Frits Clausen
Frits Clausen was leader of the Danish Nazi party (DNSAP) prior to and 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...


Born in Aabenraa
Aabenraa Municipality
Aabenraa Municipality or Åbenrå Municipality is a municipality in Region of Southern Denmark in south-western Denmark. It has existed in its current form since 1 January 2007 following a merger of several smaller municipalities. The municipality has an area of 951 km² and a total population...

, since 1864 a part of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, Clausen served in the German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. After the war, Clausen studied medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 in Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

 and became a doctor in 1924, after which he returned to Aabenraa, which had been voted back to 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...

 in 1920, and set up a practice. Clausen initially became involved in politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 as an advocate of Aabenraa once again becoming a part of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, but he eventually turned to Danish politics, advocating causes that favored the German minority in southern Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...


Clausen at first became a member of the conservative party but he eventually resigned from the party and in 1931 joined the DNSAP. Two years later, Clausen ousted the leadership committee of the party (whose members were Einar Jørgensen, C. C. Hansen, and Cay Lembcke
Cay Lembcke
Cay Lembcke was a co-founder of the Danish Boy Scouts Organization in 1910 and the National Socialist Workers' Party of Denmark in 1930...

) from power and became the party's sole leader.

Under Clausen's direction, the party essentially espoused nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 and called for a stronger relationship between Denmark and 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...

. Clausen's policies were widely unpopular with the vast majority of Danes, and he essentially received what support he had from the German minority population in southern Jutland. At the height of its popularity, the DNSAP had about 20,000 members and 20,000 sympathizers. However, the party fared relatively poorly in the 1939 elections
Danish Folketing election, 1939
Folketing elections were held in Denmark on 3 April 1939, except in the Faroe Islands where they were held on 19 April. They followed a dissolution of both chambers in order to call a referendum on changing the constitution. The referendum was held on 23 May but failed due to a low voter turnout...

, winning only three seats in the Folketing
The Folketing , is the national parliament of Denmark. The name literally means "People's thing"—that is, the people's governing assembly. It is located in Christiansborg Palace, on the islet of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen....

. A year later, when Germany invaded Denmark, Clausen became a strong supporter of the German occupation
Occupation of Denmark
Nazi Germany's occupation of Denmark began with Operation Weserübung on 9 April 1940, and lasted until German forces withdrew at the end of World War II following their surrender to the Allies on 5 May 1945. Contrary to the situation in other countries under German occupation, most Danish...

 and took credit for the lenient way in which Germany governed the country.

The Germans attempted to reward Clausen for his services by trying to persuade King Christian X
Christian X of Denmark
Christian X was King of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and the only King of Iceland between 1918 and 1944....

 to let Clausen and his followers have roles in the nation's government in 1940 and 1943, but the King opposed any such suggestions. Much to Clausen's chagrin, the German government was unwilling to forcibly put him in charge of Denmark for fear of angering its people, although there were talks of doing so in 1940 and 1942. The Germans did hope, however, that Clausen would legally seize power over the nation in the 1943 elections
Danish Folketing election, 1943
Folketing elections were held in Denmark on 23 March 1943 alongside Landsting elections, except in the Faroe Islands where they were held on 3 May. They were the first elections during the German occupation, and although many people feared how the Germans might react to the election, the event took...

, but the DNSAP performed just as poorly in the elections as it did in 1939, once again winning only three seats in the Folketing.

After the elections, a bitter Clausen joined the German Army and saw active service on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 as a surgeon, although he did not resign his position as chief of the DNSAP. Clausen returned to Denmark in the spring of 1944, after which time his political career was terminated.

Clausen's failure in the elections and his unwillingness to actively assist in forming a Danish branch of the Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

alienated his German supporters, and as such SS Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

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...

, the Plenipotentiary
The word plenipotentiary has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers." In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent his government as a prerogative...

 of the German Reich for Denmark, convinced Clausen to step down as leader of the party and replaced him with a three man committee shortly after his return to Denmark.

After Germany's occupation of Denmark ended in May 1945, Clausen was captured and sent to 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...

,. He was later given a formal trial
Trial (law)
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...

, but he died of a heart attack in the Vestre Fængsel, a prison in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, before it could be completed.


  • Ole Ravn, Fører uden folk : Frits Clausen og Danmarks National Socialistiske Arbejder-Parti, University of Southern Denmark, 2007. ISBN 978-87-7674-203-4. (in Danish).
  • John T. Lauridsen (ed.), "Føreren har ordet!" : Frits Clausen om sig selv og DNSAP, Museum Tusculanum, 2003. ISBN 87-7289-759-7. (in Danish).
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