Two excerpts to shed light on the fate of Danish author Olga Eggers

 


Olga Eggers 1912

 

"Olga Eggers – from social democrat to nazi"

by Iben Vyff

(abstract, taken from an article in Arbejderhistorie 3/1999, p. 17-30.)

"The writer and journalist Olga Eggers was born in 1875 and died in the days immediately following the liberation of Denmark from nazi occupation in 1945. She was a woman who came to prominence in the Danish cultural life in the inter-war period as a productive writer but, as a result of her political mistake, has been subsequently forgotten. Ideologically Olga Eggers went through a number of great changes in the course of her lifetime. She changed from being a progressive pioneer on
the question of women’s rights and conditions to being a reactionary and opposed to equal rights. From being a social democrat and a fighter against racial prejudice to holding an active membership of various national socialist and antisemitic political groups. The article describes the political change Olga Eggers went through from social democrat to nazi and discusses how this enigma, which springs from the experiences of her life, can be explained. Other than personal disagreements with the social democratic party leadership and her family connections with leading German nazis (her cousin was director of the German Reichsbank, Hjalmer Schacht) it is pointed out that the change is also related to her attraction to the nazi woman ideals. Olga Eggers was of the opinion that the nazi understanding of women was not repressive but was quite the opposite as it gave the woman an important role in the maintenance of the nation.

by Iben Vyff, cand. mag."

 

"SUMMARY Sofie Bak*: The correspondence between Olga Eggers and Georg Brandes 1903-1918."

(English summary of article by Sofie Bak in Fund og Forskning, vol. 43, 2004)

"Following a number of transfers to the Royal Library Manuscript Department, it has become possible to reconstruct important elements for understanding the relationship between popular author Olga Eggers and the established man of letters Georg Brandes. Olga Eggers later became known as one of the leading Nazi figures during the Occupation, when she was editor of the rabidly anti-semitic journal Kamptegnet, which denounced the same Georg Brandes as the prime example of the degenerative influence of jews on the Danish national character. How did this tolerant Social Democrat and advocate of women's rights turn into a Nazi and anti-semite? Olga Eggers' novels and her preserved correspondence, which stretches from 1903 to 1918 tells of a love affair which had crucial impact on Eggers' understanding of the nature and position of the sexes.

The modern and provocative message of sexual freedom and women's right to selfrealisation which we find in Eggers' early novels was replaced by a focus on the emotional and physical consequences for women of erotic liberation, and by a conservative understanding of the ineluctable biological nature of the differences between the sexes. The understanding was not so far from the Nazi view of womens role in society. Equally, Nazism's praise of motherhood and ils promises to create favourable social and economic conditions for family life appealed to the socially indignant writer. A further explanation for Olga Eggers' racist anti-semitism is the racial thinking of the interwar period. Racial theories of a Jewish race with special characteristics infected the debate on Georg Brandes both in his lifetime and subsequently. Although Brandes himself was in doubt, he made efforts to free himself from a paradigm which would not be definitively rejected until the catastrophic consequences of the Third Reich's racial thinking became evident. From that time on, Jew is something one chooses to be."

source

(Sofie Bak is a Danish scholar, working presently at the Danish Royal Library, research department (dec. 2010). She is a well-known Danish Philo-Semite, who has studied Anti-Semitism in Denmark and written a dissertation about it: 'Danish Anti-Semitism 1930-45' from 2004.

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