A newly-released book alleges that Danish Nazis actively participated in the murder of 1,400 Jews at a prison camp in Belarus during World War II.
Now two Danes may face an investigation of their 70-year-old crimes.
The Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to see police investigate the claims in the new book, En skole i vold (A school of violence), and if necessary to prosecute the two living Danes who remain from the 800-man corps of Danish Nazis known as Free Corps Denmark (Frikorps Danmark).
“This isn’t about putting an old man in prison but rather about clearing up what happened back then. I think there should be a case against him, so I will make a request to the justice minister,” DF’s Peter Skaarup told DR, referring specifically to one of the surviving Danes, an 89-year-old man who has spoken about his time with Frikorps Danmark.
The other surviving Danish Nazi has not spoken publicly about what happened in Belarus.
One of the authors of the new book said that his research dug up facts that challenge the traditional notion that the Danish Nazis stood passively by and witnessed the mass killing of Jews.
“We have witness testimonies that show the Danish Nazis were deeply involved in genocide and a number of war crimes during their time on the Eastern Front,” Dennis Larsen told DR.
Larsen said that the Danes spent eight months between 1942 and 1943 in the Bobruisk concentration camp in Belarus, where at least 1,400 of the 1,500 Jews in the camp were killed while the Danes were there.
“The Danes were in the camp for eight months, and during that period there was daily culling of the Jews. Executions. The Danes were a part of this and the last Dane didn’t leave the camp until shortly before it closed,” Larsen said.
Larsen agreed with DF that even though the atrocities took place seven decades ago, the Danish involvement should still be investigated.
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“We have a moral obligation to look into these things. It is never too late to learn from history and avoid a repeat. Better late than never, you could say,” he told DR.
Although some 6,000 Danes are estimated to have joined the Free Corps Denmark during the course of World War II, the Danish resistance movement is estimated to have included well over 20,000 Danes who worked to actively undermine the German occupation. Danish fishermen also put themselves at great risk by ferrying Denmark’s Jews to safety in Sweden.
A film about the Danish resistance movement from the US National Archives and Records Administration can be seen below.