Bornholm in few lines
is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. It also refers to Bornholm
Regional Municipality, the municipality (Danish, kommune)
which covers the entire island, and has county privileges.
island is located to the east of Denmark, the south of Sweden, and
the north of Poland (on the map of Denmark to the right, it is not
shown in its true location; see the map at the bottom of the
article). The main industries on the island include fishing,
pottery using locally worked clay, clockmaking and dairy farming.
Tourism is important during the summer.
small islands Ertholmene are located 18 km to the north-east of
located in the Baltic Bornholm has been a bone of contention
usually ruled by Denmark, but also by Lübeck and Sweden. The
castle ruin Hammershus on the northwestern tip of the island gives
testimony to its importance.
the Old Icelandic sources, its name is Burgundarholm, and
Alfred the Great uses the form Burgenda land. Some scholars
believe that the Burgundians are named after Bornholm; the
Burgundians were a Germanic tribe which moved west when the
western Roman Empire collapsed, and occupied and named Burgundy in
island was originally part of Scania (Skåneland). When the
eastern provinces of Denmark were ceded to Sweden in 1658,
Bornholm was returned to Denmark-Norway two years later (along
with Trøndelag and Anholt).
as a part of Denmark, was captured by Germany relatively early in
the Second World War, and served as a lookout post and listening
station during the war. The island's perfect central position in
the Baltic Sea meant that it was an important "natural
fortress" between Germany and Sweden, effectively keeping
submarines and destroyers away from Nazi occupied waters. Several
concrete coastal installations were built during the war, some of
which had tremendous range, but none of them were ever used, and
only a single test shot was fired during the occupation. These
remnants of Nazi rule has since then fallen into disrepair and are
mostly regarded as a novelty. Many tourists visit the ruins each
year, providing a useful supplement income to the tourist
it was true about the rest of Denmark, the inhabitants of Bornholm
quickly came to accept the Germans. "They don't bother us, we
don't bother them" was the unspoken rule of the agreement
between commoners and soldiers. German soldiers acted more like
tourists than occupants during their stay, and the rough German
discipline meant that only few incidents of violence was reported
on the island. (No noteworthy resistance from the natives was ever
reported by the German officials).
the 22nd of August 1943 a rocket (numbered V83) crashed on
Bornholm as part of a test - the warhead was a dummy made of
concrete. This was photographed (? Some sources only mention
sketches?) by the Danish Naval Officer-in-Charge on Bornholm,
Lieutenant Commander Hasager Christiansen. Although this rocket
was probably launched from a Heinkel III, this was the first sign
British Intelligence saw of Germany's aspirations to develop the
flying bombs and rockets - which were to become known as V1 and
was heavily bombarded by Soviet forces in May 1945. Von Kamft, the
German superior officer in charge of the island garrison refused
to surrender to Soviet forces, as his orders were to surrender to
the Allied Forces. The Germans sent several telegrams to
Copenhagen requesting that at least one single British soldier
should be transferred to Bornholm, so that the Germans could
surrender to the western allied forces instead of the Russians.
When Von Kamft failed to provide a written capitulation as
demanded by Russian HQ, Soviet aircraft relentlessly bombed and
destroyed more than 800 civilian houses, with roughly 3000 more
being seriously damaged on the 7th and 8th of May 1945.
Eventually, the German garrison did surrender to the Soviet
forces, which occupied the island until April 5, 1946. As a
result, quite a few natives of Bornholm to this day regard
Russians with some suspicion and contempt, as the Russian forces
made their presence felt for a whole year while looting and
ravaging the Bornholm countryside.
newer times NATO radar installations have been placed on the
Russian (Soviet) declaration after World War II states that
foreign (read: NATO) soldiers on Bornholm would be a declaration
of war against Russia, and that Denmark should keep troops on it
at all time to protect it from foreign aggression. This has caused
diplomatic problems at least twice; once when an American
helicopter landed outside the city of Svaneke due to engine
problems in a NATO drill over the Baltic Sea, and once (somewhere
between 1999 and 2003) when the Danish government suggested total
shut down of Almegårdens Kaserne, the local military
facility, since "the island could quickly be protected by
troops from surrounding areas and has no strategic importance
after the fall of the Iron Curtain".
Courtesy of Wikipedia