The German Base
When the tide of war changed for Hitler’s Germany in 1943, the order came to reinforce the defence of Denmark against a feared Allied invasion of the west coast of Jutland. This was to take place through the establishment of four air bases (Stützpunkte), three in Jutland (Vandel, Skrydstrup and Tirstrup) and Beldringe in Fyn.
Nearly 3000 tonnes of land were seized for the Beldringe air base. Within the seized area were the villages of Allesø, Beldringe, Tåstrup and sections of Lumby Tårup. The population of the villages had to make way for German soldiers and Danish workers. The buildings were repurposed. Some farms were converted to large pigsties, while others were repurposed as dining halls. In Allesø, the Germans set up various workshops, prisons and even purchased a cinema. Allesø School became an administration building for the German commander.
In Beldringe, the construction of the air base got underway at once. The construction foreman entered the old farm estate of Rosendal with his staff. More than 5000 Danish workers got to work planing and removing land barriers so the two-kilometre long, 50-metre wide runway could be constructed.
They also started a ten-kilometre long taxiway that was to circle around the entire site. Along the taxiway, the Germans set up airplane cover, fuel depots and various bunkers, including two command bunkers.
Today you can still find many kilometres of taxiway in the area between Allesø and Beldringe.
In the final months of the war, up to 250,000 German refugees came to Denmark on Hitler’s orders. About 1500 of them came to live in the area previously seized in connection with the Beldringe Air Base. As the German soldiers returned home, the refugees were relocated to the area. Here, refugees lived side by side with English troops, who took the site a week after the liberation.
The German refugees left the Allesø camp in February of 1947, whereupon they gathered in Grove. From here, they went home. Not to their home towns, but primarily to the French occupation zone in Germany.
The Fyn Occupation Museum opened in 2013. The museum is located in the Rosendal farm and features a permanent exhibition about the resistance movement, the German presence, and the daily lives of the Danes in the years between 1940-45.
The museum also encompasses a command bunker from 1944. Here you can see an exhibition on the Beldringe Air Base.
Did you know…
that the Allesø hall was originally an aircraft hangar built by the Germans during the occupation? It was built by Danish workers and paid for by Danes, but under German management and command.
Did you perhaps also know that the priest of Østrup Parish, Pastor (Pistol) Pedersen, was a highly active resistance officer and saboteur? One of the targets of his sabotage was the construction of the Beldringe air base. Pastor (Pistol) Pedersen had an agreement with Otterup Kro that he could have his breakfast for free every time he had been out bombing the Bogense airfield. This happened a total of 27 times!