Studien zur literarischen Erinnerungskultur für junge Leser
Edited By Gabriele von Glasenapp and Hans-Heino Ewers-Uhlmann
The Fairy Tale of the Occupation. The reconstruction of history as myth in a Danish picture book from 1945 217
Nina Christensen (Kopenhagen) The Fairy Tale of the Occupation. The reconstruction of history as myth in a Danish picture book from 1945 This article discusses how the German Occupation of Denmark 1940-1945 is presented to children in a picture book from 1945. The book has not been chosen for its literary quality or its exemplary way of informing children about historical events, but rather because reading this book from a contemporary per- spective inevitably leads to a discussion of central issues concerning children’s books about war. An illustration from the book might serve to introduce some of the issues under conside- ration [fig. 1: Illustration from Eventyret om to smaa Prinsesser og deres Fædreland. Besættelsen af Danmark fortalt for de Smaa (1945; The Fairy Tale of the Two Little Princesses and their Mother Country. The Occupation of Denmark told for Young Children), written by Kirsten Bundgaard and illustrated by Withus). If you were to present this image to a contem- porary reader – child or adult – and ask him or her to describe what the image shows the answer is likely to be “a soldier”. There is, however, one indication that the image in fact portrays not a regular soldier but a member of the Danish Resistance: namely the arm- band. Apart from this, the man bears all the marks of a well-equipped soldier: the helmet, the gun, the uniform etc. The message conveyed by this image is that the Danish Resistance was a well-organized unit, compara- ble to...
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