Shadows of Yesterday


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Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects.

The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.

~ Elie Wiesel KBE - Romanian-born Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate (1986)


Much has been written about Occupied Europe in WWII and the harrowing pain and suffering endured by the countless victims of that so-called Great Humanitarian - Man.

I have no first-hand knowledge of the experience - being born at WWII's end - but I have been told many tales of an ordinary Danish family and how dramatically their lives changed, when their tiny country of Denmark was occupied overnight by German troops in 1940.

I have chosen the anniversary of the capitulation of the German troops to the Allies - on 5th May, 1945 - to begin the release of this chronicle of one small family's wartime experiences. After those sad years of deprivation and fear, the people all over Occupied Europe were free. The joy was unimaginable - as was the relief to be survivors - against all odds.

This is my proud tribute to two of the finest 'ordinary' heroes I've known - my parents-in-law, Wanda and Harry Larsen. How blessed to have such as these two amongst our role models. I am thankful to have the skill to be able put together just a few of the wonderful tales of this testing period of their lives.


Copyright note: This is a Wattpad book by Christine Larsen, fully protected by All Rights Reserved copyright. If you are reading this elsewhere, it has been taken without my permission and I/Wattpad can take legal action. The only exception is here on Tablo Publishing where I have chosen to also share my story.

© 2017 Christine Larsen




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PART ONE - The Nightmare Begins


Bizarre - the strange beauty waiting to be found in the shadows of yesterday.

Unexpected shades of light and dark eternally highlight the best and worst of mankind.    


                                                                                     -   Christine Larsen 2017


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The Shadows Deepen Swiftly




Good morning... or is it? This is your local community commentator, Kristen Hillner, with some thoughts on the traumatic events presently confronting our small country of Denmark. To be precise, our small enemy-occupied country of Denmark.


I’m beginning with a thought I found and wish to share. It made me hold my head quite a few notches higher, and I hope it does the same for you.


Fathers throughout history have prayed for sons who'd be strong enough to understand and accept their weaknesses and find strength to face their fears; to hold heads high in defeat, and be fair and forgiving in victory.                      Christine Larsen - 2020


Danish fathers in the Occupation of Denmark are no exception. They can only hope their own acts of defiance will inspire their sons' courage, as guttural announcements with bald statements naming the latest countries to fall victim to Hitler's war machine fill their ears.


Here is a small back-peddle to that fateful morning of 9th April, 1940 when the control of Denmark was wrenched from our hands, and our misery began.  On the quarter hour our normally reliable radio station’s regular broadcast was hijacked; the streets filled with painful messages from the loudspeakers installed secretively on most street corners overnight.


The unwilling listeners couldn't believe their ears; puzzled faces turned abruptly into shock as the whispers began. Surrendered? Simply surrendered? Must be someone's idea of a joke... surely? Some 'tut-tut-ed' in the belief they understood and empathised. Many shook their heads in absolute disbelief, some in anger... while older, more world-wise faces wore sad acceptance. Their tightened mouths and eyes showed they already possessed a knowledge; an understanding what 'Occupation by the Enemy' could mean.


In a miserable six hours the unthinkable happened - WWII's briefest campaign found our proud little country, Denmark, under Hitler's iron fist. The Occupation forces rolled through our birthright in one shameful night. A concerted takeover by land, sea and air was simple in a country so small, with our population of less than four million. Bravely accepting their fighting limitations, Danish leaders chose to trust the German vows to occupy and rule with the lightest hands and the least disruption to normal life IF they received full co-operation in return. Hitler promised.


Soon it would be known by the general populace, that the true drawcard was Norway's major iron ore deposits and well-equipped shipping ports, tucked safely in the endless fjords amongst the steepest mountains. This was  the glittering prize, to be achieved at minimal cost. Denmark was simply in the way. With its border along northern Germany, it quickly became the obvious choice to control the small and scattered Danish defence units and forge ahead to the real goal. What a bonus replenishing supplies from the productive local farmers along the way would be.


In a mere six hours, Denmark knelt under Hitler's rule - or so he believed. The country? Yes. The Danish people's hearts and souls? Never! As we well know, fellow countrymen - we kneel only for our King Christian X.


As the war machine rolled into town on that first day, the Danes lined the streets - at first timidly. The thunderous night of numerous war planes flying long and low above their cities and homes had left them quaking in mortal terror  in their beds. But then there'd been no bombing, so the tremulous hope began in the hearts of the people; maybe they would be well cared for; maybe their co-operation would buy precious time. The Germans said so. But the Germans said many things, actually.

A reluctant awe was born and grew, along with fear of the uniforms and metal helmets and the military discipline filling the once peaceful thoroughfares. An amazing array of weaponry followed those heavily armed soldiers marching stoically and threateningly to their own beat; closely followed by army tanks looming high over the bystanders, rumbling threateningly along on their great mechanical treads through streets long accustomed to bicycle wheels and feet.


Other crowds filled with the identical awe and fear were repeated at the docks as the warships and submarines emerged, complete with their uniformed and strictly disciplined crews... and at the airports, where spectators first viewed the fighter planes designed to strike terror into hearts and souls, and countless other planes with foot soldiers in unimaginable numbers pouring from the great maw of the troop carriers.


And so here we find ourselves today, just .... weeks into this war. History does repeat itself, time and time again - with truth eternally the first victim of war. This small country's Occupation by the enemy has presented no exception. As reality emerges, we, the people begin to revolt. Our ways and means are amazing and I am proud to be able to record just some of the precious memories and hearsay from the witnesses and surviving victims.


With pride and unshakeable belief in the value of my fellow countrymen, I present some of their stories.


Kristen Hiller

A Voice for the People.


The Danish Gazette (or Journal)




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When Yellow was Pure Gold

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The Hungry Years

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Small Matters

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War on the Farm

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PART TWO - Fightback

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Acts of Defiance

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*Humour in the Midst of Horror

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