The Nazis’ rise to power and the German invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940 radically changed the relationship between the German minority and its Danish host state. Many members of the minority actively supported the Nazi occupier. The loyalties of the German minority towards the Nazi motherland drew widespread opposition within Danish society. Upon the liberation, the German minority was at the centre of the so-called 'reckoning', the legal process in which Denmark brought to justice those who had sided with the enemy during the war. However, given its affiliation with Germany, the 'reckoning' with the German minority revealed a set of distinct complexities and challenges. The minority perceived the 'reckoning' as deeply unjust and it became a centre-point of its postwar memory and identity.
Structured chronologically, this book contribution examines the main points of friction between the German minority and its Danish host state during the war and the immediate postwar period. Its main focus is the 'reckoning' with members of the German minority after the war. The study asks how the 'reckoning' with the German minority was planned and implemented. This includes an analysis of the legal status of minority members following the war, the legal bases of the trials and administrative procedures against them and, finally, the legal effects of the trials for individuals, including their political and social rights.
Another focus is on how the 'reckoning' was contested, experienced and remembered by the German minority, Danish officials and the Danish society as a whole.