In 1951, Denmark’s government approved a social experiment where 22 children were taken from their homes in Greenland and moved to Denmark where they were immersed in Danish language and culture. The idea was to create a new elite group of Danish-thinking Greenlanders and return them to take a leading role in their country’s education system.
But the experiment was a complete failure, not least because the children never made it back to their families in Greenland, or made any mark in education. Now, Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist, Denmark’s Social Democrats, and a group of advocates want an official apology from the Danish government. So far, none has been forthcoming.
SIKUnews reports that Kleist is calling the matter a “classic colonial case” and wants a complete investigation into the experiment. The Social Democrats have also jumped on the bandwagon, calling for a commission to look into what they call a “black chapter” in Danish history.
The pressure is now mounting on Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to issue a formal public apology. The 22 children from Greenland were eventually adopted or placed in foster homes. Interestingly, more than half of them died as young adults, raising a number of questions that the surviving children want answered by the Danish government.