Under German occupation, Denmark functioned as a specifically organized vassal state of Germany. Its peculiarity was that the pre-war king – Christian X – remained nominally at the head of the state, and at first even the Danish parliament, government and courts continued to exist.
Former SS and Gestapo member Werner Best died on June 23, 1989. Interestingly, he successfully completed his law studies in his youth. In fact, he received his doctorate from the famous University of Heidelberg. He had a role in the organization of the Gestapo, and as a theorist, he gave a legal basis for the activities of that organization. In the SS, Werner Best was promoted to the rank of Obergruppenführer, which corresponds to the rank of full general in the Wehrmacht.
During World War II, Best played an important role as a representative of the Reich in Denmark. Namely, Denmark under German occupation functioned as a specifically organized vassal state of Germany. Its peculiarity was that the pre-war king – Christian X – remained nominally at the head of the state, and at first even the Danish parliament, government and courts continued to exist. Werner Best, as the Reich’s plenipotentiary (German: Reichsbevollmächtigter), played a major role in transmitting Hitler’s demands to Danish institutions. Towards the end of the war, the situation worsened, and the German military commander in Denmark (Wehrmachtbefehlshaber in Dänemark) imposed a kind of state of emergency.
Interestingly, Best was actually trying to get Germany to rule Denmark in a mild way. It seems that his intention was to make Denmark an exemplary example of a good vassal state of the Third Reich, in which power should not be imposed by force. Still, hardliners eventually overcame and introduced deportations of Danish Jews to the camps, about which Best was not so enthusiastic. After the war Best was released from prison as early as 1951 and lived until 1989, when he died in Mülheim, Germany.