Resistance and Terror
|By the end of 1942 a more organized form of resistance against the German occupying power began. E.g. sabotage against the Germans´ transport systems.
The Germans and their Danish sympathizers retaliated with extensive acts of terror and murders.
Resistance and Terror in Denmark
During the autumn of 1942 small groups came into existence, who attacked the German occupation power.
|During the autumn of 1942 small groups came into existence, who attacked the German occupation power.
In the Sound region two groupes, Kopa/Bopa and Holger Danske, firstly organized this. They were effective firghting organizations and carried out some of the biggest sabotages against the Germans and their Danish collaborators.
The Development of the Resistance
Apart from pinpricks against the Germans and their Danish camp followers (spitting and abuse) it was relatively quiet in Elsinore – as in the rest of the country in the first occupation years. But when the 109 Communists were taken from Vestre Prison to the Horserød Camp, which is only 7 kilometres west of Elsinore, it activated the local Communists.
When Eigil Larsen, the leader of the Communists in Elsinore, escaped from the Horserød Camp, an effective illegal printing of magazines were organized. The magazine “Ny Tid” became the most important illegal newspaper in North Zealand and was published throughout the occupation. Eigil Larsen was the initiator of “Ny Tid” and he found the illegal magazines very important for the resistance.
The First Train Sabotage in Denmark
The Danish Communist Party´s leader asked Eigil Larsen to organize the incipient sabotage in the Copenhagen area. This organisation was called Communist Partisans (KOPA). Eigil Larsen decided to sabotage one of the Germans´ many ammunition trains on the coast railway. Form his stay in stationmaster Engelsen´s hus in Nivå, Eigil Larsen knew the schedules and routines of the coast railway. He decided on an area in Egebæksvang Forest in Espergærde as the target for the first action. Here the trains move through a curve and by bending one of the rails it was possible, via centrifugal force, to overturn the train. At this point the organisation did not have any explosives.
Through Kristian Engelsen, Eigil Larsen came in contact with three men with the necessary physical strength and professional skills. They took care of the practical things. After a failed attempt on August 31st 1942, which was discovered by the police, the action was a success on November 6th. The coast railway was blocked for 2 1/2 days before the tracks were clear. The action caused a lot of attention and the Danish police suspected Eigil Larsen and did their best to catch him. But in vain.
The First Train Sabotage
The Sabotage Against the Coast Railway
German Railway Guard
The Escalation in 1943
In the course of 1943 the resistance in Elsinore mostly consisted of strikes in the Elsinore Shipyard and a few failed fires. The only serious sabotage action was a bombing attempt against the ship “Minden” on August 25th 1943. The bomb exploded in the hands of a 62 years old Communist saboteur. He died.
He was so badly mangled that they did not identify him until closing time. His bicycle was the only left in the bicycle rack!
When the official collaboration policy stopped in the end of August 1943 wider circles of the population were involved in the resistance. In the Elsinore area illegal escape routes to Sweden and the organisation of civilian and military waiting groups was the result.
One of the most important sabotages against the German occupation power was an efficient telephone exchange organized by Dansk Samling in Sct. Olaigade, Elsinore. For a long period of time they were able to tap into the communication to and from the Gestapo headquarters in Wisborg. The leader of this action was a German refugee.
The Gestapo Headquarter
The Military Waiting Groups
With the Russian victory in the Soviet Union in the course of 1943, the English and American landing in Sicily and the military breakdown of Italy – and the internment of the Danish military August 29th 1943, things had changed. BOPA (earlier KOPA) had intensified the sabotages and the Danish government no longer dared take the responsibility of their collaboration with the Germans. Mainly because they demanded the death penalty for the saboteurs. The government left the daily administration of Denmark to the permanent secretaries.
The Cooperation with England
The resistance movement´s connection to England was close and from here the disarmed Danish army was ordered to cooperate with BOPA. This resulted in cooperation with the newly established Danish Liberation Council, who inserted officers in a number of military town leaderships (M-groups) all over the country. Here they should participate in coordinating the cooperation between the Conservative, Social Democratic and Communist resistance and the military. They were supposed to assist the English if they invaded Denmark and establish bridgeheads for the Danish army in Sweden, The Danish Brigade, when it arrived in Denmark.
