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Staldgården: The Gestapo is Coming (With Life as Effort)

In bad times people do extreme things.

If you are in doubt, see the exhibition '1943 – Gestapo is coming' at Staldgården in Kolding, where you will get a story about the struggle between the resistance movement and the occupying power during the Second World War. It shows how extreme and extraordinary circumstances can upset society's normal social rules and people's moral compass and result in extreme actions.

Denmark was long called the whipped cream front by the Germans. There were no open battles here, but good supplies. However, this gradually changed during the occupation, and in 1943 the official cooperation policy collapsed. The Folketing was put out of power. And in October 1943, the Gestapo moved into Staldgården in Kolding. Here the Gestapo established its headquarters in South and South Jutland.

In the last two years of the occupation, around 1,350 resistance fighters were arrested and housed at Staldgården. Here they were interrogated and tortured. And they waited to see what would happen to them next. Some released. Others were shot at the Ryvangen execution site. Some were sent to German concentration camps.

Using new technology, you can take a walk in occupation-era Kolding and meet the fictional woman Gerda. You can also visit the only preserved Gestapo cell in Denmark, Zelle II. It is a grim memory where you can still see the names that resistance fighters scratched into the wall as they dreaded the subsequent interrogation.

In the cell you can also experience a strong and intense story. There are three stories in total. They convey different parts of the occupation history using light, sound and modern technology. Touching. Daunting. Poignant.

WE have a hymn that gained extra meaning during the occupation, where young men fought for a cause - with their lives as an effort. Last verse reads:

Fight for all you hold dear,
die if necessary!
Then life is not so difficult,
neither is death.

From 'Altid frejdig når du går', by Christian Richardt, 1867