Drama Movie

The Guardian Angel The documentary article associated with the film is more ups and downs than the film

Thursday, March 29, 1951. At 7 a.m., Parry Harzop rode his bike to work. According to his contract, Hatzop, a 29-year-old mechanic, was supposed to start working on a project for Danish Fuel that day. He approached his supervisor and said he had a family emergency and wanted to take the morning off and would make up the hours later. The supervisor had no reason to be suspicious and agreed.

Hadjop walked to the locker and looked around to see if there was any movement. He opened the locker and took out in turn two large and small metal items wrapped in a heavy tablecloth. He put the two items into his briefcase, locked the locker, said goodbye to his boss, and pedaled away.

That year, Copenhagen was unusually cold. Everyone was looking forward to spring, but it was almost April, and there was still a chill in the air. Three months earlier, God had commanded him to save the world. Bullets and a pistol lay quietly in a briefcase in a car basket. He was going to rob a bank.

First he rode to his friend Nelson’s aunt’s house, where he needed the alcoholic aunt as an alibi witness. To ensure that the fabricated proof was foolproof, he bought a few beers on the way. Afterwards, he and his alcoholic aunt had a few drinks. 10:30 p.m., Hadzop saw that the old lady was already drunk, so he suggested that he go buy some more beer and come right back. The old lady nodded her head and agreed.

Hadjop never came back to buy more alcohol. Once again he threw his briefcase into his car basket and went to the Agricultural Bank at 58 Noronbolu Street. He pulled over, hesitated, a little scared, and his body wouldn’t listen. 10:45 p.m. Realizing that the robbery was God’s will, he took a deep breath, put on his sunglasses and entered.

Once inside the bank lobby, Harzop fired several shots into the ceiling. “Get the money in the bag!” He shouted at the nearest teller beside him. The terrified teller, frozen in fear, hesitated a moment before being shot by Harrop. He turned to the other teller, “It’s your turn, put the money in!”

The robbery took too long and the customers were terrified by the gunfire. Outside the door, pedestrians ran toward the bank, blocking Hadzop’s escape route. Suddenly, the alarm bells were ringing loudly. Hajop, feeling he could not escape, raised his pistol once again. A second teller tried to escape, but it was too late. Harrop shot him dead. Harrop ran out of the bank empty-handed, jumped on his bicycle, and leapt off the pedal. Just as he pedaled away from the curb, a biker tried to cut him off. The two almost collided, and Harrop reached his foot to block his attacker. The biker tried again to block his path, and he pulled out his gun and put it in his face. The biker flinched. Harrop rode on, secretly pleased with his composure. A pedestrian asked him what was wrong, and he shrugged, suggesting to the other man, “Why don’t you go over there and check it out?” And then he skipped off.

Back at his drunken aunt’s house, Harjoop told the old lady that he had just robbed a bank. The old lady wasn’t interested in this at all. Where did the beer go? Thinking that it would be best to have an alibi in place, Harrop changed his clothes, made sure no one would recognize him, and went downstairs to get a drink. As soon as he got downstairs, he knew something was wrong. The street was empty and silent, and the police were coming. Hadjop, alone with his gun, faced the police and, without a word, raised his hands in surrender.

Hadjop did not initially tell the police that it was God’s will to rob the bank. As a result, the detectives who arrested him were complacent: not only was there no one hurt, but Hajop confessed to the crime. However, the detectives soon became worried. They asked Hajop about his motives for robbing the bank, and he said it was to raise money for the Danish National Communist Party, which he had founded with the goal of preparing for World War III. Once war was declared, he was to use the stolen money to rent a fleet of ships to transfer Denmark’s intellectual elite to a safe location in Sweden and protect Denmark’s spiritual bloodline. He explained that the Danish National Communist Party would bring peace to the world, but at the same time he was stockpiling guns. Police raided Hajop’s house and found uniforms, propaganda, medals and documents related to the Danish Communist Party.

