Lieutenant Wieseler’s pistol


Lieutenant Wieseler's pistol, which played a major role during the August-revolt in Odense in 1943. This pistol belongs to the museum 'Besættelsessamlingen' in Odense but is now at Møntergården in Odense.

Intro

During the revolt in Odense in August 1943, a young German lieutenant walked into a large, angry crowd. He felt threatened so he drew his pistol and fired into the crowd; he then attempted to flee. People were furious and he was captured and badly beaten.

German occupation

German occupation, 1940-45 Two devastating world wars had left their brutal marks on Europe in the 20th century. During World War One, Denmark was a neutral state, but during World War Two the country was occupied. The German occupying power wanted to protect important lines of supply including railways, ports and the Little Belt Bridge.

At the end of July 1943, the German minesweeper, Linz, was sabotaged at the steel shipyard in Odense. This led to unrest on 12th August and, later, to strikes across Odense. More than 4,000 men downed tools and the Germans had difficulty in managing the situation. It developed further into a spontaneous general strike with huge demonstrations in central Odense and the strike spread to most other large Danish towns and cities. The municipal council, the trades unions and the Danish police attempted to find a solution, but people did not get back to work until 24th August. Five days later, the policy of official cooperation with the Germans broke down.

Lieutenant Wieseler’s pistol
During the revolt in Odense in August 1943, a young German lieutenant chanced to walk into a large, angry crowd. Suddenly he felt so threatened that he drew his pistol and fired into the crowd; he then attempted to flee. This made people furious and he was captured and badly beaten. News of the episode reached Hitler’s ears and he demanded that the Danish government introduce a state of emergency and the death penalty for sabotage. The government could not meet his demands and was forced to resign. After three years of occupation, Denmark had finally taken sides in the war.

This location is part of the exhibition 'Funen – at the centre of the universe', at Møntergården in Odense. Read more about the exhibition on our website.