By GRACE CONWAY Fr. Martindale came back to England a week last Wednesday after five years' "exile" in Denmark. He arrived in Copenhagen on April 6, 1940, and on the 9th Denmark was invaded by the Germans, There has been little or no contact with him all this time and considering the precarious state of his health even before he left England, keen anxiety has been felt for him. At best his friends have only been able to conjecture about what was happening and it was only since the liberation that any reliable news came through. Now, to the relief and joy of all who know him he is back with us again. This week I was able to talk to him, to congratulate him on behalf of THE CATHOLIC HERALD on his safe return and to listen to some of his experiences. It would have been unfair to ask Fr. Martindale for a long interview. As he says himself, he must have time to " get his breath " before he talks at length on the five long years of his internment.
At first, Fr. Martindale told me, when the Germans invaded, it seemed as. though he might be able to get away with other British residents in Copenhagen. The British Minister put his name on the list which had to be submitted to Berlin for approval. When the German authorities examined the
list they crossed his name off. He was forbidden to leave and was told he must stay where he was—in the German Jesuit house in Copenhagen. " I was very lucky not to be put under lock and key," he said. " l think that the fact that 1 was in the German Jesuit house somewhat baffled the Germans. They were not quite sure how to proceed?'
As we now know Fr. Martindale became very ill—the result not of lack of food but of the extreme cold of the winter of 1941. Everything died that year, he told me, even the evergreens. " There was no hot water and the only time one could get a hot bath was if a friend in the suburbs was allowed. to heat the water for an occasional washing day. These Danish friends would invite me to go out then. But, unfortunately, I was only allowed out into the street. if I wanted to visit anywhere I had to io to the police station for permission. I had to climb upstairs wad this, with the intense cold, resulted in Kw having a Seen *Ss*
on the floor or thc police station. I think that frightened them it little, for afterwards I was allowed to 'phone them for the necessary permission."
That winter he became dangerously ill with angina and dropsy. He was taken to a Catholic hospital and received the Last Sacraments. When he recovered he was moved to the cornmunal hospital and later was allowed to go and stay at the Convent of the
Assumption. All this time very few letters came through the Red Cross. Some letters arrived two years after they had been sent and it was found afterwards that the Germans burnt whole sacksful. Some letters Fr. Martindale managed to get smuggled to Sweden through a very good Swedish friend. A few got through by way of Portugal. There were, of course, no English newspapers only Danish ones which were all dictated by the Germans sod so tome not evoieb vestige. The succeeding winters with their intense cold did little tohelp Fr. Martindale's health. He passed the time playing patience and reading detective stories and writing but not, as he said, very consecutively. And yet, while he was in exile he wrote a new Lifc of Frascati which was translated into Danish. He also wrote a new Life of St. Camillus de Tellis in which was incorporated a good deal of material not previously published. This was done at the request of the Camillans, and was translated into Danish by Fra Berggreen. What was perhaps the more important to the ordinary Catholic in Denmark than either of these works was a new prayer book, on the lines of that written for the Apostleship of the Sea. This was translated by the lay editor of the Catholic weekly Kawl.sk Ogebled. and is in use all over Denmark. Over 50.000 copies were printed. Things went frbm bad to worse in Denmark when the Danish police were disbanded. There were then only Getman police, but they did not carry out any of the functions of an ordinary police force. " You see," Fr. Martindale explained, " the Germans wanted Denmark to be a model Protectorate. But when they found the Danes would not co-operate, they became angry. Prisons were opened and criminals and mental defectives were allowed to roam about free. From these were formed the notorious traitor groups. All kinds of crimes were committed by these people and even those the Germans themselves committed were blamed on them. When General Lindemann, the new military governor, took over there were wholesale shootiags. Unfortunately, the " execution park " was just behind the convent where Fr. Martindale was staying and very little was left
to the imagination. The Danes were taken out in parties of ten but generally only nine were shot; the last one was brought back to be questioned again in the hope that the sight of the execution of his comrades would unnerve him and make him talk.
When Fr. Martindale has recuperated he hopes to fill out the picture he has given here. In the meantime, it must be a matter of rest and re-building before he is able once again to take up the threads of the active life he led before that favedsi jaRFEARF is Ma.