The Military Waiting Groups in Elsinore
In Elsinore it was the naval captain Jens Westrup, who should take on the difficult task of establishing cooperation between the different groups. In Elsinore these consisted of the Communists, the Social Democrats, the Conservatives, Dansk Samling and the military. It was a complicated structure, but all M-groups in Elsinore were affiliated with certain political groupings.
The Military Waiting Groups in Elsinore
The reticence of the German occupation power in Denmark changed from January 1944. Hitler called a meeting with the German leaders in Denmark on December 30th 1943. He demanded that for every killed German or pro-German helpers, five Danes were to be killed.
Organized Terror Corps
In order to make sure of this he sent R.O. Bovensiepen to Denmark in January 1944. He terrorized via the Schalburg and Hipo Corps the Danish population for the next 18 months with murder and arson. The Schalburg Corps was named after a Danish officer, who fell on the Eastern Front in 1942. He was born in Russia and had experienced the Russian Revolution. He was an ardent anti-Communist, participated actively in the Finnish Winter War and joined the SS in 1940. He lived on the North Coast in Hellebæk and the Schalburg Corps stayed in Hellebækgård, the present boarding school in Hellebæk.
The Peter Group and the Brøndum Gang
Besides the two terror corps the Germans used smaller groups of Danish and German terrorists like for instance the Peter Group, the Brøndum Gang and the Loretzen Group. The carried out more than 200 murders in Denmark.
The tasks of the terror groups were murders and terror bombings as retaliation for the resistance movement´s sabotages. Most often 3-4 members assisted in murders and more at terror bombings. The German security police´s files of anti-German Danes chose the victims of the so-called tit-for-tat murders, but many were chosen at random.
The Peter Group worked in secret. If the Danish police accosted the members, they were to say nothing and the Germans would pick them up.
Henning Brøndum and Bothilsen-Nielsen, who terrorized all over Denmark, led the Brøndum Gang.
The Brøndum Gang
The Lorentzen Gang
|Large||The Brøndum Gang takes a coffee break between interrogations
The Murder in Skotterup
In the Elsinore area a number of innocent people were murdered. The Brøndum Gang murdered the chairman of the houseowners´ association engineer Snog-Kristensen, Copenhagen. The murder took place on the beach in Skotterup in front of one of Gestapo´s residences, Villa Rosenlund in Snekkersten.
The Murder of Otto Bülow
The murder of sculptor Otto Bülow in Elsinore became the most dramatic. It was a typical tit-for-tat murder. The background was a tragic and unfortunate incident in Elsinore Shipyard. A German immigrant had been liquidated here by the resistance movement on the suspicion that he had informed on 14 Communists in Elsinore. Later it was established that this was not the case.
Immediately the Brøndum Gang arrived in Elsinore and they shot Otto Bülow in revenge. The whole town participated in the funeral of the popular and eccentric artist.
Apart from these murders the terror groups also lit fires in Gilleleje Seaside Hotel, Hulerød Seaside Hotel, and on July 27th the Hillerød train was blown up in Lillerød Station. Three were killed and fifteen were wounded. In Copenhagen and Århus the terror groups were even more violent. But it must be noted that Hitler´s demand for five murdered Danes for every German was not carried out. The resistance movement thus liquidated approximately 400 Danish camp followers, while the Germans “only” liquidated approximately 200 Danes in revenge.
Otto Bülow, 1940
The Informer Problems
(Venter på tekst)
The Disaster in Snekkersten
Informer activities meant that one of the best escape routes in Snekkersten, the Thomsen-Escape Route was uncovered because an informer had overheard a telephone call from H.C. Thomsen´s Snekkersten Inn, to where two men from “the Holger Danske Group” in Copenhagen were to arrive and recreate.
