Kaj Munk - pencil drawing 1927 by Knud NørholmThe Kaj Munk Research Center
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Chronological table

1898 January 13, Kaj Harald Leininger Petersen, born in Maribo. He was the son of a tanner, Carl Emmanuel Petersen, and Mathilde, born Christensen.
1899 Kaj′s father dies.
1903 Kaj′s mother dies. Kaj′s health is poor; he is believed to die soon. Nov 20: Peter and Marie Munk receive little Kaj into the family. They live on a small farm in the town of Opager. The pastor at their church is from the Inner Mission movement. The Munks attend meetings at the mission house and at other members′ homes.
1905 Kaj goes to Opager school for about 2 years.
1908-11 Kaj goes to school in Vejleby. His teacher is Martinus Wested, whose conviction is more Grundtvig-like (not Inner Mission). From 1910 he is taught privately by pastor Bachewald′s new curate, an intellectual from Copenhagen. A new world opens to the boy when he reads Oehlenschläger etc.
1910 Peter Emmiche, one of Kaj Munk′s acquaintances, dies. Kaj Munk had prayed for him and is disappointed that there is no resurrection from the dead.
1911 Kaj Munk is a student at Maribo Realskole (Intermediate school), experiencing stimulating classes.
1914 Kaj Munk graduates from Maribo Realskole and becomes a student at Nykøbing Falsters kathedralskole (secondary school). This turns out to be a dreary period for Kaj Munk. Anyway, it is during this period that he becomes familiar with Ibsen′s literary work. The historical events during World War I turn out to be a serious test to Kaj Munk′s Christian faith.
1916 Deep disappointment after the sale of the West Indian Islands. Munk′s spiritual crisis culminates during the summer, when his grandmother dies after a hard deathbed. He has intense rebellious thoughts.
1917 Pilatus (biblical drama). Graduation from secondary school. He is very shocked after Mrs. Camilla Wested′s death. Munk seeks consolation in the Resurrection. He is now a theology student at the University of Copenhagen. To start out with, he has rented a room at Ms. Anna Pedersen′s at Larsleistræde. In the spring, he moves to Regensen (an ancient and celebrated student hostel, dating back to the 16th century). Samson (biblical drama).
1917-24 Kaj Munk studies theology. Pastor Olfert Ricard′s liberal preaching, professor Eduard Geismar′s bible studies (and his fascination of Kierkegaard), V. Ammundsen′s focus on the person of Jesus Christ etc. have a considerable influence on Kaj Munk. As a result of his Kierkegaard readings, Munk experiences great scruples regarding his calling to become a pastor.
1918 March 6: Munk′s greatest theatre experience: Peter Fjelstrup in Strindberg′s Faderen og Gerda Christophersen in the nurse′s part, at the Betty Nansen Theater; Christoffer II (historical play).
1919 Operationen (political play)
1922-23 From September 1922 til March 1923: “klokker” (head student) at Regensen; S′mænd et Offer (written for a party at Regensen).
1923 En Idealist Biblical drama about King Herod. Munk wrote the first eight acts while studying for his exams.
1924 Kaj Munk graduates from the University with the title “cand. theol.” (MTh). He becomes pastor at Vedersø (which, at that time, had a population of about 600). En Idealist; the last two acts are written at Vedersø.
1925 Ordet (The Word). Munk wrote this play on request of Hans Brix, censor at the Royal Danish Theatre. Brix wanted Munk to write a play in which “the peasants were taken seriously”. The play was written shortly after a young woman from Vedersø died in childbirth.
1926 En Idealist is accepted at the Royal Danish Theatre. I Brændingen (a play about Georg Brandes), Kærlighed (strong autobiographical touches: a pastor in western Jutland does not believe in the Christian gospel he preaches, but makes sacrifices for his parishioners). Fugl Fønix (political play on the background of the peace of Versailles).
