Playing with children’s lives: The Greenland youngsters taken from their homes just for a cruel experiment

Helene Thiesen was one of 22 children taken from their families for ‘a better life’ in Denmark, reports Nadine Nielsen in Copenhagen

Saturday 02 January 2021 17:12
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<p>The town of Nuuk in Greenland</p>

The town of Nuuk in Greenland

Helene Thiesen still remembers the new dress and the coat her mother made her. The new suitcase that she had with her when she embarked the ship that was going to take the seven-year-old girl on a two-week long voyage from Greenland to Denmark

It was supposed to mark the beginning of a better life in a place far away which her mother had described to her as “paradise”. Instead, it inflicted upon her an emotional scar that will never heal.

In May 1951, when Greenland was still a Danish colony, 22 children were sent to Denmark to learn the Danish language and culture. The plan was to give them a better chance in life which would benefit not just themselves, but also their communities once they were back in Greenland. Unfortunately, that was not how it turned out. 

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