The result was that the Gestapo shot down the two men from behind, when they got off the train in Snekkersten Station and walked down the path, Grønnegangen. Immediately after Thomsen was arrested, tortured and sent to the concentration camp Neuengamme, where he died. The informer was not apprehended until after the Liberation.
In an amateur narrow-gauge film immediately before Thomsen´s arrest you get an impression of the jolly inn-owner.
A memorial stone was erected on the spot, where they fell, after the Liberation. In the newspapers of the time you can see how the Germans wanted the murders described, but also how Ritzaus handled the matter.
The Murders in Grønnegangen
Memorial stone for Thomsen
April 11th 1945 shock waves swept over Elsinore, when it was rumoured that the Germans that same morning had executed four young people from Elsinore. And this at a time, when everybody knew that it was only a question of time before the Germans had to surrender.
Poul Erik Krogshøj Hansen (20 years old) and Knud Petersen (19 years old) were after secondary school apprenticed as shipbuilders to Elsinore Shipyard. Here they met Carl Jørgen Erik SKov Larsen (21 years old) and Henning Wieland (22 years old, who had served their apprenticeship in Aalborg Shipyard. All four went to Elsinore Technical School in order to take their naval architects´ exam.
The two first mentioned went into the resistance movement in connection with the persecution of the Jews in October 1943. At this point Krogshøj Hansen were arrested by the Germans and interned in Horserød, but he got off and was released. In the spring of 1944, he formed a new group with three friends, which was affiliated with the resistance organisation, BOPA. The participated in many forms of resistance work, the printing of illegal magazines, courier work and sabotage. Wieland was arreste by the Gestapo in the autumn of 1944, accused of sabotaging German ships. He strongly denied having done it and he was released.
Poul Erik Krogshøj Hansen
Carl Jørgen Erik Skov Larsen
An Acquaintance Informed on Him
In May 1945 the group was uncovered after an acquaintance of the two young men from Aalborg had informed on them. Some of the group´s members were arrested by Hipo-men (Hillfs-Polizei = Danes in German service) in Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen. They were so badly beaten up that they could not hold back the names of the others in the group.
The four resisters were sentenced to death and executed in Ryvangen April 11th 1945, where they were buried immediately. After the liberation Poul Erik Krogshøj Hansen´s and Knud Petersen´s bodies were taken to Elsinore cemetery, where they were buried next to each other.
Plaque of the four is hanging in Espergærde Gymnasium and HF. After the verdict the doomed were allowed to write farewell letters to their families. These letters can be read in the book “De sidste timer” (Copenhagen).
The informer, 26 years old hipo man, Oluf Bloch Klagenberg was later sentenced to death. The sentence was later reduced to 10 years imprisonment. This brought on protests and strikes, so the courts had to raise the sentence to life imprisonment.
The informers, who betrayed the resisters to Gestapo, posed such a danger to the resistance movement that they had to be liquidated. They could not be imprisoned, and to take them to Sweden would endanger the resisters themselves.
One of Denmark´s best known and feared resisters was Ben Faurschou-Schmidt, nicknamed “The Flame”. He supposedly killed more than 7 informers, before he committed suicide in 1944, when the Germans had him surrounded in a villa in Copenhagen.
“The Flame” belonged to the resistance organisation “Holger Danske”. In 1943744 he hung out in the Snekkersten Inn. He was a close friend of the people, who organized the escape routes. The son of the Innkeeper, the 15 years old Frantz Thomsen was once present when “The Flame” killed a suspected informer.
An amateur film shows “The Flame” as the centre of attention in Snekkersten Inn.
|Small||Large||The Flame with he Ziegler family
|Small||Large||New Years Eve 1943 in Snekkersten Inn
|Large||New Years Eve 1943 in Snekkersten Inn
Examples From Elsinore
In the Elsinore area there were also a number informer liquidations. In the autumn of 1944 the Holger Danske Group executed a pro-Nazi superintendent, Madsen.
An especially hated person in the area was Johan Ochel. He was employed as an interpreter in the Gestapo headquarters in Elsinore and he was nicknamed “The Viennese Child”. He terrorized the area brutally.
