The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3596-PS

[Covering Memorandum]

Deputy of the Chief Custodian of Army Archives attached to
the Commander of the German troops in Denmark

     (O.H.A.R. (Chief Custodian of Army Archives) Goes)

1. 6-Page review of the troops to be sent to Denmark, with
notes (copy).

2. Division of work by the Commander of the German troops in
Denmark, with comments (copy).

3. 14-Page report by Goes on the preparation and execution
of the undertaking against Denmark (supplement to the War
Journal (KTB) and enclosure of the Commander of the German
troops in Denmark), dated 12 Aug. 1940, with comment by the
Chief Custodian of Archives, dated 3 Sept. 1940, and map.


[Enclosure No. 3; Report by Goes]

                                              12 August 1940


Hq. A.P.O. No: 17632

Deputy of the Chief of the Army Archives attached to the
Commander of the German troops in Denmark.

Notes of a conversation Major-General Himer gave the
undersigned some glimpses into the preparation and execution
of the undertaking against Denmark on 9 April 1940, which
are not contained in the War Journal or in the War
Documents. They are, however, of such psychological
importance for the
later writing of the history of the War that they should be
retained in the following account.

Before the outbreak of the war Brigadier General Himer was
the German Military attache in Warsaw and experienced the
first German air attacks on Warsaw’s military objectives.
With the rest of the German Embassy, in the afternoon of 2
September he was moved out of Warsaw and after a 30 hours'
railway journey via Bialystok, Grodno, Landwarow (west
Vilna) got away to Kowno. On this occasion he observed all
rail movement on the Warsaw-Vilna main line, and also a
greater part of the movement on the line from Survalki-
Grodno in the direction of Warsaw, as well as the guard
placed on the Polish railways and bridges. He then reported
his observations from Kowno to Berlin.

In the Polish campaign the then Colonel of the General Staff
Himer was Chief of Staff of the Kaupisch Corps (Frontier
Guard Section of Command I), which had mopped up the
northern corridor, established connection with the Danzig
brigade and conquered Gdynia and Hela.

In the winter of 1939/40, the Kaupisch Corps, which
meanwhile had received the designation of Superior Command
XXXI, operated in the area of Ostrolenka — Pultusk --
Modlin — Plock — Ortelsburg.

On 2 March 1940, the Chief of the General Staff, Brigadier
General Himer, was ordered by telephone to Berlin through
the operations department of the General Staff (Lieut.
Colonel Heusinger of the General Staff) for a conference on
5 March 1940, and there initiated by General of Infantry v.
Falkenhorst (Group XXI) into the proposed execution of an
undertaking against Denmark. Whether the operation should be
carried out and if so, when, was left open. The work
regarding it had, however, to be carried out at once with
the greatest speed. The strictest secrecy was essential for

On 5 March 1940 the senior officer of Superior Command XXXI,
Lieutenant General of the Air Force Kaupisch, also arrived
in Berlin and immediately after his arrival he was informed
by General Himer of the work pending.

As Superior Command XXXI in Ortelsburg was to be replaced by
Superior Command XXXV, which was scheduled to be formed, the
Operations Section (Ia) and a part of the staff remained
behind for the new formation of Superior Command XXXXV
(Translator’s note: one X pencilled in).

                                                  [Page 301]

Major Macher of the General Staff was transferred to
Superior Command XXXI as the new Operations Chief (Ia), but
he could not arrive in Berlin before 10 March. For the
preparations, Quartermaster (Q) (Captain V. Witzleben),
Intelligence (Captain Trommer), Commissariat Officer (Iva)
(Commissariat Chief Dr Filitz), later Weapons and Equipment
(W.uG.) and Field training officer (O2), were included by

According to orders the remaining Staff of Superior Command
XXXI was, on 7 March, sent with the mass of troops from
Ortelsburg to Hamburg. As the result of heavy snowfalls and
completely snow-blocked roads the march was considerably
delayed, especially in East Prussia, at the crossing of the
Volga (ferry at Koppelbuede) and in Pomerania.

