Danish syndicalist Thørger Thørgersen speaking at a demonstration in Copenhagen


This photograph shows Danish communist leader Thøger Thøgersen giving a speech on 10 November 1918. Thøgersen had a reputation as an outstanding speaker and agitator. He was also a syndicalist, believing in rule through trade union collectives. Shortly before the outbreak of war he had been excluded from the Social Democratic Party, because he was opposed to the party’s support of military grants.

In November 1918, Grønttorvet in Copenhagen saw some of the most violent ever riots in Denmark. A number of leaders of the syndicalist movement had been imprisoned, which caused large demonstrations between 10 and 13 November.

During the Battle at Grønttorvet, as the demonstrations became known, there were many violent fights between police and demonstrators during which several hundred people were injured. Around 50 received a sentence, among them Thøgersen himself who was given 18 months in prison. The authorities had acted harshly because of a widespread fear that Danish revolutionaries might be as successful as their fellow activists in Germany and Russia.

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Danish syndicalist Thørger Thørgersen speaking at a demonstration in Copenhagen (Grønttorvet)
10 November, 1918
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