Vestre Prison is a closed, active prison, which was built on Vestre Fælled in Copenhagen in 1895. It has housed some of the worst criminals of all time, but also many Danish resistance fighters were brought here during World War II.
In the latter half of the 1800s the population of Copenhagen increased due to growth in industry, commerce and shipping.
This meant that the crime in Copenhagen also increased, and there was a need for a place to put all these criminals. This resulted in the construction of Vestre Prison, which was then designed by city architect Ludvig Fenger.
Over the years there have been made many changes and expansions to the prison, and today it is the largest prison in Denmark with a capacity for 435 inmates. Behind the thick brick walls are, besides the cells, a hospital, a school, a church and a library.
Vestre Prison during World War II
During the World War II many Danish resistance fighters and saboteurs were brought in for questioning in Vestre Prison, where the "lucky" ones were transferred to Frøslevlejren (Frøslev camp) or German concentration camps.
The less fortunate were sentenced to death and executed in what is now Ryvangen Memorial Park.
Vestre Prison and the Hvidsten Group
Best known is probably the Jutlandic resistance group the Hvidsten Group, of which eight members sat in Cell C2 on the second floor of the prison.
The Hvidsten group was centered around the Hvidsten Inn, just outside the town of Randers in Western Denmark, and was led by the innkeeper Marius Fiil. From 1943 -1944, they received arms, ammunition and explosives dropped by British aircrafts.
The group was arrested 11 March 1944 and brought to Vestre Prison. 26 June eight of them were sentenced to death by German war court-martial. Three days later they were executed by firing squad in Ryvangen.
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