The Danish government has apologised to 22 children taken from their homes in Greenland as part of a social experiment aimed at fostering closer cultural links between the two countries.
The group, who were moved to Denmark in 1951, were promised a better life and were to be educated as “little Danes” before returning to Greenland.
The government hoped they would form an elite section of society who could provide better ties between Copenhagen and Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.
Sixteen members of the group did return to Greenland, which was a Danish colony until 1953, but they were put in an orphanage. Many never saw their families again and only six are alive today.
A report into the social experiment released on Tuesday looked at who was selected for the project and why, and the consequences of the move for those affected.
In a statement, Mette Frederiksen, the Danish prime minister, said: “I have been following the case for many years, and I am still deeply touched by the human tragedies it contains.
“The consideration for the children was set aside. So they lost the ties to their families and lineage, their life history, to Greenland and thus to their own people. Please enter your email addressPlease enter a valid email addressPlease enter a valid email address The Independent would like to keep you informed about offers, events and updates by email, please tick the box if you would like to be contacted.
“We cannot change what has happened. But we can take responsibility and apologise to those we should have taken care of but failed.”about:blankabout:blank
Kim Kielsen, Greenland’s prime minister, said: “It touches me deeply to read about the fate of the 22 children. Their special upbringing had major consequences for their relationship with the family and society and not least for their identity as Greenlanders.
“Now, almost 70 years later, we are with self-government, and the cooperation between Denmark and Greenland has developed a lot.
“Today we stand as equal parties, who together look back in history and feel and see the consequences of the political decisions of the time.
“We have and will always learn from our common history, both the good and the sad sides of history.”