Hvidsten group

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Hvidsten group
Hvidsten gruppen
Participant in the Second World War
Active 1943 - March 1944
Leaders Marius Fiil
Headquarters Hvidsten Inn
Area of operations Between Randers and Mariager
Strength circa 16
Part of Danish resistance movement
Opponents Nazi Germany German Occupying Forces
Memorial stone for the Danish resistance group Hvidstengruppen

The Hvidsten group (Danish: Hvidstengruppen) was a Danish resistance group during World War II named after the Hvidsten Inn between Randers and Mariager in Jutland where it was formed.

History[edit]

The Hvidsten Group became connected to the resistance movement through Ole Giesler, a captain of the Special Operations Executive who helped connect British weapons drops to the Danish Resistance. Marius Fiil, the owner of the Inn and the leader of the Hvidsten Group met with Giesler on March 12, 1943 following an SOE drop that had occurred the night before in Trinderup Heath east of Mariager that had delivered with 12-14 containers of explosives and weapons to supply the resistance in Jutland. That evening, Fils, with the help of his neighbour Andreas Stenz, retrieved the weapons and eventually brought them to Mustard Point, which was chosen by Hvidsten Group as a receiving site and became one of the most reliable during the resistance effort.

The Hvidsten Group received many drops during the resistance signalled via "greetings" at the end of the BBC news broadcasts with the encoded message "Greetings to Elias - Listen again" and delivered via British Halifax planes. The Hvidsten group was responsible for pick-up at Allestrupgårds Heath and delivery of and explosives to resistance groups like BOPA and Holger Danske to be used for sabotage of railways, locomotive sheds, bridges and factories in use by the German occupation.[1]

Barricades erected during a general strike, Nørrebro, Copenhagen, July 1944

The Hvidsten Group and several other resistance groups were informed on to the Gestapo by Jacob Jensen, a British paratrooper employed by the Special Operations Executive after he was captured on 13 December 1943 in Aarhus and interrogated under torture. On March 11, 1944, in the early morning, the Gestapo surrounded Hvidsten Inn and the majority of the group were arrested. Their arrest was reported by the resistance newspaper De frie Danske on 18 March 1944.[2]

The following month De frie Danske reported that several arrestees from Hvidsten including Marius Fiil had been transferred from Randers to Vestre Fængsel.[3]

Eight of its members were sentenced to death on June 26 and executed by firing squad in Ryvangen on June 29, 1944, three weeks after D-day.

On 15 July 1944 De frie Danske reported on the execution of Fiil, his son and son in law, the life sentence of his older daughter and the two-year sentence of his younger daughter and compared Fiil to Svend Gønge and Niels Ebbesen while lamenting the profound loss of Fiil's widow.[4] News of the executions contributed to escalation of the general strikes happening in Copenhagen. Six months later the January 1945 issue of the resistance newspaper Frit Danmark (Free Denmark) reported that on 29 June the previous year Fiil and seven other named members of the Hvidsten group had been executed.[5]

Memorial stone placed in Ryvangen for fallen resistance members including those of the Hvidsten group

Members of the group and their fates[edit]

The following are the eight members of Hvidsten Group that were executed:

The following members were sentenced to life in prison:

  • Kirstine Fiil - Marius Fiil's daughter
  • Jens Stenz - a farmer
  • Barner Hyldegaard Andersen - a driver

The following members were sentenced a prison sentence of four years:

  • Anders Venning Steensgaard - served as a driver for the group. He was later moved to concentration camp, but survived.
  • Knud Peter Buchhorn Christensen - a grocer.

The following members were sentenced a prison sentence of two years:

  • Gerda Søvang Fiil - daughter of Marius and Gudrun Fiil.

Other members:

  • Andreas Stenz - fled to Sweden
  • Svend Egon Andersen - as of 2014 living in Jutland.

Memorial[edit]

The bodies of the eight executed members of Hvidsten Group were found in Ryvangen, and in the summer of 1945 their remains were taken home to Hvidsten and buried 100 meters north of Hvidsten Inn, where there is a memorial grove and erected a monument with the following inscription:

Rough translation of the full inscription on the Memorial stone reads:

Deed for Denmark brought this day.
Bravely acted, true until death.
Let light shine in the red of morning,
They gave their lives for Denmark's cause.

S. P. KRISTENSEN * 20. 8. 1887
ALBERT IVERSEN * 28. 9. 1896
NIELS N. KJÆR * 2. 4. 1903
JOH KJÆR HANSEN * 2. 4. 1907
HENNING ANDERSEN * 16. 7. 1917
MARIUS FIIL * 21. 6. 1893
PETER SØRENSEN * 8. 6. 1919
NIELS FIIL * 12. 6. 1920

1944 on the 29 June
They fell before German bullets
Precious is their memory to Denmark
Erected in the year 1945

Portrayal in the media[edit]

  • The Hvidsten group is portrayed in the 2012 Danish drama film Hvidsten Gruppen (This Life).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hvidsten Group Historical Page". Randers Municipal Site. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Utrolig mange Arrestationer" [Incredibly many arrests]. De frie Danske (in Danish). 18 March 1944. p. 10. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "ARRESTEREDE" [ARRESTED]. De frie Danske (in Danish). 23 April 1944. p. 10. Retrieved 24 November 2014. "Kroejer Marius Fiil med flere fra Hvidsten er blevet overført fra Randers til Vestre" 
  4. ^ "EN FOLKELIG SKIKKELSE, ET HISTORISK EKSEMPEL PAA JYLLANDS SEJGHED UNDER FREMMEDHEREDØMMET" [A POPULAR FIGURE, A HISTORICAL EXAMPLE OF JUTLAND'S TOUGHNESS UNDER FOREIGN RULE]. De frie Danske (in Danish). 15 July 1944. p. 7. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "29. Juni - 8 Frihedskæmpere henrettet" [29 June - 8 freedom fighters executed]. Frit Danmark (in Danish). January 1945. p. 9. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  6. ^ This Life at the Internet Movie Database