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GERMAN 'BLACK' PROPAGANDA TO DENMARK

By R.G. Auckland

On April 28, 1944, the London newspaper Daily Express reported the "..... the Germans tried out a new trick today, planes with British markings flew over Copenhagen dropping leaflets saying that the hour of liberation was approaching, and asking Denmark to accept "occupation by Russian or specially trained American Negro soldiers" until the first disorders resulting from military operations is over. The leaflets, entitled "Freedom Post," carried pictures of Mr. Churchill, President Roosevelt, Marshal Stalin and King Christian. They are obviously forgeries."

The event actually took place on April 27 over the capital and there is no confirmation that British markings were painted on the German planes which dropped the leaflets. It is unlikely that the dissemination took place during the day as it was the custom for the German Air Force to drop 'black' leaflets in the occupied countries under cover of darkness. To support this supposition, the Commander of the air base at Gilze-Rijen in Holland once received orders to drop anti-Royal leaflets over North Brabant province. His instructions were that they should be dropped during the night or before sunrise and was asked to take care "that the dissemination will take place at such a height that it is impossible to discover that the leaflets were disseminated from a German plane. We would be very pleased that the leaflets should be dropped during the curfew period from midnight to 4 a.m."

The title of the 2-page leaflet 'Frihedsposten' was that of a genuine clandestine newsheet produced by the Danish underground which first appeared in July 1943 and continued publication to the end of the war with a final figure of 23 editions. Numbers 1 - 7 (1943) were hectographed and thereafter duplicated with four to six pages each issue, quarto size. It never appeared in Denmark's capital city but circulated in Skjern and also West and Middle Jylland.

The fake issue had in its banner 'Nr. 1 London April 1944 Nr. 1.' It was machine printed in monotone on two pages only, also quarto size. Underneath the date line were the flags of Denmark, Great Britain, Russia and the United States. Following these were the four photographs accurately described by the Daily Express. The correct order, however, is Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill and Christian.

The complete translation of the text is given in an earlier Falling Leaf (No. 43, December 1968), but I would like to re-mention one particular piece of propaganda. The leaflet says "a huge army of airborne troops in England.....among these many thousands of soldiers are many Americans and among these again a certain number of specially trained Negro soldiers. Somewhere in Europe these will participate in the invasion or invasions."

The reference to coloured soldiers was always a part of German propaganda. In a 4-page fake newsheet entitled Groeten uit Engeland ('Greetings from England') issued by the headquarters of the Propaganda and Information Services and dropped by the Luftwaffe over the Netherlands as early as September 1942, an article referred to 'the new British secret weapon "The Dark Cloud," that is, negro parachutists with dark grey parachutes invisible against the sky' and asking Dutch women and girls to fraternise completely with the black liberators during the post-liberation days and to completely lay aside Hitler's nonsense about racial differences.

Groeten uit Engeland ('Greetings from England')
In a communique of 10 September 1942, the Reich Commissioner for Occupied Holland, Den Haag, informed the Propaganda Adviser at the Palace of Justice, Den Bosch:
"To counteract British propaganda, the Headquarters of the Propaganda and Information Services has issued for the Dutch people the leaflet "Groeten uit Engeland". Leaflets of this type will be dropped over Holland by the German Air Force."

The leaflet is a four page fake newsheet.

(130x185mm. Code: K 738).


The Falling Leaf. No. 75. Winter 1976.


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