WWII – Where did the Germans live?

Rydhave is a villa located on Strandvejen in Charlottenlund. The villa is used today as a home for U.S. ambassador to Denmark.

(Foto: Dines Bogø).

The villa was built in 1885 by Teglværk owner Emil Edvard Schackenburg (1818-94) and his wife Karoline. The house was designed by Jens Vilhelm Petersen (1851-1931). The house was sold to Carl Drost (1852-1926) in 1914. Christian G. Hansen (1863-1941) owned the house from 1918 to 1941. The villa was taken over in 1942 by Germany’s Danish attorney general in Denmark, Dr. Werner Best. After the war, the villa was taken over by the Danish state. From 1946, Rydhave served as a residence for the US ambassador to Denmark.

Rommel visited Best at Rydhave 9. december 1943.

Best (right) with Erik Scavenius, Danish PM 1942-43.
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Palace Hotel is a residential hotel on the eastern side of City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark. Influenced by the Art Nouveau style, the red brick building was designed by Anton Rosen and completed in 1910.
Dr. Werner Best lived at Palace Hotel 5. november 1942 till he moved to Rydhave.
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Dagmarhus, Vestre Boulevard 12 where Dr. Werner Best had his office.
Günther Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Pancke (1 May 1899 – 17 August 1973) was a German SS functionary who served as Higher SS and Police Leader of Denmark.
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Günther Pancke here with SS Obergruppenführer Werner Best (Best left and Pancke right).
Günther Pancke lived at “Villa Søro”, Strandvejen 190
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(Foto: Dines Bogø)
During the German occupation of Denmark, the Gestapo turned the Silkeborg Bad (Silkeborg Baths), which had until then served as the municipal sanatorium, into its Danish headquarters. The remnants of German bunkers can still be seen today, and one of these bunkers is now a public museum.
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Hermann Konstantin Albert Julius von Hanneken (5 January 1890 – 22 July 1981) was a German General of the Infantry who was supreme commander of the German forces in Denmark from 29 September 1942 to January 1945.

On 12 October 1942 he took over the duties of Erich Lüdke as commander of the German forces in Denmark. He was responsible for defending the invasion and took a tougher line against the Danish resistance movement, which brought him into conflict with Werner Best.

In January 1945 he was released from his command and replaced by Georg Lindemann. He was accused of corruption and by the German National-martial sentenced 8 years imprisonment. He was, however, pardoned by Adolf Hitler, who thought that they could not afford the luxury of letting von Hanneken sit in jail. Instead, von Hanneken was demoted to Major and sent to the front. At the end of the war he became an American prisoner. From there, he was extradited to Denmark, where in 1948 he was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

At the Court he was acquitted on 9 May 1949. He was expelled from Denmark and lived thereafter retracted until his death in 1981.

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Georg Lindemann (8 March 1884 – 25 September 1963) was a German general during World War II. He commanded the 18th Army during the Soviet Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive.

Both Hermann von Hanneken and Georg Lindemann stayed at Silkeborg Bad in Jylland (Jutlandic peninsula, West Denmark).

Silkeborg Bunker Museum.


The Hotel d’Angleterre is one of the first deluxe hotels in the world. Situated in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, it is located on Kongens Nytorv opposite Charlottenborg, the Royal Opera and Nyhavn. While its history dates back to 1755, it has been in its current building since a fire, in 1795, damaged the previous building beyond repair.  From 1872 to 1875, the building was significantly extended and refurbished by the architects, Vilhelm Dahlerup and Georg E.W. Møller  The hotel has long been considered the most prestigious and elegant hotel in the city. Its name is French and means the “England Hotel”.

The Hotel d’Angleterre re-opened in May 2013 following extensive restorations. The new d’Angleterre has 30 rooms and 60 suites. It also has a 1-star Michelin restaurant, “Marchal”, led by executive chef, Andreas Bagh, a cocktail and champagne bar as well as a spa and health club. 


During the occupation 1940-45, it was seized by the German Wehrmacht.

