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Oral history interview with Jørgen von Führen Kieler

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1285.24 | RG Number: RG-50.149.0024

Jørgen von Führen Kieler describes growing up in Horsens, Jutland, Denmark; his family; his education; traveling around Europe frequently with his family; being a student in Germany, Paris, France, and Cambridge, England from 1937 to 1938; attending a Hitler-Mussolini meeting in Munich, Germany in 1937; the antisemitic exhibition; the metro strike in Paris in 1937; the friends he made at Cambridge University; his attitude towards the Nazi regime; learning of the existence of Dachau in 1937; his attitude towards German Danish relations; the neglect of Danish defenses; the Munich crisis in 1938; being a medical student in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1939 to 1940; volunteering for service in the Finnish Winter War at the end of 1939; the German occupation of Denmark in 1940; the appearance of the German Air Force over Copenhagen September 4, 1940; his reaction to the lack of resistance against Germans; joining the Danish Resistance in 1942; his membership in the Free Denmark Resistance group from 1942 to 1944; his resistance contacts; propaganda activities; the controversy over the collection of food aid for inland in 1943; the origins of the Aalborg Resistance in the spring of 1942; the start of the Communist KOPA resistance group (Borgerlige partisaner) in the autumn of 1942; reasons for the change in Hitler's policy towards Denmark in September 1943; the Special Operations Executives' contact with the Danish Resistance (1940- 1943); the arrival of Flemming Muus in 1943; the contrasts in attitude towards sabotage by Danish Communists; the collaboration between Finland volunteers and Danish Communists for sabotage; his decision to start his own sabotage group in Jutland, Denmark in the spring of 1943; the initial sabotage attempt at Horsens; the German attitude towards Danish sabotage; the Danish Government's aid to Germans; the German take over of Denmark in August 1943; the beginning of the persecution of Danish Jews in 1943; the lack of German Army co-operation in antisemitic policy; the role of his group in the campaign to save Danish Jews by removing them to Sweden in 1943; the orders to deny the Danish Navy to the Germans; Germans not pursuing boats taking Jews to Sweden; Danish motives for protecting Jewish civilians; their methods of securing explosives in late 1943; the capture of a resistance leader; the treatment of captured resister by Germans; the orders to stop sabotage in December 1943; moving to Jutland and the sabotage carried out; returning to Copenhagen to sabotage a shipyard; the capture and interrogations by the Gestapo in early 1944; his capture in Copenhagen harbor during the sabotage operation; being interrogated; his sentence for attempting to escape to Sweden; his release and move to south Jutland; being captured by Germans in 1944; meeting with a former group leader in a Gestapo cell in Copenhagen; the execution of the group leader in April 1944; the requirement for him to sign a confession; how a general strike led to his deportation to Porta Westfalica concentration camp; being an inmate in Porta Westfalica and Neuengamme from 1944 to 1945; mining work; stoning because of failure to work fast enough; how being transferred to a job in the camp hospital saved his life; the arrival of Red Cross parcels; his memories of Nikolai, a Danish inmate from south Jutland, and how Nikolai stopped Russians attacking Danes over Red Cross parcels; the death of Nikolai from starvation in the infirmary; the effects of starvation on inmates; how he was the last Danish prisoner to leave Neuengamme on April 20, 1945; reuniting with his mother and a colleague from Cambridge in May 1945; more details on Porta Westfalica, including the organization of camp and the beatings; and the effects of his experiences and his attitude towards Germans.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Kieler, Jorgen
interview:  1994 March 12
3 sound cassettes (90 min.).
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:09:49
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