Danish Officers in Luftwaffe Service
Compared to the number of Danes who volunteered for Waffen-SS, a rather small number of Danish military and navy pilots joined the Luftwaffe. In all seven Danish officers volunteered, were accepted, and trained in the Luftwaffe. Of these six were trained
On 8 July 1941, an announcement from the Ministry of War permits commissioned officers of the Danish army to volunteer for Frikorps Denmark (the Free Corps Denmark). The corps had been established on 28 June 1941 as a battalion of the Waffen-SS.
Joining the Luftwaffe
Following the announcement, a number of Danish officers apply to be seconded in order to join Luftwaffe. According to Ancker (2001), it seems likely that a total of 15 people applied for Luftwaffe service. Of these only nine were accepted to be tested atReichüberprüfungsstelle Prenzlau near Stettin. The pilots leave Denmark in the following months.
In the beginning of October 1941, three of the pilots are posted to further fighter training. But later that same month, the training of the Danish volunteers is suddenly stopped. Apparently, a special Führerbefiel ordered that all Danish volunteers were to join Waffen-SS, and not the ordinary armed forces, i.e. Heer, Luftwaffe, and Kriegsmarine.
The pilots return to Denmark. But before doing so, they write an official complaint to Reichmarchal Herman Göring. This may have speeded up the expedition of the complaint. Six of the nine pilots are, according to Ancker (2001), accepted for Luftwaffe service and return to training. These are:
- Flight lieutenant Wolfgang Rudolf Fabian,
- Captain Asger Tage Harild,
- Captain Knud Erik Ravnskov,
- Flight lieutenant Poul Sommer,
- Lieutenant Ove C. Terp, and
- Lieutenant Captain Ejnar Thorup.
The three pilots who never returned to training are believed to be: 2nd Lieutenant Alf Aggersbøl, Captain E. Lærum, who later joined Waffen-SS, and Corporal Arne Svensson (Neulen, 2000).
Returning to Denmark
Of these seven pilots, three never return to Denmark. Fabian, Ravnskov, Thorup lost their life in the fall of 1942. For further details se their individual profile. Following the war, Terp went to the United States as political refugee. Here he joined the USAF. Anker and Sommer were dishonourably discharged from the Danish armed forces on 25 May 1945, due to their Luftwaffe service. Sommer was later sentenced to 12 years in prison.
To this day, it is a matter of great controversy, that Danish officers who volunteered following the announcement from the Ministry of War of July 1941 were later imprisoned at the end of the war. This is due to that fact that a law of 1 June 1945 made it illegal to have joined the German forces during the war even though the Ministry of War seemed to accept, and perhaps even instigate it in 1941.