New Danish Film Tells Horror Story Of German Prisoners Told To Clear Mines After WWII

A new Danish film has been released telling the story behind millions of landmines buried on the coast of Denmark during World War Two.

Martin Zandvliet’s Danish drama ‘Land of Mine’ tells the story behind the land mine clearance of around two million land mines that were buried along the west coast of Denmark during World War Two by the Nazis. There were so many land mines buried there that the Danish Government only officially declared all beaches affected safe in 2012.

The Nazis occupied Denmark from 1940 to 1945, and buried the land mines because they anticipated that the Allies might invade Europe along Denmark’s coastline.

Once the war had ended, the Danish authorities used German prisoners of war to begin the massive clearing of the mines.

Zandvliet, the director and screenwriter of the film, has focused on a small group of those German prisoners of war, who were told that if they cleared the mines they would be sent home. At the time most of them were just teenagers.

The group are taught how to defuse the land mines, but they have to operate under the constant threat of being killed in an explosion.

The situation became dire for the prisoners as they were provided with little food or were blown up by the land mines, the Hitfix reports.

The film charts the changing attitude of a Danish guard towards his prisoners. He begins to see them as simply young boys who want to return home, rather than prisoners of war and part of the Nazi regime.

The film sympathises with the young prisoners’ plight and movie goers will see the bond between prisoners and guard develop over the course of the film.

Around half of those prisoners who participated in the land mine clearance died doing so.

Land of Mine is to be submitted as Denmark’s submission for the Foreign Language Film Academy Award.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE