The Anker Avlund Resistance Group in Denmark 1944-45

Note from Editor/Daughter: These stories are from my dad’s journal of memories. This story dates from the last days of WW2 when my dad was working for a farmer who ran a resistance group. 

I at last found a job as herdsman for Anker Avlund in Vigersted south of Lejre.

The Gestapo, stationed in Ringsted to the south of us, used the large gravel pits next to the farm for weapons training. When the Gestapo was not there the resistance used the very same gravel pits for their own weapons training so it was a very noisy place.

Nearby was an unusual canyon with numerous springs. The canyon had been carved by melt water from glaciers 12000 years ago and most likely the springs were a product of that process. The springs supplied water to the farm by pushing the water through a pipe up above the canyon walls and onto the rooftop level of the farm resulting in constant running water, a luxury at that time.

In 1944-45 the activities of the resistance intensified as did the brutality of the Germans. Once when a German officer was killed by the resistance, the Gestapo took 11 prisoners out on to the highway and mowed them down with machine guns, leaving them there for us to pick up.

Every sabotage by Danes on German military targets was retaliated for by German sabotage on Danish cultural institutions or the already censored news media.

I joined the Anker Avlund group of resistance and was given the job of distributing information posters, gluing them up on poles and buildings where people could read them.

Anker’s entire family did something in the resistance and so did the milk controller who came around once a month and operated as our contact with other groups.

One night on my rounds of gluing up posters the milk controller joined me. Coming near to home around 4:30 in the morning we glued the last poster on the door of a transformer tower and then took a shortcut across the fields as we had to start work at five. That shortcut saved us.

Dad's painting of wartime sabotage in Denmark,1944-45

Later that day a farmer who had watched us from the hill above came over and scolded us for being so careless. He told us that the Gestapo had been right behind us and had stopped and torn down the poster. Then they had hurried down the road hoping to catch us in the act and the farmer did not want that to happen.

Sabotage of German communication and supply lines were now common. The railroads nearby had guards every 50 yards and still the rails were often blown apart. It was dangerous being out at night as the young 16 to 17-year-old soldiers would fire on anything they heard or saw in the dark.

One night I and another farmhand were biking home from a meeting in Ringsted when a Gestapo officer jumped out in front of us. While the officer was talking with my very polite and very smooth partner I looked back and saw the moonlight reflecting off the guns of soldiers hiding behind trees along the road.

The British were sending coded messages every night as to where planes would drop weapons and explosives for the resistance to pick up. Anker’s brother was wounded one night when doing this but managed to escape just the same.

Then came the day, May the fourth 1945, when all 600,000 of the Germans surrendered to the Danes. The resistance, being only 43,000 strong, ordered them to walk back to Germany as we were busy with 2 million refugees to house and feed.

However the members of the Gestapo was not allowed to leave. Most were rounded up by the resistance and later tried for war crimes and if found guilty executed by firing squads.

By now I had had my fill of dairy cows and went to work in the fields for a farmer in nearby Borup. I took time off for a course in farm machinery in the Institute of Technology in Copenhagen where I met Poul Kofod.

Poul was from Bornholm, the southernmost island, east of Denmark and south of Sweden. We decided to go to Sweden together as soon as we had finished our contracts, as we were both ready for new adventures.

5 responses to “The Anker Avlund Resistance Group in Denmark 1944-45

  1. Pingback: In Sweden with ‘that Devil Dane’, 1946 | Albatz Travel Adventures·

  2. Interesting read, there are a lot of amazing stories from the war, I’m about to do a blog of my forthcoming trip retracing my step grandfathers journey as POW from south Italy to north Germany!

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