I have noticed that this blog has a tendency to extreme gloominess, or to be precise, a tendency to spread gloominess amongst others whilst remaining, itself, the ever-cheerful chappie of Blogdom. [It also has a tendency to witter on - so get on with it!- Ed.] Right! Point taken! So here's some Good News even if the cobwebs had to be blown of it.
Denmark, and the Danes, are a country and a people I have always liked. This might have arisen from a young love affair with a Danish girl many years ago but also, possibly, from my instant appreciation of schnapps! [You're wittering again! - Ed.] Yes, right, well, the other day I read a fascinating piece in Der Spiegel on the subject of how the Danes saved their Jews during five years of Nazi occupation. Two Germans stand out in this story and I can't help feeling that there is a great novel/stage play/film waiting to be made based on their lives.
The first is a man named Georg Duckwitz, a convinced Nazi from the early '30s who ended up in a high administrative role in occupied Denmark. For a variety of reasons, perhaps Denmark's civilised society being one of them, he gradually dropped his Nazi beliefs. The other man, Werner Best, was also a convinced Nazi but the article implies that his beliefs were driven as much by self-interest and the chances of advancement rather than fanaticism. Anyway, by 1943 he already sensed that Hitler's mad adventure was on the way out and so, despite being the top man in Denmark, he turned a blind eye to Duckwitz's efforts to save the Danish Jews. This operation which involved whole swathes of the non-Jewish Danish population succeeded in spiriting nearly 8,000 Jews across the Baltic to Sweden.
It's a terrific true story but I can't help thinking it would make a tremendously good fictionalised tale in the hands of, say, Alan Furst.
I am away until tomorrow evening.