered.  The Grand Hall at the museum shows a stained glass window area, nondenominational, with the last letters of many of them on exhibit, as to those who had jail time and writing materials - few did.

Hangings, apparently not of Danish Resistance members WWII. but Russian Resistance members being hanged in Minsk,  See comment

My notes could have been wrong. Someone please check at the museum? Thanks.

a.  Ryvangen (off site)

Killing the Resistance also took place by means of mass shootings largely at Ryvang, Tuborg, with burials hastily arranged and a memorial since erected.  See 
This site cites over a hundred.  See
 Is that an accounting of the hangings and other murders?

But that cannot include the 200 bodies found buried at Ryvangen, however, that 200 according to the museum exhibit itself. 

Ryvangen, from Museum of Danish Resistance, Copenhagen, burials of resistance workers executed or who otherwise died there.

The names of many are known only because someone wrote a list and inserted it as a cylinder into a little bottle.  The numbered markers are for particular graves, scraped into the ground.

Museum of Danish Resistance, Copenhagen. List of killed resistance workers and grave markers, Ryvangen

b. Resistance activities

Resistance included, as elsewhere, homemade bombs, industrial and personnel sabotage, communications, and in October 1943, organizing the saving of hundreds of Jews by arranging the smuggling of them to Sweden.  See Gilleleje and its fishing boats.  These steps had not been needed at the outset.  The Danes knew they could not prevail over a German military invasion through the Schleswig Holstein area at Jutland, or by water or air so close; so accepted broadly the German control of media and other matters.  Daily life was not that much changed.  See  Then it was: curfews, outlawing the communist party,
c. Communications

During the 1930's, Jews in Germany had been forced into second-class citizenship, and measures taken to force them to leave, first voluntarily because their property and rights had been taken, and then forcibly by deportation; then the policy turned to extermination.  

d. Saving the Jews.

History in Denmark:

Denmark had invited educated, financier and merchants Jewish persons to settle, and by 1619 there was a thriving community at Fredericia.  The Danish government protected the Jewish population in WWII as long as its government still functioned independently. However, the Germans launched an anti-Jewish campaign in October 1943.  The German Reich Commissioner for Occupied Denmark, Werner Best, approved, as did Hitler; see Werner Best, who had been the Senior Security Police and SS leader before becoming Reich Commissioner at the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team site, Best's motives for acting at that particular time, after several years of Occupation, are not clear. Also read about the Danish Resistance Movement at that site,

The German Leak

It was a member of the German legation who leaked the plans, enabling the mass rescue.

The Rescue

Over 7,000 Jews escaped arrest, with citizens and members of the Resistance.  However, another 481 Jews were caught, and sent to Theresienstadt in the now Czech Republic, see Fifty two died, whether there or after transport elsewhere, is not told.  The story of  Danish Jews during the War is also told at the Holocaust Research Project site,

e.  Holocaust, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, elsewhere

disease, hunger, fatigue.  Museum of Danish Resistance, Copenhagen

f.  Denmark's Internment Camp - Not labor, not extermination

There was an internment camp for political prisoners, Danish government workers, officials, high profile persons, even from the Resistance where a killing would be risky to the Nazis, and (is this so?) including some Danes who collaborated and who sought protection against the Resistance (how did they fare there?).  

So long as Denmark cooperated in the Occupation, these lived without forced labor but with the guard towers, and in barracks, but with food and conditions that were tolerable and not geared to kill them.  See Froslev, on Jutland. There, a fence separated the German guards' area from the prisoners' barracks; and only those who caused trouble were threatened with or actually transported to the concentration and extermination camps in Poland and elsewhere.

g.  How did it start

Summary from exhibit:

National Socialism began with a humiliated and angry Germany after defeat in WWI. An economic crisis arose in the 1930's, and Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) offered security, reconstruction, revival and dignity through his militaristic organization, buttressed with street violence. See  He improved upon the poor use of propaganda during WWI, learned from it, and rode it to Holocaust and WWII.  His tactics have by now become part of politics and commerce in our country, is that so?

Political opponents were persecuted, killed. For that he needed a scapegoat group to blame for Germany's ills:  He chose the Jews.

In 1933, Hitler was made Reich Chancellor of Germany, even though the National Socialist party presented itself as against parliamentary forms of government. From that position, he began to abolish civil rights and instigate terror programs to silence opponents.  His party legislated without even the pretext of democratic processes.  It was a "Fuhrer-State" according to the exhibit at the Resistance Museum on Nazism, and there was no legal framework provided or apparently needed.  Struggle, said Hitler, and that is life, that is the doctrine. The strong shall dominate and shall eliminate the weak.  See museum exhibit, fair use portion to show how very clear the progression is in the exhibit.  This is easier to grasp than so many bigger, fancier exhibits in Germany:

2.  The Danish Jewish Museum

This museum presents artifacts, history, a reading room, shop, and the logo "Mitzvah", for good deed, at the front door and elsewhere.  See The letters themselves are the framework for the walking areas within the museum. As in Berlin's holocaust museum, there are few right angles, slants everywhere, a feeling of disorientation intended and resulting in many places. See also

That is the crux.  Resistance skills can be easily learned - just find a teacher and willing student.  The issue is whether the resistance is aimed at a common good so that an individual can thrive at others' expense; or whether the resistance is aimed at those truly exploiting others, carrying their banner.  Any nation can have its covert and overt resistance ideology, see some of ours at ; or
Without concentrated, neutral, all sides education, information becomes propaganda. To let the bullies, the disaffected, otherwise unsuccessful at positive contribution, who take pleasure in coercing others, take charge, defeats everyone.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The photo is not of Danish resistance members being hanged. These are Russian resistance
members being hanged in Minsk. It is a well-known photo and surprised the museum misidentifies it.