Everyday life in Elsinore continued for the first three years almost normally.
|Everyday life in Elsinore continued for the first three years almost normally.
But the blackout, the ice winters, the lack of goods and the many rationings gradually made life more difficult. But the lights from Helsingborg were a gleam in the dark.
The Germans required a blackout already that the same evening at 7 PM. A demand that was hard to meet with such short notice in Elsinore.
In Helsingborg the Swedish authorities also required that lights were put out, but on May 24th they chose to let the lights shine again. In an almost religious manner the shining Scanian coast became a symbol of freedom for the entire northeastern part of the Sound region.
The blackout and the subsequent oppressive atmosphere in everyday life, was the thing the Elsinore citizens complained most about as the war progressed. Gradually it became a tradition to defy the blackout demand and exchange bonfire greetings between Elsinore and Helsingborg.
The blackout was also the first thing that the population lifted themselves on the evening of May 4th. The blackout curtains were removed and candles were put in the windows. A tradition, which has lasted for many years in Denmark on the anniversary of the Liberation. But now it has almost disappeared.
But the nationally known “national anthem” of Elsinore still remains: Henry Karlsen´s “Kronborg Waltz, where one the well known lines related the atmosphere: “Soon they will put on the lights in Helsingborg, they are like a thousand stars...
The Lights in Helsingborg
Office Party at Christmas
Shortage of Goods and Rations
With the occupation normal trade with the outside world was restricted. The few goods, which did arrive, had to be distributed and soon a number of goods disappeared from the shelves in the shops and other goods were rationed. There was a distinction between official rations and private rations, where it was left to the private shopkeepers to distribute to the customers via buying cards. In Elsinore the butcher shops introduced two “meatless” days a week in 1943, because of the lack of goods.
When it was rumoured that the shops had goods, long queues formed in front of the shops. The private distribution often demanded that you had a good relationship to your tobacconist!
The tough ice winters in the war years was a further strain on the population. Even before the occupation there was lack of coal, and an extensive peat production took place all over Denmark. If nothing else it became a great job creation programme. All in all the resourcefulness was great, when people tried to heat up the living room and the kitchen. For instance Alfred Christiansen in Elsinore constructed a newspaper briquette press, where old wet newspapers were transformed into heat rendering briquettes in the stove or the kitchen range.
The chimneysweepers had a field day, because the many forms of emergency fuel brought with it a lot of tarry soot in the chimneys.
The petrol quickly ran out and most people chose to chock up the car. The number of registered vehicles fell from 3150 to 562 in the beginning of January 1943. However, doctors, midwives, nurses and so on could still get a limited amount of petrol. For the trade and the industries the gas generator became the alternative.
The gas generator worked with solid fuel, and beech wood logs were the best. In Elsinore it was the Elsinore Motor Co., who was the first to deliver and in July 1940 52 gas cars had been given a permission in Elsinore. However, it never worked that good. It was tiresome, dirty and toxic and there were innumerable engine problems. Other chose, literally, to use horsepower by harnessing a couple of horses to the vehicle.
Another effect of the lack of goods was an extensive industry of substitute goods, where only the imagination and – honesty – was the limit. Substitute coffee and substitute tobacco with exotic names, which covered for a dubious mix of mysterious substitute goods, took over. Some goods were still rationed in the 1950´s.
One paradox was that the taste of for instance the coffee substitutes products, “Rich´s” and “Danmark” became so addictive that many people kept using them long after the ration had ended. “Rich´s” as well as “Danmark” existed long before the occupation, but during and after the occupation they became large businesses with many employees.
After the liberation, where the rations continued in Denmark, the shops in Helsingborg, Landskrona and Malmo became an El Dorado for the population in Copenhagen and North Zealand.
Livet går videre: The Mothers´- and Children Welfare in Elsinore (GB)
As early as the beginning of the century many women were employed in industry and elsewhere. The fishnet factory in Grønnehave, the two textile factories in the old railway station area and Wiibroe´s Brewery, employed many women. From this came a need for childcare facilities, which grew, when the Tretorn factory and the existing childcare institutions, for instance the Chrildren´s Asylum in Stengade, could not meet the demand.
The municipality could not afford to expand the childcare facilities, but the new law on mothers´- and children welfare (1939), made it possible to start activities, which could meet a great part of the growing demand. King Peder and 2 others called a meeting in 1941 in order to form a local
branch of The Mothers´- and Children Welfare and in August 1942 a day nursery for 35 children from 0-3 years was opened. The nursery rented rooms at the old railway station (Trækbanen) in town.
Swedish Customs Are Imported to Denmark
Swedish Customs Are Imported to Denmark
The magical light from Sweden and the need to escape from the restriction ridden everyday in Denmark, became the start of the national encounter with “The Blue Wall”, the separation between the two countries, which the Sound had constituted since 1660.
Now Sweden became a symbol of freedom. Everything Swedish was good. Swedish films, Swedish singers/actors, literature and Swedish customs. One example is the Swedish Lucia tradition, which was not known in Denmark earlier. The custom came to Sweden in the 18th century via German workmen´s Christmas tradition from the Rhine, where a girl, dressed in white and with lights in her hair, walked around handing out sweets. In western Sweden they had the traditional “lusse night”, in connection with the long night between December 12th and 13th, where they entered the stables and fed the animals a treat. Those two traditions were merged to the tradition we know today on both sides of the Sound, where a lucia bride is leading a row of singing girls dressed in white with candles in their hands.
Swedish Cultural Export to Denmark
|Small||Large||Swedish culture export to Denmark
|Large||Jag har bott vid en landsväg
Germans´ Hussies/Field Mattresses
In Elsinore, like in many other towns it angered the population that many Danish girls/women fraternized with the German soldiers. The anger often occasioned violent acts against these “field mattresses” as they were scornfully called.
One popular pastime was to cut their hair off. On September 16th 1940 30-40 young people from the Elsinore Technical School at 9 PM attacked some Danish girls, who had been seen in the company of Germans soldiers, and cut off their hair. The Danish authorities interfered and fined the young apprentices.
No Police Force
On September 19th 1944 the Germans arrested the entire Danish police force and took 1700 of them to the concentration camp, Neuengamme, in Germany. An act, which led to extensive walkouts all over the country.
The crime rate in Elsinore, which beforehand had risen heavily, rose further and the municipality introduced municipal security guards. However, it did not restrain the many violations of the law.