Soviet Bornholm

Hjorth Danish Art Nouveau Vase from Bornholm (LEO Design)

The quant and beautiful island of Bornholm—floating in the Baltic, untethered to its Danish motherland—had a remarkable World War II history of invasion and occupation.  Prior to the war, the island was the site of crafts-making and a place for quiet retreat during the long, Northern summer days.  But it was also strategically situated and,thus, was invaded by the Nazis in 1940 who wanted the island as a look-out and listening point—to protect German boats and submarines in the Baltic Sea.

As the war was winding-down, Allied Soviets began circling the island and demanded the Germans surrender.  Alas, the Germans on Bornholm had been instructed to only surrender to Western Allied troops.  While the Soviets waited, the German officers sent cables to Copenhagen, essentially begging them to send at least one English soldier to the island—so that the Germans could surrender as they had been instructed.  As the Russians became impatient, they began to bombard the island relentlessly.

No Englishman ever showed-up, the Soviets were restless, and, finally, the Nazis surrendered to their Eastern enemies. The Soviets spent about a year occupying the island. On this day in 1946, the Soviets left.

The vase, pictured above, was made on Bornholm around 1910.  Luckily, it appears to have left before the damaging Soviet bombardment.  Click on the photo to learn more about it.


LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed.  While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate  (

Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts"

Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"