Brun Eske

In 1932, Eske Brun first came to Greenland from Denmark, where he worked in Godhavn (Qeqertarsuaq) as interim Governor of North Greenland (Landsfoged). He left again in 1933 and returned to his job in the Ministry. In the years 1925-1950, all Greenlandic affairs were administered by the Greenland Administration (Gr0nlandsstyrelsen). Brun was attached to this organization from 1934 when he was offered a job as principal. The same year he returned to Greenland, this time to Godthab (Nuuk) as interim Governor of South Greenland (Landsfoged). Later, once again he became interim Governor of North Greenland, and he did not return to Denmark until 1936.

Brun was appointed Governor of North Greenland in 1939. When Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany on April 9, 1940, the history of Greenland and the life of Eske Brun changed dramatically. The Danish Ambassador to USA, Henrik Kauffmann, immediately announced that he did not want to follow the Danish policy of cooperating with the Germans. Kauffmann chose to represent "Denmark as it existed, and that will continue to exist, even if its government temporarily is suppressed." He was in Washington to represent the King, a democratic Denmark, and a free and independent people. In Greenland, the opinion was the same. The two Governors, Axel Svane and Eske Brun, called the two Assemblies (Landsrad) from South and North Greenland to a joint meeting in Godthab, where it was stated that Greenland belonged to Denmark, but during the hostile occupation, Greenland wanted to cooperate with the USA. Governor Svane traveled to the USA in 1941 and joined Ambassador Kauffmann; Brun stayed in Greenland and took charge of the entire administration.

The monopoly continued, even if the supplies no longer came from Denmark but instead from the USA and to a lesser degree from Canada. Both the USA and Canada appointed consuls to Greenland. An Agreement Relating to the Defence of Greenland was signed in Washington by Kauffmann and Secretary of State Cordell Hull on April 9, 1941. Subsequently, the USA built up 17 military installations in Greenland. During the war, Brun gained more power and he also became a Defense Chief, when he established a military patrol to guard the coast of East Greenland. But Brun never recognized Kauffmann as his superior. As a matter of fact, Brun ran the country because he was the Danish government in person; he worked closely with the Joint Greenland Assembly and the consuls of the USA and Canada. In a way, the colonial system had never been so powerful as during the war. It would be easy to accuse Brun of being a power-seeker. Viewed another way, he can be seen as clever and pragmatic, a man who understood how to get the best out of a bad situation.

When news of the liberation of Denmark reached Greenland on May 4, 1945, Brun returned all authority to the Danish government. Brun went back to Denmark and, with his long and great experience from Greenland, thought that someone in the Greenland Administration would like to listen to him and what kind of thoughts he had for the future of Greenland.

Prime Minister Vilhelm Buhl asked Brun only once about his opinion. Brun wrote him a memo in September 1945, giving a thorough description of the poor conditions in Greenland. Further, he referred to the UN charter of 1945, Article 73, which states the responsibilities the member states have to those people who had not yet attained a full measure of self-government. He was specifically referring to section A, which reads: "to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses"; and to section B, which reads: "to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement "

For the next year and a half, Brun heard nothing from the Greenland Administration, and he began looking for a new job. But in 1946, the Danish press traveled in Greenland, and their reports were of such character that Hans Hedtoft, the new Prime Minister, was shocked. He called Brun and offered him the job as vice-director in the Greenland Administration. In the following years, Brun led in reforming Greenland into a modern society. In 1949, he was appointed Director of the Greenland Administration, and in 1950, the White Paper on Greenland's future (G-50) came from the joint Danish-Greenlandic Greenland Commission. The modernization included that Greenland should become an equal and integrated part of Denmark. According to the Constitution from 1953, Greenland became so, and two Greenlanders were elected Members of the Danish Parliament. At the same time the Greenland Administration was changed into a Department of Greenlandic Affairs under the Prime Minister's Office. Brun was appointed Head of the Department. In 1954, when the Ministry for Greenlandic Affairs was opened, Brun was appointed Head of the Department there.

Brun was pro-American, and he was the lead person in negotiating the American military presence in Greenland. Paradoxically he did not ensure, with due respect for the culture of the Inughuit (Polar Eskimos), their political, economic, and social rights when the USA started building up the Thule Air Base on the territory of the Inughuit in 1951. The Inughuit were forced away from their small village Uummannaq in 1953. Until his death, Brun denied that the Inughuit had been displaced.

0 0

Post a comment