Going Underground

Father Hiding from the Gestapo

"...couldn’t go to the emergency room because he couldn’t walk in there with German bullet. "

Well, yeah. The reason he went underground and disappeared was basically after probably—well the one close was when they were blowing up one of the supply trains, and they were running away from the rail yard, jumping over the fences. He was shot in the back of the knee, but couldn’t go to the emergency room because he couldn’t walk in there with German bullet. Wouldn’t look so good. [Chuckles]. That was a pretty close call. And when he was buried, he was buried with his bullet. So...my grandmother was able to cut it out. So...
Interviewer: What—instead of going to the hospital, he went to his parents’ house?
Toben: Yeah. Yeah.
Interviewer: Was he on the run?
Toben: Yeah. He ran. Adrenaline. Yeah.
Interviewer: And he made it to your grandparents’ house where your grandmother treated him?
Toben: Yeah. Yeah.
Interviewer: Then what happened?
Toben: Well, he healed. That was good. He was still good at running. That helps. [Chuckles]. And he kept the resistance fighting, you know, they probably kept as many trains as they could blow up, they were...hmm...
Interviewer: And when did he go underground?
Toben: Probably in 1944...that’s my guess, because he must have really—they must have really known at that point that he was a resistance fighter, because his name must have been on a list, and...they came up the front steps, and my dad went up the kitchen steps, all the way to the top of the—attic, got out the window, and leapt over to the other building, and slid down the window there. And he mingled in the crowd instead of running away, ’cause then they would have known. But when we talk to the students about bystanders, he had thousands of bystanders all curious, now. “Who are they arresting today?” So my dad went over and said, “Who are they arresting today?” Just to pretend that “Oh, yeah. Couldn’t be me if I’m down here, right?” [Chuckles].
Interviewer: And what did your grandparents say to the Gestapo?
Toben: They didn’t know where he went, and they didn’t. And my grandfather turned white-haired overnight because he didn’t know. And I’m surprised they didn’t take my grandfather. Really surprised.
Interviewer: So when you say “to go underground”...
Toben: Yeah. He went to the underground resistance headquarters. He got new passport, new ID, and new name.
Interviewer: So it was more a changing of identity?
Toben: Yeah. Change of identity.
Interviewer: Where were the headquarters?
Toben: In Copenhagen. Near the stadium. And...it was...they managed to get connections, so my dad sort of slid out of town and became a farm boarder, and that’s what he did the last year of the war. So...and the farmer didn’t know anything. It was just extra help...yeah. So...
Interviewer: Did he give up active fighting at that point?
Toben: I think so, but, you know, I’m sure it was hard to not be a little bit of [Chuckles] a spy.
Interviewer: You talk about his youth, you talk about the lack of dopamine...
Toben: Right. [Laughs].
Interviewer: What else do you think motivated him?
Toben: Well...the unfairness of, you know, being the—maybe being the underdog. Maybe he just felt he was, you know...because...even though they were not told the truth, I think some people did know about what was going on in the concentration camps...and...because things were leaked out, and...w—you know—what the future would look like with the Nazis didn’t look good, so I think that was enough to resist, you know, not having a freedom of speech and so forth…