Tag Archives: Denmark

Who AM I?

A question more and more people are asking, and are having answered via Ancestry.com, and Henry Gates, DNA research.

I am an only child, with no close relatives living nearby. I cannot recall being very interested in genealogy and my parents rarely said anything about it. However, one day my father gave me a genealogical chart, which would prove to be a great adventure. Following one strand on the paternal side, begins with a Fritz Levy, who lived in Denmark. So Fritz was a Jew–how did he get to live in Denmark? This question would not be answered until much later.

Now my great uncle Lewis, whose wife aunt Maida was, graduated from West Point in 1903, Douglas MacArthur class. The story goes that  great uncle Lewis brought Macarthur home several times, and that he once danced with my grandmother (who was a Quaker!)  Uncle Lewis had the prejudices of  a man of his day–he was anti-Semitic. They set out to track down the ancestry, and, when he found he had had Jewish ancestors in Denmark, he turned around and went home! Fortunately, Aunt Maida was not so biased so she got all the pertinent information she  could, which led to two sons, Kurt and Meyer Levi nothing to snort at, being a Levite! was his grand neice’s reaction years later.( Kurt)  Charles wounded up becoming the king’s physician–not a popular choice, except to the King!

His brother, Meyer, came to America in 1833 and in 1866, was named Consul General to Denmark,Norway and Sweden, , and wrote music and drama columns for the Baltimore Sun. He anglicized his name to Martin Lewis, and married a gentile, Rebecca Freyer–we have a sampler she sewed when she was 8 years old downstairs, which I never understood before!!

Meanwhile, back in Denmark, Charles’ daughter, Fanny, also married a gentile Lawritz Muus. Th ey had four sons. It was only when my relative came to visit that I learned the true story of the four sons” Muus was infertile, so Fanny had four sons by four different men- Following straight down that line, one son, Kai Muus, became a diplomat; his daughter, Vibee, married an Ernst Bencard–a French-souding name. One of her sons was named Flemming.

At that time, I asked a fellow-WFA member who had lived in Denmark if she could give me a steer toward Flemming.'”Everyone in Denmark knows Flemming Muus!  He is a national hero!” This was quite a bit to absorb!  There is a book he wrote about the Resistance, The Spark and the Flame, and another book out is a biography of  Flemming’s mother-in-law, Christina. Oops!  She also helped in the resistance, rowing out into the lake behind her home to recover drops from the British, and burying them on an island  in the middle of the lake . She was caught, tried, and sentenced to a German POW camp, where she died–her body was never recovered.

Her daughter, Varinka (Inkie) married Flemming; they had no children. This takes me into the present, as Varinka was sstill alive; she wrote me that the first time Flemming saw her, he asked her to marry him; she didn’t know him from Adam, besides, the British had given him  enough plastic surgery so h e could pass his own mother on the street undetected!

However, his brother had children, one of them, Mogens, whom we met, and is vastly interesting himself Meanwhile, there is a rift between Danish historians about who really led the resistance; there were local organization native to Denmark, while Flemming was dropped in from the British after coming up from Africa by canoe, having the ship he was leaving on bombed and sunk, so, leaving on another.

At story’s end, a friend told me how Fritz got to Denmark. Frederick the Great wished to attracted professionals north to his country, which at that time, was mainly agricultural.