Which uses it for the accommodation of the higher officers.

Relateret billede

Hotel Phoenix Copenhagen is a hotel located at the corner of Bredgade (No. 37) and Dronningens Tværgade (No. 1-3) in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first Hotel Phoenix opened at the site in 1848 but closed when it was confiscated by the Germans during World War II. The building was after the war converted into a new headquarters for the Danish Communist Party and the newspaper Land og Folk. The building was acquired by Arp-Hansen Hotel Group in 1990 and reopened as a hotel the following year.. It is mentioned in Jules Verne‘s Journey to the Center of the Earth,

Hotel Phoenix Copenhagen has 213 rooms and suites. Facilities include Brasserie Murdoch’s Books & Ale, meeting and conference rooms and fitness centre.

Kriegsmarine had its headquarters at Hotel Phoenix.

German soldiers on guard at the entrance to the confiscated hotel in 1945

Luftwaffe Skanderborg (Foto: Skanderborg Bunkerne)

Luftwaffe moved their Danish headquarters to Skanderborg in 1944 where about 4000 Danes lived.

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Some Germans lived at Olsens Hotel (Højskolehotellet)

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Others lived at Central-Hotellet (higher rank, I guess?)

When the Luftwaffe in 1944 established its headquarters in Skanderborg, the soldiers stayed day and night at Sølund and in the areas of Dyrehaven, and unlike the soldiers of the army, they only rarely came into the city itself.
In addition to the many daily military routines, very little is known about what they were doing.

The officers who served in a relatively peaceful and secure area have cared for their daily work and participated in various leisure activities in and around the officer’s fair, where the daily meals were also consumed.
On festive occasions, there has probably also been a bottle of Jägermeister – the spicy German bitter, launched in 1935 – on the table.


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Rathlousdal Gods

The main building was from the 1770s, but the side wings were demolished in 1910 after a fire and replaced with the present mansions. The remainder of the original main building was demolished in 1950. From 1942 to 1945 the main building had been seized by the German occupying forces and it had worn the buildings. A half-timbered farm has previously been on site. From Odder, an impressive avenue of 200-year-old lime trees leads to the estate.
Rathlousdal Gods is 1240 hectares with Lundhof.

One of the current mansions of Rathlousdal.

In May 1940, five trucks and 14 German soldiers arrived in the small village of Fensten about 10 km southeast of Odder. Here they set up a surveillance post to monitor Allied air traffic and maritime traffic in the Kattegat. In the first two and a half years of the occupation, they were the only permanent stationed German troops in the Odder region. The first major troop strength arrived in October 1942. These were 200 men who were staying at Rathlousdal Gods. From this point on, and to the last German soldiers, that left in July 1945, there was a constant and steadily increasing number of quartered troops in the Odder region.

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Immediately after the first German troops had arrived at Rathlousdal, the Hotel Phønix in Odder was partly seized as German headquarters, which it continued to be during the remainder of the occupation.

Similarly, the city’s other three hotels were quickly involved, and later the turn came to the city’s schools, so the lessons could only be continued in individual rooms. The assembly houses and the railway warehouses were also used, and the Germans also moved into the courthouse after the police internation in September 1944.


Centralhotellet in Odder

Saksild Badehotel

On 9 April 1940, the Aarhusians woke up at 5 to the sound of buzzing airplanes. Formations of German planes flew over the city in a northern direction.

At 6.30 Aarhus Police received a message from colleagues in South Jutland that “German army masses had crossed the Danish border.” In Aarhus, there were fierce rumours that a whole swarm of German machines had landed on the military practice terrain at Skejby Mark.

Police Commissioner P. N. Pedersen took action and went with three cops to investigate the matter. However, at Skejby Mark, only one minor machine had made an emergency landing at around 7. It had run out of fuel, and the landing had been quite eventless.  The machine and the two crew members were unharmed. The police took control of the situation and set up a barrier around the machine, so the many curious did not get too close.

