APRIL 9

APRIL 9

Above: German vehicles roll into Denmark during World War II.

 

SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Arne Sejr couldn’t stand what he saw on the day the German army invaded his native Denmark, and no, it wasn’t scenes of violence that turned his stomach — quite the opposite. Walking around his hometown of Slagelse on April 9, 1940, he witnessed his countrymen showing kindness to the German forces who had taken his nation by force in World War II. He even saw his fellow Danes warmly applauding a German military band playing Danish songs.

That was too much for Sejr. He promptly went home and typed up what he called the Ten Commandments for Danes, which stated:

1. You shall not work in Germany or Norway
2. You shall work poorly for Germans.
3. You shall work slowly for Germans
4. You shall destroy important machinery and equipment.
5. You shall destroy everything that benefits the Germans.
6. You shall delay Transportations.
7. You shall boycott German and Italian Films.
8. You may not shop at Nazi Businesses.
9. You shall treat all traitors accordingly.
10. You shall protect anyone persecuted by the Germans.

Sejr made 25 copies of his Ten Commandments and stuffed them into the mailboxes of the mayor, bankers, doctors, and journalists. According to Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, authors of 2000’s A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict, the “Ten Commandments would be passed from hand to hand and eventually become sacred to the Danes as they waged their national resistance.” Sejr’s own resistance efforts included pouring sugar into gas tanks of German vehicles and mailing anti-German messages to high school students throughout the country. After the war he dedicated himself to anti-communist activities.

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