Deportation of the Danish police
During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Danish government choose to cooperate with the Nazi occupation force. Even though this applied to the Danish police as well, many were reluctant to cooperate. As a result, a large number of members of the Danish police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 force were deported to German concentration camps.

April 1940–September 1944

Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 occupied Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 on 9 April 1940, and the Danish cabinet decided on a policy of collaboration. This applied to all civil servants, including the entire Danish police force, which began cooperation with its German counterparts.

On 12 May 1944, Dr. Werner Best
Werner Best
Dr. Werner Best was a German Nazi, jurist, police chief, SS-Obergruppenführer and Nazi Party leader from Darmstadt, Hesse. He studied law and in 1927 obtained his doctorate degree at Heidelberg...

 demanded that the Danish police should protect 57 specific enterprises against sabotage from the Danish resistance movement
Danish resistance movement
The Danish resistance movement was an underground insurgency movement to resist the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. Due to the unusually lenient terms given to Danish people by the Nazi occupation authority, the movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale...

, which was growing in strength. Should the Danish civil service not accept this, the Danish police force would be reduced from 10,000 to 3,000 men. The head of the Danish administration, Nils Svenningsen, was inclined to accept this demand, but the organizations of the Danish police were opposed to the idea. The German request was ultimately turned down, and this was reported to Dr. Best on 6 June 1944. This reduced the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

's already limited trust in the Danish police even further.

Arrest and deportation

The German army began arresting members of the Danish police in Denmark's main cities on 19 September 1944. The force numbered 10,000 men in that year. 1,960 personnel were arrested and later deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp.Policemen deported to Buchenwald were in two groups, the first group was sent on 29 September, the second was transferred on 5 October, 1944. On 16 December, following pressure from the Danish administration, 1604 men were transferred from Buchenwald to Mühlberg (Stammlager or Stalag IV-B)
Stalag IV-B
Stalag IV-B was one of the largest prisoner of war camps in Germany during World War II. Stalag is an abbreviation of the German noun "Stammlager". The main camp was located 8km NE of the town Mühlberg in Brandenburg, just east of the Elbe river and about 30 miles north of Dresden...

, a camp for prisoners of war (POW)s. That meant an improvement in the situation for the Danish policemen; POWs had some kind of protection due to international conventions; inmates in concentration camps did not.

Subsequently the policemen were scattered somewhat on various work details.


The Danish ministry of foreign affairs headed by Nils Svenningsen negotiated with the German authorities in Denmark over the release of Danish concentration camp inmates.
From late September 1944, transport with Red Cross packs was organized. An agreement was reached on 8 December 1944, for the release (and transport back to Denmark) of 200 sick policemen.

Simultaneously with the Danish negotiations, the Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 count Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

  intended to get all Scandinavian concentration camp prisoners to Sweden. The efforts to get prisoners from Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 out of the German camps continued in the following months. In March and April 1945, 10,000 Danish and Norwegian captives were brought home from Germany in white buses. The majority of the deported policemen travelled with these vehicles. Some of the returning captives arrived at Frøslev Prison Camp
Frøslev Prison Camp
Frøslev Camp was an internment camp in German-occupied Denmark during World War II.In order to avoid deportation of Danes to German concentration camps, Danish authorities suggested, in January 1944, that an internment camp be created in Denmark...

just north of the border between Germany and Denmark.

Number of deaths

The number of Danish policemen who died during their incarceration in the German camps varies between 81 and 90, depending on the source.

Several died afterwards due to camp-related illnesses. This group is a little more difficult to delimit. According to a calculation in 1968, 131 policemen died.

The mortality rate among the Danish policemen was reduced after they left Buchenwald and were transferred to Mühlberg in December 1944. 62 men died in Buchenwald.

External links

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