Reflections on the German Occupation of Denmark During the Second
[The following are exerpts from a letter written by
Signe Bjorner in 1945, after the end of the Second World War, to Anna
George deMille. Signe Bjorner was editor of the Danish Georgist organ
Grundskyld, and the mother of Bue Bjorner, president of the
International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade. This
edited letter is reprinted from the Henry George News,
"Indeed we are grateful that
we may [now] talk freely
everywhere; sleep at night without hearing the machine gun patrols and
wondering who they were after; wake up early and know the racket at
the back door is only the milkman with his bottles.
"On that 29th of August, which seemed to be the turning point of
Denmark's fate - after the point blank refusal to give in further to
the Germans - Bue was, among the first to be arrested by them. They
came at five o'clock in the morning, waking everybody with their
brutal clatter so that the children were horrified, and drove Bue off
to no one knew where.
"Later we learned that he was only one of a hundred -- taken to
a camp, not executed, as the captors had made us believe. But for
eight weeks no one knew what was to be their fate.
"The raid on the Jews was anticipated and they were warned to
get away while they could. Sweden was wonderful and took them in. My
sons and son-in-law, Leif Hendie, organized routes and smuggled
thousands safely over - they were just one crew out of many. Finally a
traitor betrayed Leif and our own police took him to Sweden, where he
continued the rescue; work, and where Karin, his wife, | joined him
later. She, too, was in the 'illegal' work up to the ears, and a few
days after she got away, the Gestapo searched their house. This was
typical of what happened to thousands of families; in fact, no one was
secure at all.
"We had two visits from the Gestapo, as we were constantly
housing patriots who were not safe in their own homes. What stories I
could tell you! Of the American pilots for whom Dan Bjorner had to
raid the wardrobes of his friends to get civilian clothes, how they
were shown the city, right under the noses of our green jailors, and
finally brought safely over, etc. But anyone can tell you exciting
tales - not all with happy endings. So many, many of the best were
taken away, tortured, starved, killed"
and how many more
fine American and English boys!
"The Folkes, too, were visited by the Gestapo. Dan Folke had to
go into exile, to Sweden.
Well, that's all over and we breathe
"You will be pleased to know that the 9th Danish edition of
Henry George's 'Condition of Labor' was published last fall. Our work
has been going on quietly and steadily. F. Folke is still chairman of
the Danish Henry George Society. We send out GRUNDSKYLD right along,
and new books once in a while. The boldest trick I did was to send out
a book by five authors called 'Folkestyrets Veje Ude Og Hjemme'
(Democracy Abroad and at Home). There were chapters on ancient Greece,
England, Switzerland, the United States and Denmark; that about the
United States being written by me. ...There have been new editions of
Jacob Lange's 'Social Economy' and several smaller books. This autumn
there will be a general valuation of the land, and we hope there will
be some good legislation after the election.
"The war is really over and no more massacres will be necessary!
I just cannot write about our reaction to the atomic bomb. It is so
terrible and so great. Is humanity ripe for such power? Or will it
finally annihilate itself and blow the whole earth to atoms? If the
mentality of Henry George had conquered, what a golden age our earth
would be coming into now. But since it hasn't, will we be given the
time to practice the brotherhood of man?
"It is as though we, George's followers, haven't been able to
keep up with the progress of material forces -- we are not great
enough or we haven't worked hard enough -what? Sometimes you see quiet
movement suddenly burst into action, a slow force has proved its
revolutionary strength, proved that right is .might. How I pray that
it will come like that: a sudden light!"
A copy of the complete letter from Mrs. Bjorner I sent to her son
Hans, now living in Pasadena, and Hans Bjorner writes back to me:
"It is hard to understand how Henry George people in Denmark
could do their work for our cause so comparatively in the open. Of
course, when 'liberal' people do not realize that Henry George's way
is the only way to true liberty, how could we expect the Nazis to know
it? It will be our task to teach them that, and not to attempt to
uproot their ideas about the master race. They will find out what they
are and what they are not when they compete with other peoples in
freedom. For one who has read Henry George, there is nothing so very
strange about their ways. They are just one step ahead of some other
countries - on the way down.