German invasion of Denmark (1940)

A little out in the afternoon, three smaller Kriegsmarine vessels arrived at the port of Aarhus. Shortly afterwards, two German naval officers met with the port engineer and ordered that all traffic from the port be stopped immediately. At the same time, they informed the Port engineer that one of the next few days would be a German port captain to direct the port’s traffic in the future. That was all that happened on 9. April 1940. Aarhus was occupied – without even having been fired as much as a single shot.

First on 10. In April, the Germans officially contacted the city through a Major von Heesch of the Luftwaffe, who announced that he needed accommodation for 30 officers and about 200 men. Hotel Regina was seized as offices to the unit and the officers were temporarily placed in Hotel Royal.


Front facade of Hotel Royal

Hotel Royal is a historic hotel in the heart of AarhusDenmark, in the central Indre By neighborhood. It overlooks Aarhus Cathedral and the large Store Torv square. The hotel is among the highest ranked hotels in Denmark with a history as the most prestigious in the city.

Hotel Regina Århus

Ny ejer af ikonisk Aarhus-bygning - Erhverv - JP Aarhus

During the occupation there was a large influx of German soldiers in Aarhus. Some stayed here for quite a short time, while others were here for extended periods. Both the Air Force, the Navy and the Army had key functions to sustain the German occupation of Aarhus.

Aarhus was strategically important for Germany doing WWII

The reason for this was that from autumn 1942 the port of Aarhus was the main port for unloading German troop transports to and from Norway. Aarhus was thus transitby for many German soldiers. By the end of the war there were approximately 400,000 German soldiers in Norway, and although all did not necessarily come through Aarhus, there was no doubt that Aarhus was a traffic focal point for the Germans, who sailed troops back and forth on a weekly basis. The German soldiers on transit often did not stay for more than a few days or weeks in Aarhus, but they nevertheless had a strong presence in the cityscape.

Even soldiers from the infamous Waffen-SS came through Aarhus. This was noted, among other things, in an espionage report of December 1944, which found that they had gone ashore and marched towards the German barracks on Skanderborgvej. These troops were often on their way on leave or for reconstruction and came directly from the Finnish front.

The increased German presence in the city had noticeable consequences in more than one way. The Germans increasingly began to seize every building they could get near. Residential buildings, hotels, assembly houses, hospitals and schools were all taken into use as the occupation progressed. The vast majority of seizures were to be used for the accommodation of troops, but it did not reach. The Germans therefore also erected a large number of barracks in different parts of the city.

Doing these seizures the Germans took in particular, the schools which did suffer from a rough German treatment. The German soldiers committed vandalism, stole fixtures and used shelving, chairs, and catch as fuel. What the motives for their behavior were is not unambiguous, and the causes are to some extent as different as the soldiers were many. Common to the soldiers was that they came to a pretty much peaceful paradise compared to the front. Some of these, however, had a difficult time to break away from the front, which was just expressed in the schools, but also in the urban space.

The considerable and massive German presence led to frictions and clashes between Danish civilians and German soldiers.

At the same time, however, it was far from all German soldiers who ended up in clashes with the civilian population. Most of them tried to make the best of their stay in Aarhus. They knew they were living in the city on borrowed time and that the front service was just around the corner. Some German soldiers even had good relations with Danish families, although the vast majority lived with a cool distance between themselves and the Danish population.


Nyboder Skole is located at Øster Voldgade 15 in Østerbro, Copenhagen, and is now newly renovated.
The school is close to Østerport Station and was built 1918-1920 due to a large growth in the children’s population in the Nyboder Skole district.

During the occupation, the school was occupied by the Germans. Next to the school (Øster Voldgade 19), a German command bunker was built deep underground. The bunker, which had several meters thick walls, was used to defend Copenhagen and was fitted with gas locks.

Later, the Germans moved their military headquarters to Silkeborg (Silkeborg Bunker Museum).

Above the bunker, there was a small sports space for many years. Now a multihal has been built (picture above).

