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PhD on Deportations from Denmark

Birgit Müller spent a week at the ITS (International Tracing Service) researching the persecution fate of over 6000 deported Danes for her PhD on the topic “Denmark under German Occupation. Danish Deportees in Nazi Concentration Camps”. Müller was pleased: “I was able to find important additional information on the deportation, persecution and liberation for about five percent of the names.”

The researcher´s interest in National Socialism began during her political science, pedagogical and public law studies in Bonn, Copenhagen and Potsdam. The Berlin resident has been writing her PhD for three years now. She is also working as an archivist at the Center for Anti-Semitic Research at the Technical University in Berlin.

“I have visited many archives in Denmark in order to do research for my PhD. I also went to memorials and the federal archive,” reported Müller. “Many people recommended visiting the ITS, where I learned more by using their Central Name Index.” The scholar had several digital copies of the original documents produced but kept a sharp eye on the hard-won results of her new research. Müller summarizes her experience: “I am putting the results of my research together like pieces of a puzzle and was able to fill in the missing pieces at the ITS.”

Thanks to Danish resistance against German occupation policy and the officially independent Danish government´s adept diplomacy, deportations of targeted groups began relatively late in comparison to other countries. In October 1943 groups of Communists, Jews or police were transported to concentration camps such as Neuengamme, Stutthof or Buchenwald. The Danish government arranged for the Red Cross to visit deportees in Theresienstadt and to send parcels of food to the detainees. “Most of the victims were actually deported after 1944,” reports Müller. “It is fascinating to research this small country, especially because many people were saved. Danish survivors were able to return to their homeland quickly after the liberation.”