Thursday, September 09, 2010

COMMUNICATING IN NAZI-OCCUPIED DENMARK

With Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, upon us, my recent visit to Copenhagen’s Danish Resistance Museum is top of mind.

There were not only the challenges of religious freedom and Jewish survival in the period of 1940-45 in Denmark during the Nazi occupation, but the difficulties facing those in the resistance movement as they endeavored to communicate with each other and motivate support among the Danish population, in the face of limited freedom of speech and the press.

I discovered that there were some 20 to 30 publications — monthly and weekly underground newspapers and newsletters — that were circulated among several hundred thousand Danes. One of the early publications, Frit Danmark (“Free Denmark”), a joint venture of the Communists and Conservatives (it is rare for the interests of those two groups to coincide), was a monthly printed on a press hidden in a nail factory. It was soon supplemented by a weekly newsletter. Prior to such publications, illegal flyers and chain letters were used to communicate.

In the Spring of 1944, the resistance movement conducted several propaganda actions in cinemas, according to the Museum. Films were interrupted and proclamations played from a record. Sometimes satirical slides were shown.

The purpose of all of these channels was “to communicate underground news and foster an understanding among the Danish population of the resistance movement,” according to Museum commentary. After working in communications, many resistance workers went on to hold other major jobs in the movement.

The goal of the resistance movement was to preserve Danish freedoms and its way of life. The number of Danish Nazis was low before the war and remained low throughout the occupation. The resistance grew in strength and was, of course, ultimately victorious.


Technorati Tags: Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, Danish Resistance Museum, Denmark, Danish Nazis, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

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