MUNK, KAJ° (pseudonym of Harald Leininger; 1898–1944), Danish pastor and playwright. He showed an unusual interest in Jewish themes and his anti-Nazi writings and sermons had an incalculable effect on the Danish resistance movement during World War II. Perhaps the most influential, and certainly the most controversial, Danish playwright of his time, Munk lived – and died – for his ideals. At first he showed some sympathy for ultranationalism, betraying a certain preoccupation with the "strong men" of history. En idealist ("An Idealist," 1928) was a study of Herod the Great; De udvalgte ("The Chosen One," 1933) dealt with King David; and Sejren ("The Victory," 1936. was based on Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia. Munk was, however, outraged by what he saw during a visit to Berlin in 1938, and his drama Han sidder ved smedltediglen (He sits at the Melting Pot, 1938) attacked Hitler's persecution of the Jews. Two other works by Munk which appeared in the 1930s were Vedersø Jerusalem retur (1934), an account of the author's journey to the Holy Land among other places; and Os boerer den himmelske gloede ("Heavenly Joy Bears Us," 1934), a collection of verse containing impressions of Palestine. After Denmark was overrun by the Germans, Kaj Munk came to be regarded, by Danes and Germans alike, as one of the leading spokesmen of the Danish resistance. His play Niels Ebbesen (1942), which deals with the Nazi occupation, was suppressed but nevertheless enjoyed a clandestine circulation. He was murdered by the Nazis. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: R.P. Keigwin, Kaj Munk, Playwright, Priest and Patriot (1944); P.M. Mitchell, History of Danish Literature (1957), 258–62.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Kaj Munk — He was born Kaj Harald Leininger Petersen on the island of Lolland, Denmark, and raised by a family named Munk after the death of his parents. From 1924, he was the vicar of Vedersø in Western Jutland.The dramas of Munk were mostly performed and… …   Wikipedia

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