The famous Danish Resistance fighter Jørgen Kieler was sentenced to death during the German occupation of Denmark in 1944 for his work with the resistance group Holger Danske.
He escaped execution and was instead sent to the concentration camp at Porta Westfalica near Neuengamme, from which he returned home in 1945, going on to outstay his death sentence for over 70 years.
Kieler’s family confirmed that he died on Sunday aged 97.
“We were arrested one month before the Hvidsten Group,” Kieler told the Free Press Society internet magazine Sappho.
“I knew it was a death sentence, but then the Hvidsten Group were executed before us, and our execution was postponed.”
A life well lived
Both Kieler and his brother were sentenced to death and wound up in the camp. They were near death when they were finally rescued by the famed white buses of the Swedish duke.
Back in Denmark, Kieler resumed his medical studies and became a doctor in 1947.
He devoted his life as a doctor to the fight against cancer. Both at the Fibiger Laboratory, where he worked from 1953, and then as head of research at the Cancer Society from 1980. In 1984, he was named head of the Fibiger Institute.
A low profile
Kieler kept his resistance work quiet for many years until he was persuaded to break his silence by his friend Eli Wiesel, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
The former resistance fighter also used his experience as a prisoner in Germany to assist in studies for the development of better conditions for prisoners.