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Oral history interview with Henny Sundo and Peter Ilsøe

Oral History | RG Number: RG-50.391.0005

Henny Sinding Sundø discusses the start of the persecution of Denmark’s Jews in October 1943 when she was 22 years old; having recently returned to Denmark from language study in England; her father, who was an official serving in the Danish Lighthouse Service (Fyrvæsenet), who helped her become an apprentice there; the role played by the Danish Lighthouse Service in helping Jews escape, and the role of one of its vessels, the “Gerda III” in rescue efforts; guiding Jews to the vessel at night over the course of three weeks; the route first to Sweden, and then on to the lighthouse; giving sedatives to the children to ensure they were quiet; her sense that some higher German officials knew what was going on; the vessel saved about 600-700 Jews before it then began to ferry over others, such as refugees from Poland, Resistance fighters, and downed British and American airmen; her ongoing role in the resistance; escaping from Zeeland to Sweden in February 1944; her work in Sweden with the resistance and Danish Brigade; reaction to hearing the news of the end of the war in May 1945; and her return via Helsingborg, Sweden to Helsingør, Denmark.
Peter Ilsøe discusses the sabotage activities of the resistance in Denmark and its successes, which included the need for fewer air strikes; the Danish Freedom Council (Danmarks Frihedsråd) which became an unofficial element of the Danish government after August 29, 1943, and one of its leaders, Frode Jakobsen; methods to minimize the impact of information released by captive resistance fighters under torture, and the Nazi methods of torture; the various escape routes from Zeeland and Jutland, and the receipt of weapons from Danes in Sweden; the cooperation between the resistance and the Danish Royal Air Force; the role of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1944 as directed by the Special Operation Executive (SOE); the efforts to rescue downed Allied airmen and returning them to safety in Sweden; an individual who was active in the finances of the resistance; and the mining of Jutland’s west coast and the related visit of Field Marshall Irwin Rommel.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Henny Sundo
Peter Ilsøe
Alexandra M. Isles
interview:  1994 June 09
1 videocassette (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Chalice Well Productions
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:52:16
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