Those were the words from BBC’s Danish broadcasting on May 4th 1945 at half past eight. This was the end of Germany’s 5 year occupation of Denmark, and the radio broadcast has since become one of the most important symbols of one of the happiest days in recent Danish history.
Denmark were occupied by Germany on April 9th, 1940. Hitler had no interest in Denmark, but he needed control over Denmark’s air bases, to make it more easy for the German army of the Third Reich, to attack Norway. Because Norway had good resources for example oil, and under the war this were the real deal.
In March, 1943, Denmark held elections and the result was a clear victory for the democratic parties.
At that time, the Danish population had become dissatisfied with the German soldiers. This led to strikes and demonstrations. In response, the Germans impose the death penalty for saboteurs, which the Danish government refused. On 28 August the cooperation between Germany and the Danish government ended and Germany declared Denmark to be in a state of emergency.
The new political situation meant that Denmark was now ruled by orders from the German Ministry which were under the whole nazi thing. Later on in 1943, it was decided that everybody who had a Jewish background in the country, should be deported to concentration camps. Over 7000 jews fled to the neighboring country, Sweden. Under the II WW, Sweden were neutral, which means that is was not active in the war and therefore this were the perfect land that the Jews could escape to. This action had a dark side, 500 jews were caught be the SS soldiers, which the corps for Nazi Germany.
The Jews got deported to the camp Theresienstadt or Terezin which is located near to Prague
This was the beginning of a growing resistance movement. Danish saboteurs blew up railroads and companies that cooperated with the Nazi’s, the illegal press bloomed, and the Allied governments increasingly began to regard Denmark as an ally. Those who were Allied under the war were Great Britain, USA, USSR and other.
In the summer of 1944 the germans were really awful, because of all the sabotage against them, they arrested 2000 danish police officers and they were sent to concentration camps. The danes were angry, and they were no playing against all that were German. However, at this point it was clear to most that it was only a matter of time before Germany would lose the war.
When the declaration of freedom was announced on the radio on the evening of 4th May, 1945, people were gathering together in the streets, waving the Danish flag and burning their blackout curtains, which before in the war were used to hide and be safe from the bombs at night. Many people also spontaneously placed candles in their windows.
Denmark was liberated on May 5th by British forces led by Montgomery. However, only four days later the Russian Army occupied the island of Bornholm (DK) after intense fighting with the Germans, and not until April 1946 was the island finally liberated, when the Russians voluntarily left the island.
After the liberation there was uncertainty about how the allies would regard Denmark. The first years of occupation had been characterized by cooperation with the Germans. Denmark had deliberately declined, as opposed to for example Norway, to take up the fight. Eventually, however, Denmark was seen as an ally, mainly due to the widespread resistance to the German occupation during the last years of the war.
Around 850 Danish resistance fighters were killed during the war while a further 900 civilians were killed as a result of bombings, riots or German revenge killings. In addition, 19 Danish soldiers died and 23 were wounded during the actual invasion of Denmark, while about 600 Danes (260 resistance fighters) died in concentration camps. The largest Danish losses occurred, however, in battle; 1,850 Danish sailors lost their lives, of these around 900 fighting on the allied side and around 2,000 Danish soldiers were killed in German service.
The German occupation of Denmark has had a great influence on the public debate in Denmark ever since the war ended. Of particular interest has been the question whether or not Denmark went too far in its cooperation with the German occupiers, and if the advantages gained through this strategy justified the initial lack of resistance.
Lots of happiness