the film

Carl Adam Moltke
Carl Adam Moltke in the 1940s,
in the Danish Brigade uniform.

 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

My father, Carl Adam Moltke, had been an active member of the Resistance, but whenever I asked him about the War, in typical Danish fashion, he just joked about his participation and all the things that went wrong. It was only after his death in 1989 that I read a biography MONICA: a Heroine of the Danish Resistance, and learned about the importance of his work, and began a serious study of the Danish Resistance.

In October 1993, the newly opened U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. held its first seminar on the Rescue of the Danish Jews. Acording to MONICA, my father was somehow involved in the rescue of the atomic scientist Niels Bohr, and I went to the seminar in Washington hoping that one of the speakers might be able to tell me more. The auditorium was packed, and during the question and answer period, it became evident that people had come from as far away as Michigan and Boston to hear this story.

Although no one on the panel knew my father, I came away with a feeling of how much this story meant to people, and a determination to make a documentary on the subject.

Having already done a great deal of reading on the subject, I spent the winter writing a treatment. The next step was to prepare a budget. I didn't know where the money would come from to make the film, but when I vented my doubts and fears to my sister, she said, “just do it.” And then the first miracle happened.

The majority of the archival war footage, a key element in the film, was held by Danmarks Radio. I telephoned them, and in my rusty Danish asked to be connected to their Historic Film Archive. Somehow, my call was transferred to the Head of Documentary Co-Production, and six weeks later I was in Denmark signing a contract which provided me with a crew, digital tape, film rights, music rights, and even a design team for posters and fliers. They had been looking for a film to broadcast for the 50th Anniversary of Denmark's Liberation.

Writing and telephoning total strangers was not easy, but my father’s name opened doors and one person led me to another. In the process of meeting members of the Resistance, I learned that my father was the courier who brought a microfilmed message from the British Government, via Stockholm, to Niels Bohr warning him that he must leave the country. In addition, he became paymaster for the SOE, until he was informed on and had to escape to Sweden. I was also given copies of official government records about my grandfather, who had been King Christian X's Foreign Minister in the 1930’s.

While in the process of doing pre-interviews for the film, it became evident that a historian was needed to ensure accuracy in the film. Several people I trusted told me that Professor Tage Kaarsted, historical advisor to Queen Margrethe II, was the ideal person but that he was terminally ill with leukemia. At the same time, a friend of my father’s suggested that I postpone my trip home in order to attend an official ceremony related to the Resistance. I changed my plans, went to the ceremony. This was the second miracle.

Who should be at the ceremony but Professor Kaarsted. He was in remission and agreed to see me the next day. His answers to my questions were so fascinating that I asked if he would participate in the film. His interview became the spine of the film and eliminated any need for a narrator. Three days after the interview, he went into the hospital and he died just after Christmas.

When my father died, and our family home was sold, I often wondered if I would ever come back to Denmark. Never in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined that the legacy of individual acts of courage and decency would bring me home again.