The bunker still exists and is now maintained by the Copenhagen Fire Brigade. There are 3 bunkers on site. Nyboder large piles, Nyboder little bunker and a reinforced basement in conjunction with the original Inspector Villa. After the Second World War, both Nyboder large and the Nyboder small were in the 1950s created as a command bunkers, but with different tasks.


Historically, Denmark had a large amount of interaction with Germany. In 1920 the country had regained possession of the northern part of Schleswig after losing the provinces during the Second Schleswig War in 1864. The Danish people were divided about what the best policy toward Germany might be. Few were ardent “Nazis”; some explored the economic possibilities of providing the German occupiers with supplies and goods; others eventually formed resistance groups towards the latter part of the war.

The majority of Danes, however, were unwillingly compliant towards the Germans.

Due to the relative ease of the occupation and copious amount of dairy products, Denmark earned the nickname the Cream Front (German: Sahnefront). 

As a result of the cooperative attitude of the Danish authorities, German officials claimed that they would “respect Danish sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as neutrality.” The German authorities were inclined towards lenient terms with Denmark for several reasons: their only strong interest in Denmark, that of surplus agricultural products, would be supplied by price policy on food rather than by control and restriction (some German records indicate that the German administration had not fully realized this potential before the occupation took place, which can be doubted); there was serious concern that the Danish economy was so dependent upon trade with Britain that the occupation would create an economic collapse, and Danish officials capitalized on that fear to get early concessions for a reasonable form of cooperation; they also hoped to score propaganda points by making Denmark, in Hitler‘s words, “a model protectorate“; on top of these more practical goals, race ideology held that Danes were “fellow Nordic Aryans,” and could therefore to some extent be trusted to handle their domestic affairs.

These factors combined to allow Denmark a very favorable relationship with Germany. The government remained somewhat intact, and the parliament continued to function more or less as it had before. They were able to maintain much of their former control over domestic policy. The police and judicial system remained in Danish hands, and unlike most occupied countries, King Christian X remained in the country as Danish head of state. The German Reich was formally represented by a Reichsbevollmächtigter (‘Reich Plenipotentiary‘), i.e. a diplomat accredited to the Sovereign, a post awarded to Cecil von Renthe-Fink, the German ambassador, and then in November 1942 to the lawyer and SS general Werner Best.

Danish public opinion generally backed the new government, particularly after the fall of France in June 1940. There was a general feeling that the unpleasant reality of German occupation must be confronted in the most realistic way possible, given the international situation. Politicians realized that they would have to try hard to maintain Denmark’s privileged position by presenting a united front to the German authorities, so all of the mainstream democratic parties formed a new government together. Parliament and the government agreed to work closely together. Though the effect of this was close to the creation of a one-party state, it remained a representative government.


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Kastelsvej 40, the German Embassy in 1940. Today it is the British embassy that is residing here. (Foto: Dines Bogø).

Besættelsen - Wikipedia, den frie encyklopædi

Denmark in WWII

Political drama in occupied Denmark

Free Corps Denmark

Free Corps Denmark – Witness To Soviet War Crimes

Operation Weserübung

German invasion of Denmark (1940)

Denmark’s collaboration with Germany, during World War II

A Legacy of Dead German Children

Die Sahnefront


Madsen: Danish Weapons Manufacturer

Højgaard & Schultz


B&W 1942

Aarhus was strategically important for Germany doing WWII



Denmark–Germany relations



Holmen 1943

The Soviet Occupation of Bornholm

Rønne Harbour After the Russians Attacked 1945

Danish shipyards worked for the Danish Navy and the German Navy during the occupation 1940-45.


Documentary Sheds Light Upon Unrepentant Danish “Nazi Rock Star”

How Hitler decided to launch the largest bike theft in Denmark’s history

Image result for Kriegsmarine havde hovedkvarter på Hotel Phoenix i Bredgade

Read about WWII here

Shellhuset where Gestapo stayed in Copenhagen.

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