Kim Malthe-Bruun

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Kim Malthe-Bruun (8 July 1923 – 6 April 1945) was a member of the Danish resistance captured and killed during World War II.

He was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Canada. At the age of nine, Kim, his six-year-old sister Ruth, and his mother moved back to Denmark, where she was originally from. He grew up a peasant, but by the time he was seventeen, he became a merchant seaman. When Nazi Germany invaded Denmark, he joined the Danish resistance movement at the age of 21. He used his skills as a sailor to transport arms for the resistance.

On 19 December 1944, Kim was caught by the Gestapo in an apartment on Classen Street with two friends. He was unarmed and carrying his own identification papers. He was sent to the Vestre Fængsel Prison soon after his arrest. The first cell he stayed in was Cell 252, in the German Section. On Wednesday, 21 February, Kim was sent to the Police Headquarters for questioning. He did not return to Vestre until Wednesday, 28 February. The next day he was placed in solitary confinement and forbidden to write letters.

In a letter to his girlfriend, he stated the cells he had been in so far:

  • 19 December 1944 - 2 February 1945, Cell 252
  • 2 February 1945, at 8 o'clock - Cell 585 (he called a "dark cell")
  • 7 February - 11 February - Frøslev
  • 12 February - 11 March - Cells 286, 284, 282, 276, and 270 (in Vestre Fængsel)
  • 1 March - 2 March - Cell 586
  • 5 March - 12 March - Cell 50 (Police Headquarters)
  • 15 March- ? - Cell 37 (Police Headquarters)

On 6 April 1945, Kim Malthe-Bruun was executed. After the war, his mother published a book about him, titled Heroic Heart or Kim.. It contained his diary entries and many of his letters home to both her and his girlfriend Hanne.

Lois Lowry is said to have based the character Peter in Number the Stars after Kim, possibly due to his courage against the Nazis. In the Afterword she wrote "...seeing the quiet determination in his boyish eyes made me determined, too, to tell his story, and that of all the Danish people who shared his dreams.She ends the Afterword with a quote to his mother from one of his last letters from jail.


Heroic Heart: the Diary and Letters of Kim Malthe-Bruun: Random House, 1955. Edited by Vibeke Malthe-Bruun, translated by Gerry Bothmer.

Number the Stars: Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1989. Lois Lowry