mandag den 7. maj 2012

Challenge Week 19: Freedom Mani

On May 4th, 1945 at half past eight in the evening all Danes were sitting behind dark curfew curtains, listening to their Radio Freedom, BBC. During the occupation it had become the most reliable source for news about the war because the Germans, though not too heavy handed about it, did censor the media. It had also become a broadcast that sent coded messages to the freedom fighters.

After five minutes the speaker turned off his microphone, a colleague had just entered the studio to hand him a note that said that German troops in the Netherlands and Denmark were going to surrender to Field Marshall Montgomery at 8 the following morning. Though he had no confirmation at hand, Johannes G. Sørensen didn't think twice but turned on the mic and announced the happy news.

If you follow my fellow 52 Week Challenge bloggers, you might have noticed that they are doing floral manis this week. Since 4th of July is an American holiday and I am a Dane and this week's start date is so close to a day we have a long standing tradition of commemorating here in Denmark, I decided from the get-go of the challenge to tweak my list to make room for this.

I had actually planned to write the date and year on my ring and index fingers, but I totally forgot about it which I am SO bummed about!!!

The candle on my pinky details the tradition for lighting candles and placing thmn in the window on the night of May 4th. Since there had been a five year long curfew set by the Germans, a need and sudden inspiration drove many to pull down their dark curtains and burn them in the streets, lighting candles and placing them in the window sill. To this very day burning candles can be seen in many a Danish window, if people are at home, that is.

Unfortunately my top coat dragged the polish :(

On my middle finger is the freedom fighter arm band. Originally made in 1942 and meant for last-minute army draftees to have an emergency uniform(as mentioned in the Geneva Convention of 1907) and a way to signify them as legal combatants in case the German occupation should collapse , it was made from standard military cape cloth with a red and white band sewn on in the colours of the Danish flag. A small metal emblem engraved with with the 3 lions of the Danish National Crest was also attached.

But when the Danish military was dissolved August 29, 1943 the army started to assemble illegal groups in coordination with the civilian resistance movement, and these arm bands soon became a joint symbol of resistance.

And on my thumb the Danish flag :)

And this is how my left hand looked. 

Each year on May 4th there is a celebration at Mindelunden, a memorial park in Copenhagen that used to be a military shooting range. During the occupation the Germans overran it and used it as a place to execute freedom fighters.

Some of the nearby military barracks have been converted to kinder gardens, and one is where my children spend their days. Right next to it are one of the other shooting ranges that were used by the Germans, and next to the memorial stone there were flowers and candles today. Both Liv and Silja asked me why there were candles and flowers there, so I explained as well as I could, considering the girls are just four and a half years old. I don't think they understood it all, but at least now there has been sown a seed of knowledge of our collective past.