On March 15th Kristian Engelsen´s men liquidated “the Viennese Child” opposite Svingelport in Elsinore. The place is called “Simon Spies´ Square. The weapon was a Husquarna machine gun, which the group had stolen from the Social Democrats. The Danish army in the resistance movement was careful not to let any of Swedish arms help go to the Communists.
Resistance and Terror in Sweden
The neutral Sweden defended its neutrality against the Allies and the Germans. In Pålsjö Cemetery’s gravestones the tragic results can be read. Here you can also read the epitaphs of a number of soldiers, who died in connection with the shipwreck of a war ship and were washed ashore in the Scanian coast.
|The brief inscriptions on the tombstones in Pålsjø cemetery in Helsingborg give an impression of how the war was experienced in the neutral Sweden.
War Graves – Pålsjö Cemetery Relates
In the northern part of Helsingborg is Palsjö Cemetery. At the entrance of the cemetery there are to signs. One says that here is “Commonwealth war graves”, and the other informs of “Deutsche kriegsgräben”.
These two burial plots relate how northwestern Scania experienced the Second World War and how foreign young soldiers found their last resting place here – far from their home.
Of the 113 pilots from the British Commonwealth, who died in the Second World War in Swedish territory, 47 are buried in Pålsjö Cemetery. A few metres next to them lay German soldiers, who died in the same was in this area. They have found their final resting place not far form their enemies from the West Alliance, but also next to fellow countrymen, who died during the First World War. 93 German soldiers lay here.
The “Commonwealth war graves” consists of 47 meticulously placed white marble stones and a big sword-decorated cross in the one end. The gravestones tell that it is mainly young soldiers in their twenties. Some death dates appears more often than others and nobody died alone.
July 4th 1942
On the night of July 4th 1942 Bruce Morgan and J. Samson died with four other fellow soldiers. The next morning Helsingborg Dagblad said:
“British plane crashed in Lerberget.
Was hit by the air defence on the Danish side over Hornbæk."
Helsingborg experienced the reality of war at 1 one o´clock last night – perhaps closer than ever. Two aeroplanes, which in all probability were English, flew in a southern direction along the Sound and back, when the Danish air defence fired at them with an unheard of intensity.
One of the planes crashed approximately 200 metres from Lerberget. One of the seven-crew members, a Canadian was saved and taken to Helsingborg´s Hospital. In spite of an intensive search there have been no signs of the other six.”
The two aeroplanes had been on a mission to drop mines in the Sound, and in the course of the next couple of days five mines were rendered harmless by minesweepers. They were on their way home from the assignment, when one the planes were shot down. Of the seven-crew members only the Canadian, who flew the plane, survived. The others were buried here in Pålsjö Cemetery July 17th 1942 and several thousands of Helsingborg´s population slowed their sympathy.
Flowers arrived from high-ranking military persons and institutions, but also from ordinary people. The inhabitants in the area around Lerberget had sent a flower tribute and in Helsingborg they had collected money for a gift for the surviving hospitalised Canadian.
The police in Helsingborg sent the death message to Canada with newspaper clippings from the funeral. After some time an answer came from Bruce Morgan´s stepparents. The answer is quoted in Göte Friberg´s book ”Stormcentrum Øresund”.
”For the last twenty years we have taken care of him like he was our own son. The message you sent that his body has been taken out of the sea and that he has been buried with military distinction, have brought us happiness. These young men have given their life for us, and the freedom of the world, and although our hearts are crying, we are proud of them. The beautiful thoughts and the loving work, which the inhabitants of your town have expressed towards these heroes, was completely overwhelming and we are very grateful to you all.”
August 30th 1944
J. Kennedy died, 21 years old on August 30th 1944 with twenty others. The next day Helsingborg Dagblad said:
According to the available reports seven aeroplanes have crashed during overflights Tuesday night in the areas around the following towns: Knäred, Vittsjö, Örkelljunga, Båstad, Ljungby and Svensköp, and in the waters outside Vejbystrand. Five of the planes were of British nationality. Swedish air defence before the crash according to a close investigation hit some of the planes.