Noting that Hajop did not act like a criminal who had just robbed a bank and killed a man, the police asked him if he felt guilty for committing two murders. He didn’t feel guilty at all. It was God’s will, so why blame himself? The cops were dumbfounded and exchanged glances. “What? You say that again?” God taught him to do everything, Hartsrop said. God told him to found the Danish National Communist Party, God chose the modus operandi and the bank, God even showed him where to hide afterwards, and God was always with him. But don’t worry, Harzop assured the police, everything would be fine, and God would make it happen.

On June 21, 1951, Harzop was brought before Max Schmitt, the chief psychiatrist of the Copenhagen police. He told Schmitt the story exactly as it was: he had followed God’s instructions to rob the bank and felt no guilt at all about the deaths of the two bank tellers. He believed in “fate and rebirth after death,” and he was like Joan of Arc.

Hadjop’s performance aroused Schmitt’s interest. There were few murders in Copenhagen, and only a handful of similar cases. The next day, to decipher Harrop’s religious-political nonsense, Schmitt gave him a sedative. Immediately, Harzop began to spout off a complex understanding of anti-Semitism and anti-Nazism: that World War III was inevitable, that Denmark had to be saved, and that the “Kingdom of the North” would be established. As the drugs took effect and Harrop relaxed, Schmitt finally asked the question he wanted to answer: “Where did the idea of robbing the bank come from?”

“From ‘it’.” Hadzop replied.

“Who is ‘it’?”

“My guardian angel.”

Schmitt was puzzled. Behind the case, there was something else going on. Hadzop was most likely connected to a similar robbery that had taken place seven months earlier. There were also indications that he did not commit the crime alone. The day after the robbery, Björn Nielsen showed up and admitted that he owned the bike Hajop used during the robbery. Nielsen had a criminal record, and it was Nielsen’s aunt who had been drinking with Hajop on the day of the crime, and Hajop was arrested at her residence. A cursory investigation revealed that Hartsrop had served three years at Horsens State Prison – Nelson was his cellmate. Some inmates claim that Nielsen exerted an extraordinary amount of influence over Hartsrop, and they say that everything Hartsrop did was Nielsen’s idea.

However, there are numerous contradictions in Hajop’s and Nielsen’s statements. Hajop said he had stolen the bicycle, while Nielsen said he had lent it to him; Hajop said Nielsen had nothing to do with the Danish Communist Party, while Nielsen admitted to having been involved. Nielsen said he knew more about the case: Hadrop’s wife, Bent, was the mastermind. He said the couple had planned robberies in the past, but each time he had been dissuaded from doing so. Nelson, however, dragged Hartsrop deeper into the mud. Nielsen was a repeat offender who had been in and out of prison since 1933. And with a messianic salvation plot and a “guardian angel”, Harrop looked like Nelson’s sidekick.

Schmitt kept injecting him with barbiturates to force him to admit that Nelson was behind the robbery and that Nelson was the “guardian angel”. Harrop categorically denied that this was possible: he had been “called by God” in January 1947 and only met Nielsen for the first time six months later. Hajop was adamant: the guardian angel was not Nelson. There was not enough evidence to keep him in custody, and Nelson was acquitted.

That Christmas, Hartrup heard the results of the report on being sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution and changed his mind. He put pen to paper and wrote a letter to Roland Olson, the case manager. In the letter, he said he finally could no longer stand Olson’s “fatigue bombardment” and that it was time to confess everything. The 18-page letter was written in a children’s notebook, which is known as the “exercise book confession”. As the confession progressed, it gradually became a bizarre confession.

In the letter, Hartshorpe describes how he collaborated with Nazis during the German occupation of Denmark. At the end of World War II, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. When he entered Horsens State Prison, he was almost lost in thought, and his extreme depression did not improve until he was assigned to work in the goldsmith’s workshop. Nelson, one of the first people he met in prison, had been jailed several times for robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for collaborating with the enemy. For Nelson, it was just another stretch of time spent in prison. However, for Hardrop, who had never been in prison before, serving his sentence caused him a lot of pain. He was a young man with a good family and aspirations, only to make a foolish mistake and now pay the price for it. Harzop was already vulnerable.

