There are a total of 3 men on my list of possible candidates as to who The Dane used to be. I can’t rule out the possibility that it is not even one of them even though I find that very unlikely. 

I hadn’t been searching for long before I started to conclude that it might not even be that important to find out who was the man that became The Dane. If he wanted to keep it in the dark, it would probably be difficult to shed light upon it. There might be very good reasons for it as well. Anyway there wasn’t anyone left to miss him, if there ever were anybody. 

In the first part of the diary he mentions that his mother is dead. His relationship with his father must be said to be questionable at best, since he writes that his opinion doesn’t matter. 

It would be more interesting to find him alive now (if he is still alive) than to find out who he used to be. The diary ends a bit abruptly and doesn’t say anything about where he is heading or what he is going to do. I had a hard time just figuring out if he survived the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War ended, as you know, when the North Vietnam forces captured Saigon (Now known as Ho Chi Minh City) on april 30, 1975.

To find out more about the Dane I have examined every photograph from the Vietnam war that I could get my hands on. There are more than you would think, so it has taken me several years and I am not done yet.

Most of the images from the war were meant as propaganda for the American army and most often depict young clean soldiers who have not yet been in real combat situations. Even so, there are almost as many images of death and destruction. The most famous of all photographs from the war must be the one of Kim Phuc, who got known all over the world as the Napalm Girl. She is the girl running naked and screaming right at the photographer. 

If you dive further into the material – like I have done, there are photos of soldiers from NLF (National Liberation Front) or Viet Cong. These days they would probably be called warriors to get around the international laws and conventions regarding soldiers. Most of the images show captured soldiers. Some show women and children and you never really know if they are soldiers or civilians. 

I was looking for a caucasian male from northern Europe. There aren’t a lot of those and I have practically given up hope many times. 

As so often before, it is darkest just before dawn. I had almost given up once more to take a break from searching, when an image appeared that showed a man who could be European. It is a rather unclear photo that doesn’t really show that many faces. It must have had a personal value to the one that kept it safe. Maybe he is in the picture himself or maybe someone kept a photograph of their father or grandfather in remembrance of a fallen family member.  

The image did wake me and gave me some needed fuel to continue searching for The Dane. This could be proof that he existed, that he was an actual real person who fought in the Vietnam War.

does this image show the Dane as a Viet Cong soldier
Is that The Dane?

I am convinced – or maybe I have convinced myself – that the man in the picture doesn’t look Vietnamese or Asian. His hair is too light, his hairline is receding in a more typical European way, he seems to have a beard and it looks kind of blonde to me. He does look a little older than 18-19 years, but it is difficult to tell.

The photograph popped up in a collection owned by an Australian family in relation to an event where they were unveiling a monument to the Australians who died in the war. I haven’t found anyone related to any of the men in the image and the exact time and place where it was shot is unknown. The same goes for the photographer who remains unknown. 

In that way the photograph doesn’t really help me that much, but it might be the first proof I ever found, that the man ,whom I have chased for so many years, really does exist.

The second photograph I have found is even more blurry. It shows several young soldiers who seem to be having fun at that moment. They look like they are laughing at a man. He is the most blurry figure. He looks like he is wearing a uniform like the others but he is not armed or carrying any other equipment. 

His profile looks wrong if he was to be Asian. His chin is too pointed and protruding and his nose is too large as well. It is hard to see if the other soldiers in the image are standing, but if they are then he is a lot taller than them as well. 

The Dane with other soldiers
Could this be The Dane?

I have asked around to see if anyone knows anything about the origin of these photographs or if anyone knows the man in them. So far I haven’t had any luck and quite frankly, most people donøt really care. 

The same goes for the rest of my search for The Dane in these early years in Vietnam. There are some clues, but there is no real evidence of a Danish man fighting alongside the Viet Cong. There is a diary and some photographs but so far that is all I have showing the existence of an actual person. 

Contrary to this, it has proven hard to find any evidence of any Europeans in Vietnam during the war – at least in the North. It is even hard to find evidence of Russian presence even though you have to assume that they were there since they – alongside China – were supporting the North Vietnamese in the war against the USA. Sometimes it feels like all the signs, evidence and clues have been erased and that the war is being covered up.

The world was rebelling in the late 60’ies and early 70’ies and there was a great opposition to the war in Vietnam. Some of this was countered by the general fear of the cold war and the tense situation in Berlin in the 60’ies. Even so, it does seem strange if not one single European young idealist went to fight for his beliefs in this war between communists and capitalists. 

Times were different than today. It wasn’t a coalition that went to war like it was in Syria or Iraq. It was mostly American forces and a lot of countries didn’t join this war. So in theory a Danish man could join the opposing side without commiting treason. The same goes for a lot of people from European countries – but there just isn’t any evidence of them anywhere. 

Maybe they have been deleted from history and from a war that nobody wants to take credit for having started or even taken part in. The first war that the USA can be said to have lost (remembering that the Korean War has never really ended). I can see how no one wants to tell the story about their uncle who went to Vietnam and killed a lot of American soldiers because he was a red hot communist. It does raise a lot of questions and it is a lot harder than to tell the story of the grandfather who died fighting the nazis. 

The bottom line is that I still hadn’t found the final proof of the existence of The Dane. So where should I go from there? Where should I look for a man who had fought in that war? He surely didn’t return to Denmark as a hero. 

The last pages in the diary suggests that he could have decided to pursue a life as a mercenary. That just doesn’t help that much. There are wars going on all over the world and I didn’t and don’t have a clue as to how you would become a mercenary. How does that work? How do you find your clients or employers? How do you apply for that job? And most important to my search, where do you go and where do you stay so that I can look in the right place?

Somehow I was still stuck at the beginning of my search. I still didn’t have any hard evidence. The images did however make me a little more certain that The Dane did exist and that the diary is authentic.

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