Saturday, 7 April 2018

Greenland 1970 - Liberation

A small group of high ranking German officers stood in the well-lit war room, all focused intently on the map laid out before them. One of the officers leaned forward and placed a marker over the country of Denmark. There was a murmur of assent among the officers. The decision to invade Denmark had been made. The date was 17 December 1939.

The above is, of course, pure fiction. But a similar scenario may have taken place in Berlin on 17 December 1939 when the Germans decided to invade and occupy Denmark. Then on 9 April 1940 Operation Weserübung was launched, and Denmark became a de facto protectorate of Germany. But it wasn't until 29 August 1943 - some three and a half years later - that Germany placed Denmark under direct military occupation. Aside from being under the thumb of an invading force, most Danish institutions continued to function in a similar manner as before - for a while, at least. The Danish government and the king remained in the country in an uneasy co-existence with the Germans. But when the Germans demanded a sentence of the death penalty for those found guilty of sabotage, the Danish government stepped down in protest. Despite the fact that the German occupation of Denmark was relatively civil in comparison to other areas of occupation, over 3,000 Danes died during this time. Denmark remained under German control until the Allied victory om 5 May 1945. Celebrations on the streets of Denmark and Greenland ensued. 


On 4 May 1970 Greenland issued a lovely stamp to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Denmark from German occupation. To create this stamp, master engraver Czeslaw Slania again teamed up with designer J. Rosing. This stamp depicts a moment of celebration on the streets of the Greenlandic town of Ilulissat (Danish: Jakobshavn). You will note that yet again, the artwork n this design is playful with a hint of childish cartoon-like simplicity. 

Until next time...

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