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PostGerman Occupation and Danish Collaborators (Leo Goldberger, USA, 02/08/21 3:59 am)
As always, Eugenio Battaglia's addendum (February 7th) is right on target! It is amazing the breadth of his world-wide knowledge and his calm wisdom--even in the most controversial political domains. A difficult--but most worthy--example for us all.
Returning to the topic of Denmark, I had deliberately omitted the war-time subject--a period in my own life in Denmark I have elsewhere written about extensively over the years, touching on the subject of Schalburg and his Waffen SS Corps, etc.
My only comment on the subject is on Schalburg. Though born in Russia, his father was a Dane who had married into a Tsarist peer family and had left Denmark for her. In 1919, when young Schalburg was just 13, they, along with most "White Russians," moved. In Schalburg's case it was to the father's home-base in Copenhagen, where Schalburg eventually served in the King's Royal Guards and became quite close to the royal family as well. The fact that his name, after his death on the East Front, became the generic term for the Danish collaborator's military support of the German Nazis has remained a historical stigma. And, yes, there were Danish Nazis, and even an insignificant small political party. In fact, as Danes tended to be a very law-abiding and "freedom of speech" country, there was no consequences to that--though the blatant "anti-Semitic" type journalism was prohibited, as was the case with the Danish National Socialist Party's abhorrent weekly magazine--which the courts outlawed in the 1940s under the nose of the German occupiers. Actually, the few Danish Nazis--perhaps only some 5000-6000--were not held in high esteem by the German powers that be. Unlike their superficial tolerance of the Danish Nazi leader--a Heidelberg-trained Danish physician named Fritz Clausen (from the Schlesvig-Holstein part of Southern Jutland), who wanted to become the Danish Vidkun Quisling--Hitler had no use for either.
All of this is to say, the details of the occupation in both Denmark and Norway are quite complex. Dr. Werner Best was in full charge of Denmark and so was Josef Terboven of Norway (a country that many Denmark admired because, unlike Denmark, they had actually declared war on Germany--which we in Denmark did not, as our King did not think we had a chance with only some 13 airplanes).
All the above is the "dark side" of the occupation years of my beloved country. I call the second chapter "When the Light Pierced the Darkness," namely the wonderful support we Danish Jews received by helping us flee across the Sound to Sweden during the eventual round-up effort by the Nazis in the early days of October 1943. But that's another story...
JE comments: Leo Goldberger has written several compelling WAIS posts on the Danish experience in WWII. See this 2015 essay, below. It is revealing that the Danish Nazi party received a paltry 2% of the vote in 1943--during the height of the occupation.