The Shell House: Gestapo Headquarters
Today all you see is a boring petrol station. But during World War II the corner of Kampmannsgade and Vester Farimagsgade in inner Copenhagen was equal to the Gestapo headquarters in Denmark.
The original building was designed by architect Gerhard Rønne in 1932 and served as the oil company Shell's headquarters in Denmark, until it fell into the hands of the Germans.
From here the Gestapo collected fatal information that would lead to the arrest of Danish resistance fighters in Copenhagen. The Gestapo's archive made the Shell House an obvious target for the allied forces.
Resistance fighters as human shields
Therefore the Gestapo placed the Danish resistance fighters as human shields on the Shell House's top floors.
The resistance fighters sat here while they waited either to be bombed by the allies, or tried, executed or sent to German concentration camps by the Germans.
On the current building's eastern facade you can see a memorial plaque in honour of the fallen.
The bombardment of Shell House
21 March 1945 an army of British bombers flew in over Copenhagen. At that time there were 26 prisoners on the top floor of the Shell House.
The Allies flew in at a low altitude and bombed the building's lower floors through the windows. Many Danes thought it was to spare the lives of the Danish resistance fighters, whereof 18 of the 26 made it out alive. However the British had actually anticipated that the building would collapse and take all the prisoners with it.
Approximately 125 people died in the bombardement of the Shell House. Only 51 of these could be identified. 42 died later of their injuries. The present building dates back to 1950-51 and is designed by Vilhelm Lauritzen. Shell left the building in 2001. It now houses the Attorney General.
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