The circle of officers which of necessity had to be informed
of the undertaking which was being prepared grew gradually
larger; keeping it secret became that much more difficult;
every officer was bound to it by shaking hands. The orders
and regulations were only allowed to be drawn up by
officers, one of whom undertook the typing work and the
preparation of dispatches.

At  first only two small rooms were available in the
building of the Supreme Command of the Army, Dept. L, in
Berlin at Bendlerstrasse, until the Staff succeeded in
having further rooms allotted. Work had to be done in the
smallest space with the most simple equipment, produced
literally from nowhere which made it very difficult.

The plan of deployment, the entry into Denmark as well as
the transport of the troops across the sea, the co-
ordination with the Air Force was all worked out to the last
detail in collaboration with Group XXI and the experts for
naval and Air Force matters attached to Group XXI.  As it
was not yet definite whether the undertaking would be
carried out, the preliminary work of the whole operation had
to be finished as soon as possible.  Various possible
deadlines were mentioned from time to time. As they were
very limited, the work had to be intensified still more,
which, as the result of lack of motor vehicles, columns,
equipment and arms for individual formations, some of which
were newly formed, made it particularly difficult.

The Commander of Replacement Army (B.d.E.) gave the High
Command splendid support in this. The difficulties that had
to be overcome in this connection are illustrated by the
following example: After the schedule of operations had
already been set up, a different loading capacity was
reported for certain of the

                                                  [Page 302]

transport vessels, so that the schedules for troop shipments
had to be revised only a short time before the undertaking
was to begin.

On the afternoon of 1 April, the Commanders and Divisional
Commanders, with their Chiefs of Staff and Operations
Officers (Ia's) who were taking part in the Norway-Denmark
enterprise, made their reports to the Fuehrer. The latter
stressed the great importance of the undertaking and the
necessity for secrecy concerning this “most bold and
impudent undertaking in the history of warfare.” If a word
of it were to reach the public, it would be impossible to
carry out, not to mention the effect on foreign relations.
General [Generaloberst] Keitel concluded the conference with
a discussion of single, particularly important operations
involved and likewise emphasized the necessity of secrecy
concerning the preparations.

The forces required for the undertaking were first assembled
in the area about Pritzwalk (198th Div.), Magdeburg (11th
Rifle Brigade), and Bremen (170th Div.). They were prepared
for their tasks (removal of bridgeheads, assault troop
operations, etc.) in an inconspicuous manner. The troops
were moved into the staging area only a short time before
"Weser Day.” In order to keep them in complete ignorance of
their coming assignment, Superior Command XXXI issued orders
for what were apparently to be large-scale maneuvers in the
Hamburg-Munsterlager-Hannover-Magdebury-Rostock area. (Cf.
War Diary).

The camouflage succeeded complete in its purpose. The troops
were convinced that they were being assembled in Schleswig-
Holstein, in order to start from here toward the South for
reconnaissance and battle exercises on a large scale.

In the meantime, secret reconnaissance still had to be
carried out in Denmark itself, in order to check and to
complete the material on hand. Only a preparation of the
operation thorough in every respect guaranteed success and
saved unnecessary victims.

Superior Command XXXI was completely prepared for a serious
fight. On the success of the operation against Denmark
depended the success of the operation against Norway,
because Denmark represents the connecting bridge to Norway
which had to be taken first and had to remain in our hands

When 9 April, 5.15 AM was finally designated as the day to
move into Denmark, the preparations had been finished.

First, the command staff proceeded to Hamburg on 6 April.

The Chief of the General Staff had received orders to
proceed ahead to Copenhagen as plenipotentiary of the army
in order to give to the plenipotentiary of the Reich (Envoy
von Renthe-Fink)

                                                  [Page 303]

the documents and information about the carrying-out of the
occupation which were necessary for presentation of the
demands of the Reich, intended for the morning of 9 April;
and he was to support him effectively in the execution of
his task.

For that purpose, a discussion took place in the afternoon
of 6 April in the presence of the State Secretary of the
Foreign Office von Weizsaecker, in which State Secretary Dr.
Gauss (Foreign Office), General Himer, Lieutenant-Colonel of
the General-Staff Pohlmann (Operations Section, Group XXI),
Lieutenant-Colonel of the General Staff Boehme (Armed Forces
High Command, Department L), Legation Secretary Dr.
Schlitter as well as to other ligation secretaries, took

On 7 April General Himer rode to Copenhagen as
"Oberregierungsrat.” His uniform pieces went as courier
luggage with the Legation Secretary Dr. Schlitter, who had
the order to give a strictly secret, sealed letter to the
Envoy von Renthe-Fink on 8 April at 11 PM [note of
translator: original 8 PM crossed out].

April 8th was reserved for urgent military reconnaissance
which was carried out by General Himer together with Colonel
Peterson (attache for the Airforce). The report on hand at
the Superior Command up to that time that the harbor of
Copenhagen was icebound turned out to be wrong, as an
incipient west wind had made the port free of ice on the
morning of 8 April. The “Long Line” [Lange Linie] was full
of ships. A docking of the “Hansestadt Danzig” which was
supposed to debark the 1st battalion of the 308th Regiment
(I/308) in Copenhagen, on 9 April at 5.15 AM, was possible
on one spot only, between other steamers, in case of
necessity. However, the Attache for the Airforce, Colonel
Peterson, was able to report to General Himer still in the
morning that 2 steamers which were at the time on the
Southern part of the “Long Line” would most likely set sail
during 8 April. The reconnaissance of the neighborhood of
the citadel confirmed the fact that it was possible to
penetrate into the citadel without difficulties on the South-
Eastern corner. This was the weak point. The results were
immediately sent by coded telegrams to Group XXI for
Superior Command XXXI. A truck had to be ready for the
transport of the equipment of the heavy radio station which
was attached to the 1st battalion of the 308th Regiment;
this, too, had to be done without giving rise to suspicion.
Under strictest obligation to keep it a secret, a German
citizen in Copenhagen who was a reserve officer was told
that a German boat, coming from a long voyage, would land in
Copenhagen for a short time on the morning of 9 April, in
order to un-

                                                  [Page 304]

load some cases; for that purpose a truck would have to be
on the “Long Line” on 9 April at 4 AM (Danish time = 5 AM
German time).

The citadel, its approaches, and the possibility of taking
them by surprise were reconnoitered by the commanding
officer of the 1st battalion of the 308th Regiment, Major
Glein, a few days ahead of time, after he had been briefed
about the planned execution of the surprise attack in
conjunction with maps at the Superior Command.

In the meantime, General Himer had taken up liason with the
German Envoy, Minister von Renthe-Fink. The Denmark-
operation had to remain a secret even for him until 11 PM at
night. Only then the Minister was informed about the
military events which were about to start. Envoy von Renthe-
Fink fitted himself into his difficult task quickly and in
an excellent manner.

The few hours which were at the disposal of the Envoy as
plenipotentiary of the Reich were filled out with the study
of the memorandum and the military explanations and demands.
The most important demands were put down on paper, in order
to put the strongest possible pressure on the Danish Foreign
Minister Munch at the coming talks. When General Himer had
asked the State Secretary von Weizsaecker in Berlin whether
he could be present at the presentation of the memorandum at
4 AM (= 5 AM German time), he had answered in the negative;
therefore, General Himer had the Envoy, who wanted to take a
Danish interpreter along, accompanied by Colonel Petersen to
whom he had given detailed instruction for this mission
before hand.

Thus, the Envoy von Renthe-Fink, as plenipotentiary of the
Reich, presented the requests of the Reich at 4 AM (= 5 AM
German time) and explained to the Danish Foreign Minister
that the Germans were moving into Denmark in order to
prevent an imminent British attack on Norway and Denmark
[note of translator: last two words added in pencil]. They
were coming as friends. Any resistance was useless and would
be broken at once by armed force. The acceptance of the
demands would have to take place immediately, as unnecessary
losses would happen otherwise and the worst disadvantages
would result for the State of Denmark.