A large number of English aeroplanes flew back after a planned bombing expedition against Königsberg (Kaliningrad). They had been discovered by a German fighter and forced to withdraw. Over the Sound Danish and Swedish sides fired at them. Six planes crashed in northwestern Scania, among other places in Båstead and Skälderviken. Two planes that crashed in Svensköp in Scania and in Agunnaryd in southern Småland had been under fire from the Swedish air defence.
21 pilots were buried on September 7th ceremoniously in Pålsjö Cemetery. The Swedish crown princess, who was English, had sent a wreath. On the D.L.D Moon´s gravestone it says:” To the world, he was only one but to us he was all the world.”
The next day they lowered wreaths in the Skälderviken, where one of the planes had crashed.
D. L. D. Moon
February 8th 1945
Six young boys died on February 8th 1945, among them P.L Kirkpatrick, 20 years old from Australia. Helsingborg Dagblad said the following on February 9th:
“Aeroplane Crashed in Brohult, completely demolished.
Cattleman´s house 40 metres from the crash, only one pilot found yesterday."
For the first time a foreign aeroplane has crashed inside the Helsingborg city boundary. This happened yesterday evening around 8 o´clock, when a four-engine British bomber was shot over Helsingborg and crashed at Brohult´s farm.”
There was a lot of activity in the air space in the beginning of February. The Allies carried out massive bombing expeditions against German cities Berlin and Dresden. February 8th a number of allied planes entered Helsingborg´s air space from the north and was fired at by air defences in Sofiero. One of the aircrafts was hit and flew burning over the Tågaborg district and crashed at Brohult´s farm, east of Helsingborg.
In his book “Stormcentrum Öresund” Göte Friberg has testified to the despair, which the men at the anti-aircraft gun felt after the shooting, and Helsingborg municipality made a demand that the minister of defence should change the directives for the shooting of the air defence.
The aircrafts were shot down by the Swedish air defence and at the funeral the memories of the dead were praised by representatives of the Swedish defence and afterwards the families thanked for the marks of honour via Helsingborg Dagblad.
P. L. Kirkpatrick
Helsingborg Dagblad February 9th 1945
A few metres from “The Commonwealth War Graves” German soldiers are buried. More than 40 of them died on March 1st 1945. Among these Heinz Reck, 26 years old and Horst de Wall, 20 years old. The next day this piece of news dominated Helsingborg Dagblad:
“Horrifying ship´s disaster near Helsingborg.
German war ship with 70 men capsized in the storm.”
A German war ship, a minesweeper was on its way to Aalborg form Copenhagen. The had to turn back because of the storm, but capsized between Viken and Hornbæk and sank outside Vikingestrand in northern Helsingborg. The disaster was this not due to any war action. 42 dead bodies floated ashore along the coast from Landskrona and to the north, most of them just north of Landskrona.
Even these had their last resting place in Pålsjö Cemetary. Many people attended the funeral and the number of people, which had participated in the rescue work, was remarkable. This was not a question of Germans or Englishmen, but a question of life and death.
From the burial report in Helsingborg Dagblad:
“It was a moving moment when seven fishermen from “Gravarna” laid down a wreath and chauffeur Karl O. Hjelm said the last words for the dead and asserted that he and his firends had done what they could to save the their lives during the ill-fated storm night."
Helsingborg Dagblad March 2nd 1945
Helsingborg Dagblad March 10th 1945
A Forign Crowd of Peoble
Far from their homes here in Pålsjö Cemetery almost one hundred young men lay buried, one hundred of the many millions, who were sacrificed in the Second World War. Most of the victims of the world war are buried in the same way far from their homes. Göte Friberg, a policeman from Helsingborg gave this precise description of the ceremonies in Pålsjö Cemetary, a description, which probably covers thousands of other funerals during the Second World War:
“No families, no close friend were present, just a collection of correct men with and without uniform and in the background a large, silent, foreign crowd of people.”