This was true today as it was during the Second World War: food supplies are crucial to every war and every invasion. Someone has to take care of it, and during the occupation of Copenhagen, the German Wehrmacht was put in charge of it. Today we can see some small etched remains over eighty years old.
We saw the Wehrmacht Graffiti during a short trip to Copenhagen in the fall of 2022. We went to have a coffee in the Meatpacking District and had a location saved on our Google Maps. This was it.
We call them the Wehrmacht Graffiti from Copenhagen since this is what they were called in the Atlas Obscura book, where we first learned about it. We got it for Christmas a couple of years ago, and, from time to time, we go back to the book and check some unusual things to see on our trips.
Based on what we understood, during the first days of the German occupation of Denmark, the army seized control of an area known as Kødbyen. This part of town was filled with food processing facilities, butchers, and slaughterhouses. The Germans knew they needed to keep it safe and soldiers were in the area under constant surveillance.
It seems like the buildings around the Northernmost part of the district were where the Nazi army kept the potatoes. Something essential to every German.
But guarding potatoes can be dull, and the soldiers used their time differently. Some of them etched messages into the bricks of one of the buildings. These are the Wehrmacht Graffiti.
At the corner of a building, you will find the names of some soldiers, loved ones, and hometowns. Some swastikas and some longer sentences are hard to read now. Mainly because this small piece of history is not under any protected status. New graffiti is added to the walls every year and, as seen in the pictures here, makes it hard to distinguish what is new and dates back to the 1940s.
If you want to visit the Wehrmacht Graffiti in Copenhagen, you can find the location on the map below. Be aware that the building is now a school, so only take pictures of some things. Show some respect. Focus on the piece of history here, and you’ll be fine.
Echoes of Occupation: Unveiling the Wehrmacht Graffiti in Copenhagen’s Kødbyen
Staldgade 35 – Copenhagen