In the meantime, the troops of Superior Command XXXI moved
in several columns at 5.15 AM (German Time) into Jutland.
Wherever resistance was offered by the Danes, it was broken
immediately. The surprise occupation of the citidel of
Copenhagen, Gjedser, bridge near Vordingborg, Korsoer,
Nyborg, Little Belt bridge near Middlefahrt succeeded

                                                  [Page 305]

The [note of translator: “completely” crossed out] surprised
Danish Government in Copenhagen could not agree right away
on the acceptance of the German demands and probably tried
to win time, too, in order to await developments. Under no
circumstances could that be permitted. General Himer
insisted on an immediate decision; otherwise the Danish
Government would be made responsible for the victims
resulting from the German measures, especially from a
bombardment of Copenhagen from the air. The final decision -
- talks were under way with the King — was still not
forthcoming. When a renewed telephone conversation of Envoy
von Renthe-Fink with the Danish government was answered in a
delaying manner, General Himer, who due to the negligence of
the Danish postal system, was in permanent telephone
connection with Group XXI in Hamburg since 5 AM (German
time) which was maintained until about 7 AM (German time)
requested the appearance of the bombers over Copenhagen in
order to force the Danes to accept. The officer sitting at
the telephone in Hamburg received the request. On this
occasion a misunderstanding which might have resulted in
serious consequences virtually occurred, due to the fact
that the talks had to be code. The officer at Group XXI
said: “Well, then bombs are to be dropped right away!”
General Himer answered: “For Heavens sake! They are only to
appear [note of translator: (in pencil) “fly” crossed out],
over the city, in order to lend the necessary pressure,
because the Government is still hesitating. Dropping of
bombs only at request by the prearranged signal of the
troops from the citadel!”

When the German bomber formations roared over the Danish
capital later on, they did not fail to make their
impression: the Government accepted the German requests.

However, it claimed to be in no position to notify the
Danish troops about the agreement that both sides were not
to open fire. General Himer wanted to do that with the help
of the radio. He personally asked Envoy Mohr (Danish Foreign
Office) for it. Mohr tried to notify the radio station by
telephone. He did not succeed, because the station, as it
turned out, did not operate before 7 AM (Danish time). And
up to that time 30 valuable minutes were lost. As reports
about fighting between German and Danish troops had already
come it, the order to stop these fights had to be made known
to the troops immediately, especially, in order to avoid
needless victims.

In the meantime, the Danish Postal Office had become aware
of its carelessness with respect to the telephone connection
between Copenhagen and Hamburg. It had cut off telephone

                                                  [Page 306]

tion. But since the radio station was set up in the citadel,
General Himer was able to transmit the German terms to the
troops by wireless and to request them to send emissaries to
the Danish troops, since the Government and the General
Staff were not in a position to initiate such action
themselves. Cessation of the fighting which had resulted in
about 20 German and 30 Danish casualties was achieved. With
these extremely small losses it was possible to bring all of
Denmark into German possession.

Thanks to thorough preparations, the landing of German
troops in Copenhagen and the occupation of the Citidel and
vicinity were successfully accomplished. The guards of the
Citidel and vicinity were successfully accomplished. The
guards of the Citidel were taken by surprise — the police
at the harbor had already been disarmed — and in the
process of securing the immediate vicinity of the Citadel
the resisting soldiers of the Royal Bodyguard were put out
of action. The Bodyguard lost several wounded men at this
time. As the population of the Danish capital went to their
work early in the morning Copenhagen was firmly held by the
Germans. Posted decrees of the King and the government
called for strict maintenance of peace and order. German
leaflets also served this purpose.

The Chief of the Danish General Staff, Brigadier General
[Generalmajor] Goertz, who was captured in the Citadel by
the First Bn of the 308th Regt (I/308), was led before
General Himer at around 6:30 (Danish time). General Himer
expressed regret at having to make his acquaintance under
such bizarre circumstances and told him that he was free,
since his Government had just accepted the German terms. An
auto had been placed at his disposal in which he might ride
home. When asked if he, personally, had suffered annoyances
and molestation when captured, he replied in the negative.
General Himer then informed him that he had already
requested that representatives of the Danish Armed Forces
empowered to participate in the necessary negotiations
appear at 10 o'clock.