X ordered Harjoop to marry and chose a local girl named Bent for him. Soon after the marriage, X told him that in order to prove his faithfulness to God, he should allow Nelson and Bent to share a bed. Hatsop was reluctant at first, but after a few days of “magnetic pressure,” he acquiesced. After the marriage, Bennett advised him that Nelson was a bad influence on him, and X told him to ignore what his wife said. If she asked, she told him that he was meeting new people he had met through politics-not Nelson. During the frequent meetings, X had Hardrop buy alcohol whenever he showed up, and the two often got drunk.

That summer, Nielsen planned to have Hartsrop rob the Havildorf Bank. Hardrop was reluctant, so yoga, meditation and “magnetic pressure” followed. Hajoop remained anxious and scared, and Nielsen kept anesthetizing him. It was God who wanted him to rob the bank, it was the guardian angel who wanted him to rob the bank, so what was there to worry about. Harrop obeyed. Nielsen took Harrop into the woods and showed him where to hide the stolen money. The date of the operation was set for August 21.

That day finally came. Hartrup took time off work and rode around Copenhagen in a panic – he couldn’t do it. That night, he met with Nelson. X showed up and told him to try again. Two days later, he went for it. On the morning of the robbery, just in case, Nielsen and Hartrup did meditation together. Nielsen gave Hartrup a glass of spirits and wished him all the best. Two hours later, Harzop went to the People’s Bank in Havidov and looted 20,000 kroner (about £1,900). As instructed, he took a cab to the woods and delivered the stolen money.

Parry Hardrop and Björn Nielsen would not describe their experience as “fun”, and when the trial began in 1954, the Danish national press was stationed outside the courthouse. Inside the gates, Hajop’s lawyers were doing their best to prove that he had committed the crime under Nielsen’s hypnotic control, Nielsen’s lawyers were snapping back, and the police and psychiatrists were divided. Dr. Ritter, who was clearly on Hajop’s side, gave a seven-hour presentation arguing that Hajop was indeed the killer, but that it was not Hajop who was responsible: he had committed the crime while unconscious of his actions. Hajop’s attorney portrayed Nielsen as “an extreme cynic and a dangerous criminal. “Nelson used his eyes,” the lawyer concluded, “to turn his ‘friend’ into a puppet doll.”

A month passed. The judge asked the jury to consider three important questions: whether Nielsen planned and instigated the robbery; whether he planned and instigated the murder; and whether he used hypnosis or other means to exert undue influence on Hartsrop. In his closing argument, the judge agreed that Nielsen did exert a hypnotic-like “systematic influence” on his “protégé,” but he did not say whether the control was hypnotic or not, or whether it directly led to Haddroop’s robbery and murder.

The jury was not so ambiguous, and in July 1954 Nelson was convicted on all three charges. Both men were sentenced to life in prison – Hardrop would spend the rest of his life in a mental institution, and a maximum-security prison was Nelson’s home. The case remained in the spotlight for the next 10 years, during which it was brought before the European Commission of Human Rights, and in 1965, Hardrop and Nielsen applied for pardon, both of which were denied.

Nine years later, on a leisurely summer evening, Nelson called his ex-wife to tell her of his woes. The prison sentence, notoriety and unemployment had made him feel desperate, and he couldn’t hold it together. It was more than a little ironic that a man who had convinced others to rob a bank and murder two people could not convince his ex-wife that he did have thoughts of dying. His ex-wife encouraged him to get over it. That night, Nielsen took potassium cyanide and was found dead in his apartment the next day.

On August 5, 1972, Harzop was interviewed by the Danish newspaper BT. He admitted that it was not hypnosis that led to the robbery and murder. In fact, when the police suggested that perhaps hypnosis had caused him to commit the crime, Harzop suddenly realized that if he agreed to this judgment, “he might get off.” In another interview, Hartrup was asked why he framed Nelson. What had Nelson done to deserve such a fate?

“Nothing,” Hartrup said, “He just treated me badly in jail.”

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