"De glemte os ikke i Fangenskabet" Analyse af national og regional identitet hos nordslesvigske krigsfanger under Første Verdenskrig

Matilde Bierbaum

Studenteropgave: Speciale


When Germany declared war on France the 3rd of August 1914, men from North Schles-wig were enrolled as soldiers in the German Army. By the outbreak of World War 1, North Schleswig had been German territory for 50 years, since Denmark lost Schleswig at the Battle of Dybbøl in 1864. The population of North Schleswig were split into two dominating groups: German-minded and Danish-minded communities that extended their sympathies to either Germany or Denmark. Over 35.000 men from North Schleswig wore the German uniform between 1914 and 1918. For the Danish-minded North Schleswigian soldiers, this meant that they took part in a war, which they could only legitimise as a sacrifice to protect their homeland, North Schleswig. Throughout the war, soldiers from North Schleswig were included in the German army as fellow soldiers. 4.000 of the 35.000 soldiers from the region fell into captivity as prisoners of war. Some were gathered in special camps for friendly alien enemies in France and Great Britain and transported to Denmark at the end of the war. Based on my analysis of letters and memoires written by prisoners of war from North Schleswig, I discuss how national and regional identification were verbalised and shaped by different influencers. In France and Great Britain, Danish volunteers with ties to nation-alistic circles in Denmark succeeded in establishing special Danish-speaking camps for prisoners of war from North Schleswig. A strong national Danish agenda including national symbols, songs and narratives characterised the voluntary aid to prisoners of war in these camps. One of the main concerns of the voluntary campaigners of the ‘North Schleswig Case’ was to get the prisoners of war back home, so they could vote for Denmark in an upcoming referendum to decide whether North Schleswig should belong to Denmark or to Germany. Benedict Anderson, who formulated the theory of imagined communities, provides the theoretical framework for discussing how different communities influenced the soldiers from North Schleswig. The soldiers from North Schleswig navigated between different communities but seemed to be especially attached to their regional imagined community. Cultural historian Inge Adriansen provides an analytical scale presenting an increasing level of identification: from belonging to consciousness to identity. With this scale as an assessment tool, I analyse to which extent prisoners of war from North Schleswig predom-inantly identified themselves by regional or national belonging. I conclude that regional and national identification are closely intertwined. Since a national consciousness is implicit in a regional consciousness for prisoners of war from a border region, where two nationalities co-exist, regional consciousness and national conscious-ness cannot be meaningfully distinguished from each other.

UddannelserHistorie, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato28 jun. 2016
VejledereClaus Bundgård Christensen


  • Sønderjylland
  • Tilhørsforhold
  • National identitet
  • Nordslesvig
  • Regional identitet
  • Benedict Anderson
  • Aurillac-lejren
  • Nordslesvigske krigsfanger
  • Krigsfangenskab
  • Forestillede fællesskaber
  • Feltham-lejren
  • Inge Adriansen
  • Dansk hjælpearbejde
  • bevidsthed
  • Identitet
  • Første Verdenskrig