1927 Journey to Germany and the Faroe Islands.
1928 Feb. 8: En Idealist staged at the Royal Danish Theatre, torn apart by the critics. Fra Tidehvervet, play about Lucrets.
1929 January 13: Kaj Munk marries Lise Jørgensen, daughter of a farmer from Vedersø. I Brændingen is rejected by the Royal Danish Theatre. Havet og Menneskene (is set in a parish in western Jutland, but with a world-historical focus. The despicability of the parish is punished by a flood). Kardinalen og Kongen (historical play about Richelieu and Louis XIII).
1931 Cant (historical play about Henry VIII). This play lead to Munk′s breakthrough. It was staged at the Royal Danish Theatre, and the critics accepted it. Munk starts as a permanent correspondent at Jyllands-Posten (one of the larger Danish newspapers).
1932 Ordet (The Word), is staged at the Betty-Nansen Theater and published with great success. The Otto Larsen-affair: Kaj Munk defends a young pastor, although he does not share his point of view. Munk insists that the person in question must have the right to admit his scruples and that the church has no right to limit pastors′ freedom of conscience.
1933 De Udvalgte (biblical drama about King David and Bathsheba). Saul (biblical drama).
1934 Leave of absence. Journey to Palestine. Vedersø-Jerusalem Retur (the newspaper articles that Kaj Munk wrote for Jyllands-Posten are published as a book). Os bærer den himmelske Glæde (poetry), Shakespeare′s Hamlet interpreted by Kaj Munk. Fru Koltschak (play about a dictator). Movie: The gyldne smil.
1935 En Almanakhistorie (or Ordet II), sequel to Ordet (the Word), presenting a new problem.
1936 Sejren (political drama on the background of the Abyssinian War and Mussolini). Ti Oxford-Snapshots (about the Oxford movement). Liv og glade Dage (hunting letters).
1937 The Laier-affair. A new ecclesiastical controversy. Munk defends a dismissed pastor for the sake of honesty and liberty. Diktatorinden (historical play about Mor Sigbrit). Filmen om Christiern den Anden (script for a movie).
1938 Himmel og Jord (collection of newspaper articles). Han sidder ved Smeltediglen (He Sits at the Melting Pot) (political play against anti-Semitism). Open letter to Mussolini (against the persecution of the Jews).
1939 Smeltedigelen is – on ministerial request – taken off the playbill in southern Jutland. Egelykke (play about Grundtvig). Puslespil. Tempelvers (collection of poems).
1940 Atterdag (rewriting of Christoffer II, written in his youth). Niels Ebbesen (printed in 1942). Speech in Ollerup in July. Speech in Gerlev in August. Munk gives many speeches during two years. Christian Reventlow attacks Munk in: Er Kaj Munk dansk Aandslivs Høvding? Navigare Necesse (collection of poems).
1941 Kongen (historical play in one act). Ved Babylons Floder (At the rivers of Babylon), collection of sermons. Sværg det, Drenge (collection of poems). The Ministry of Justice is becoming aware of Munk because of his undaunted speeches.
1942 Confiscation of Niels Ebbesen, April 10. Meeting with the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Mr. Fibiger. De Herrer Dommere, Med Ordets Sværd (collection of sermons). Den Kærlighed. Foraaret så sagte kommer (autobiography). Med Sol og megen Glæde (autobiographical documents).
1943 Letter of protest to the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. Før Cannae (Before Cannae; historical and political play). Ewalds Død, written for the commemoration of Johannes Ewald at the Royal Danish Theatre, staged Nov. 18. August 29: the Danish government definitively stops collaboration with the Germans. Dec. 5: Munk preaches in Frue Kirke (Church of Our Lady) in Copenhagen in spite of the German ban. Alverdens-Urostifterne (biblical play about Paul and Peter).
1944 On the night of January 4, Munk is assassinated by the Gestapo near Silkeborg.
  Translated from Marc Auchet: “De lollandske stjerner”, (Københaven, 1977), pp. 378-81, with the consent of the author.

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Updated: May 5, 2015