On April 9, 1940, German forces invaded Norway and Denmark. Knud Pedersen and his family raced outside their house and looked at the sky. Above them, German warplanes were flying low and pieces of green paper fluttered to the ground. The German military alerted the citizens of Denmark that they arrived and were taking over the country in order to “protect them”.
King Christian X of Denmark, surrendered almost immediately, convinced that his country’s troops were unable to defeat the Nazi German forces. Norway resisted with counterattacks with help from Allied Forces and with an underground resistance movement.
Knud Pedersen, his older brother Jens and their friends were ashamed of how their government had reacted. Denmark had no army to stand up to the Nazis. “One thing had become very clear: now any resistance in Denmark would have to come from ordinary citizens, not from trained soldiers” -Knud Pedersen. After reading the newspapers and listening to radio reports from the BBC, Knud and his brother Jens decided that if the adults were not going to act, then they would. So in the summer of 1940, the first resistance movement began in Denmark.
Knud Pedersen, Jens Pedersen and six of their friends made up the Churchill Club. The club operated in Aalborg, Denmark for a little over a year. But during that time, the boys managed to sabotage a lot of German operations. The Churchill Club started small and with each success, their actions grew bolder. They stole German weapons, destroyed train cars full of German artillery and machinery and left their mark wherever they went. More people joined the Churchill Club. Others assisted them as best as they could. Of course the Nazis were angry about the attacks against them and sought to find the persons responsible. The members of the Churchill Club were arrested in May, 1942.
The courage these young men had to defy the Nazi army amazes me. Knud Pedersen recounts different acts of sabotage that he and his friends committed. At times, the stories are tense and you fear for the boys safety. And the book does not end at their arrest. Pedersen and his friends were still defiant in jail. Some of them were able to escape nightly and create havoc; sneaking into their jail cell early in the morning. The Danish and German governments could not agree on what to do with the boys or how to punish them. But the actions of the Churchill Club inspired more people to rise up and resist the Nazis.