Thor’s Island (or in present day language, Tåsinge), Denmark 1941

Editor/Daughter’s Note: This is an excerpt from my dad’s journals of memories. Mostly he did paintings to help him tell his stories, but in this case he scotch-taped magazine pictures into the journal, and supplemented them with two slightly blurry photos of him from this time: one of the Landet gymnastic team and the other one with a couple of his well-remembered and much-painted horses. 

Thor’s Island (or in present day language, Tåsinge). 

I was now nineteen years old and landed a job on a farm in Landet, a farming village on Tåsinge.

It was like going back in time, the individual farms were laid out in a circle with the land belonging to each farm radiating out in fields getting wider and wider the further out they went, a farming style leftover from the Stone Age. But just the same there was something very social and co-operative about it and that somehow appealed to me.

Dad with a horse and her colt

Daughter’s note: Dad labelled this photo: ‘I and my colt’.

Dad's Painting of a Horse and Colt

Daughters note: I think this is the mare and colt on the farm in Tåsinge.

The buildings were all built like castles, four wings with a courtyard in the middle and buildings with straw or tile roofs. The Tudor oak timbers were tarred and the building material between them whitewashed.

It was in Landet I was introduced to gymnastics. The coach became my role model but however much I wanted to stay there I had to leave as the farmer’s two sons came back from college that summer and needed work for the coming winter.

Landet Gymnastic Team

“The Landet Gymnastics Team. I am standing right behind the Coach. I was one of the little guys.”

I often played cards with the farmer’s sons who were lively, witty and loudmouthed. In the kitchen the card playing sometimes went on until midnight. The farmer would come out from the bedroom and tell us to be quiet but never told us to stop playing.

There are numerous ancient gravesites, the largest of which is in the form of a huge oblong mound covered with boulders and surrounded with even larger boulders in style of Stonehenge in England, going back 5200 years, more about that later.

Daughters note: He has done a lot of web research on these gravesites but there are no paintings or photos that I can find.

I landed another job at the southern end of the island and this time I remember the name Jens Ebsen, an old timer, as he, like so many folks there owned shares in a Schooner in Svendborg, somehow managing to keep up the link with the sea.

Daughters note: Here he has scotch-taped magazine photos of the Svendborg schooners into his journal.

That winter it became very cold again, the third one in a row. There was not too much snow but the sea froze over and we could walk across to other islands.

The winter culminated in a freezing rain that iced over the roads and brought down the power and telephone lines for miles and miles, and afterwards the poles had to be replaced by the thousands which took several months.

Another interesting episode were the huge balloons anchored by steel cables around London in England that were torn loose by a storm and drifted over Denmark snagging trees, fences and power lines. That was quite a site and above us the German fighter planes were flying around trying to shoot them down.

That same spring I was 20 years old, conscription age, and I was drafted for the militia into an unarmed force trained to clean up after bombings and other disasters.

At that same time Hitler demanded 30,000 young men from Denmark serve on the supply lines at the Russian front. But the resistance fighters went in and destroyed all the records so I conveniently ceased to exist.

Dad's Denmark: Sio

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