Since a departure of the Danish King from the country had by
all means to be avoided, General Himer believed it urgently
necessary to get in touch with him as quickly as possible.
He requested Minister von Renthe-Fink, to arrange an
immediate audience with the King — the sooner the better!

General Himer was received by the King on 9 April, being
introduced by the Reich Plenipotentiary, von Renthe-Fink.
The seventy-year-old King appeared inwardly shattered,
although he preserved outward appearance perfectly and
maintained absolute dignity during the audience. His whole
body trembled. He declared that he and his government would
do everything possible

                                                  [Page 307]

to keep peace and order in the country and to eliminate any
friction between the German troops and the population. He
wished to spare his country further misfortune and misery.
General Himer replied that personally he very much regretted
coming to the King on such a mission, but that he was only
doing his duty as a soldier. It was Denmark’s misfortune to
be placed between the two great warring powers, Germany and
England, and Germany wished to prevent England’s plunging
the country into war and devastation. We came as friends,
etc. When the King then asked whether he might keep his
bodyguard, General Himer replied — seconded by Minister von
Renthe-Fink — that the Fuehrer would doubtless permit him
to retain them.  He had no doubt about it. The King was
visibly relieved at hearing this. During the course of the
audience, which lasted one half hour, the King became more
at ease, and at its conclusion he addressed General Himer
with the words: “General, may I, as an old soldier, tell you
something? As soldier to soldier?: You Germans have done the
incredible again! One must admit that it’s magnificent

On 9 April at 10 o'clock the Danish Chief of the General
Staff, General Goertz, reported to General Himer as head of
the Danish Armed Forces delegation, consisting of officers
of the Army and Navy, including [translator’s note:
correction in script of “einschl.” for “ausschl.” in
typewritten text]  the Air Force. The first meeting began at
10:10 o'clock, under the chairmanship of General Himer. The
parley was conducted smoothly and in very correct form.  [In
pencil: is true also of the subsequent conferences.]  While
all due respect was shown for Danish honor and the Danish
representatives were treated with courtesy, they were not
left in doubt as to the necessity for carrying out the
demobilization rapidly and thoroughly, or regarding further
German demands and desires. General Himer abstained on
principle from making any written covenants with the Danes
during these conferences, but only verbal ones. In this way
he wished to avoid premature decisions on the German side in
regard to definite points, numbers, etc. It also kept the
Danes more completely in hand. Since the negotiations were
supposed to be conducted in a consistently friendly, but
berryvery determined tone, it was really a matter of keeping
the Danes in good humor and of gaining their confidence to a
certain extent. This policy has stood the test of time very
well. The Danes have faithfully carried out all that was
demanded of them. They have also felt free to express their
own special desires, some of which could be granted without

                                                  [Page 308]

prejudice to German interests. General Goertz showed himself
to be a very clever and cool negotiator.  He represented
Danish interests in a correct and objective fashion.

Seen as a whole, the undertaking against Denmark succeeded
so well and at cost of such light sacrifices because it had
been splendidly prepared for in every respect. The secrecy
fundamental to success was perfectly preserved; knowledge of
the undertaking was limited to the circle of those persons
who had of necessity to share it. As the undertaking got
under way, swift and independent action prevented heavy
damage to the German troops as well as to the Danish Armed
Forces and the population, thus promoting between the two
countries good relations of great political importance for
the future. Even though the events in Denmark are mentioned
only twice in communiqués of the High Command of the Armed
Forces, they should not for this reason be overshadowed, in
the writing of history, by the battles in Norway, which, as
such, were larger and more severe. They were the
prerequisite for the smooth execution of the Norway
undertaking and must be evaluated as such. The fact that
they required such slight losses redounds to the glory of
German leadership, from the political as well as from the
military standpoint.

                              Certified as a true rendering:
                                               (Signed) Goes
   Senior Archives Councillor, Deputy of the Chief Custodian
           of Army Archives with the Commander of the German
                                          Troops in Denmark.

(Written by an officer)