Wartime and my childhood

On the 9th of April 1940 Denmark was invaded by German troops. There was only a short fight with the Danish army as it was a midget against the far superior German forces. I remember the day clearly when low flying black aeroplanes came across the farm. We were all scared, wondering what was going to happen. In comparison with other countries occupied by a foreign army ours was relatively fortunate.We did not suffer greatly, partly because we lived in the country and the Germans had no reason to run down Danish agriculture in fact they had every good reason to protect it and extract food from it to feed their army.

Before we moved to Østergaard I remember only little about the war as we were hardly affected at all. It was 1941 or 42 when we became familiar with the German troops. They came to occupy the community hall, the hall for housecraft and the mission house. In fact it was probably more a place for resting soldiers than anything else. At school we children had to share the playground with German troops. This was however quite amicable, in fact the Germans were keen on playing football with us and when given an opportunity they would show us pictures of their family at home. They occasionally came to the farm to demand straw for mattresses and potatoes to

eat. As one could expect, they flirted with the girls but there were few real problems. Girls were advised to keep well away from them but in spite of that, one of my cousins, to the great shame of the family, had a baby with one of them. After the war she moved to Germany with him.

The soldiers when they were alone with us were as miserable about the war as we were though we could not really understand each other. My father would say to them “Hitler Kaput” and seem to get away with it. On one occasion I am sure an officer stole a ball we were playing with, no doubt he had a child at home to whom he would like to give something.

I too remember the end of the war, such a sense of relief, we did not quite know what to do. The shopkeeper had kept some real coffee in a drawer somewhere and gave my father some. The war ended in a battle in North Germany but no serious fighting in Denmark.I recall the British troops driving through Herning and being welcomed enthusiastically.