Korning - Speech by Anders Straarup
on 4 May 2011 På
10 MAY 2011
See Photos and About memorial ceremonies and speeches Korning * Bøgballe * Aale. Also Thanks to the Allied airmen see photo and text.
We are gathered here to show that we are
delighted that the war ended the way it did in 1945. We are not neutral
observers who can analyse the events as if it were just a game. It was an
attempt to expand a new way of living where the state was to manage
everything and where all thoughts were to be regimented.
The Germans expanded to the neighbouring countries and Denmark was occupied for more than 5 years. Fortunately the British supported by particularly Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders fought against the Germans. It was absolutely decisive that also the Americans in December 1941 after Pearl Harbour went to war.
The allied fought most of the battle, but we can be happy and proud that also many Danes in different ways joined the fight against a system for which we had no sympathy.
I have been invited here because I am particularly interested in the allied planes and airmen that came down in Denmark during World War II. I write about them on the internet on my website www.airmen.dk. In connection with planes that crashed in Bøgballe og Aale I contacted Arne Rosenkvist and others in the area. One of the 460 planes with more than 3,000 airmen that I am writing about crashed at Hostrup some kilometres south east of Hedensted on 12 September 1941. It was at a time when the Germans were still moving forward and the Americans were still neutral. I mention the episode to give a picture of the time before the Resistance movement really got under way. The plane at Hostrup had problems, so the crew of 4 men bailed out and the plane crashed into a field. Danish police deployed many men to catch the airmen, and the 3 of them were soon caught, but Philson, the last airman, had disappeared.
4 days after the crash he was found in the brake compartment of a goods van which was standing at Daugård railway station. The railwayman called the police, and that was the end of the escape. (See Google Map p047 Hampden AE300.)
Before the many policemen were
to go home, a dinner was arranged at Daugård inn. Police Superintendent
Palle Høybye, the leading police officer, invited the newly-caught airman to
this dinner. He accepted.
In 1946 there were 1,171 allied airmen buried in Denmark, and we still have 1,030 buried here. Then 190 airmen buried in other countries must be added and more than 900 with no known grave. There were 610 Prisoners of War. 92 airmen were helped to Sweden and 57 were sailed to England. I have 3,054 airmen in the database. (Airmen 1946)
I do not know
right now the number of Danes who lost their lives due to acts of war. 193
were executed by the Germans, but many others died in other ways. Who were
in the Danish Resistance Movement? It is hard to define, but on 1 May 2011
the national register of people in the resistance movement contained 70,747
For centuries we have had the Dannebrog as our symbol of unity. The first allied airman, Donald V. Smith, who reached Sweden in April 1943, once walked about, tired and hungry, on the beach north west of Helsingør. Then he spotted a house flying the Danish flag, so he surmised they were true Danes. He knocked at the door, and it appeared that he was right. He got help, and there is a long story about how he came to Sweden. (First Airman to Sweden)
We can rejoice that the Denmark Society still works for the Dannebrog as our national symbol.
We can also enjoy living in a free country where we are free to choose between a number of politicians and political parties who have very different views of the future of Denmark, and where we can involve ourselves as much as we want to.
We can be grateful that the allied and the resistance movement fought and made an effort, so the dictatorship lost and Denmark became a free country. All of them fought in the same war.
I now lay this wreath from 5 associations in Korning to commemorate all the people who fell in the fight for the freedom of their own country and also for the freedom of Denmark.