Longtime Bainbridge Island resident, author and retired professor Dr. Nat Hong will share how living overseas as a child led to a lifelong personal and professional interest in the history of the Nazi German occupation of Denmark during a special installment of the ongoing travelogue series “Tuesdays at The Traveler” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11.
Celebrating its 24th year, The Traveler (256 Winslow Way East) is a store dedicated to equipping those looking to explore the world by inspiring a love of travel and fostering understanding of other cultures.
Hong will also share some World War II places of historical interest in contemporary Copenhagen and Denmark to help travelers enrich their understanding of the Danish experience during the war years.
Admission is free and open to all.
Hong’s parents were lifelong translators of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and spent a sabbatical year in Denmark in 1960 with their young children, including himself (he was in first grade at the time).
Just 20 years earlier, Nazi Germany had invaded Denmark and Norway and occupied them both until the end of World War II in 1945.
Hong later returned and spent seventh and ninth grades in Denmark, too.
“In seventh grade, we lived in Copenhagen and I discovered the Museum of Denmark’s Fight for Liberation 1940-1945,” he said. “It was a human-scale museum telling the story of the Danish underground, its illegal press and its campaign of sabotaging Danish companies that worked for Nazi Germany.
“That early fascination with the Danish resistance led to my focus on that place and period in graduate school many years later.”
Hong is a retired Olympic College professor, and holds a master’s degree in journalism history from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in communications from the University of Washington.
On several year-long stays in Denmark as an adult, he has conducted research about the Nazi occupation of Denmark at the Museum of Danish Resistance, the Danish National Archive, the Royal Library and other occupation history archives around Denmark.
Additionally, he is a published author with two books dedicated to this subject. “Occupied,” published in 2012, is the first English-language history of the Nazi occupation of Denmark to be published in recent times. According to Palle Roslyng-Jensen, senior lecturer in history at Copenhagen University, the book is “a balanced and engaging account of both the conspicuous resistance experience and non-heroic adaptation to the Occupation Power, which in some instances came close to outright collaboration.”
“Sparks of Resistance,” published in 1996, provides an in-depth history of the early illegal resistance press in Denmark.