The lively Danish doctor lived 50 years of joy in Thailand.
When in Aarhus, Denmark, I often pass Tage Hansensgade and it goes through the head: ‘But who was Tage Hansen’. Many streets, many names, once well known, now forgotten.
There is no Einar Ammundsen Street but the man and his story lives on, not only in a golf tournament, but in the memories of so many Scandinavian old hands. But here you are, a bit of information for the newcomers! -Only a glimpse, the material on Einar Ammundsen is big and the anecdotes countless.
Einar was born in 1915. His father became bishop over Haderslev diocese, he died in 1935. His strong mother Charlotte, born Balslev, lived from 1877 till 1961. After her husband passed away she moved to Copenhagen and soon became the fix point for Einar and his 5 siblings. Furthermore ‘Bispinden’ gave shelter to saboteurs wanted by Gestapo, whom Einar brought to her.
Einar Ammundsen joined the Résistance movement early during World War II, at the same time graduating as an M.D. He functioned as a deputy for the Resistance leader Mr. Toldstrup, who was also responsible for the reception of weapons dropped by British flights over the heaths and in the forests of Jutland. Among the saboteurs Einar was only known as ‘Hr. Bloch’ and his job was also to see to that the weapons received were brought to the right persons and groups, The personal risk was high indeed. Late during the war he had to flee to Sweden, he was then exposed.
In 1946, a year after the war ended, a friend asked him to join the general practice he wanted to open in Bangkok and after a four month ‘TropicalMedicine’ course in London, he went off. Three days with KLM the journey took. They opened a practice on the corner of Charoun Krung Road and Oriental Avenue. Ammundsen also worked at Bangkok Nursing Home for many years.
Why did he travel to this far-away country? Once source mentions that Ammundsen was most disappointed with the lukewarm way the courts and the old politicians handled the trials against Danes and Danish Companies in Nazi service. – In a few words: The small thief’s were hanged, the big thief’s acquitted.
Denmark 1946 was a GREY place, grey and poor. He came to a world where colors are bright and smiling, where life is easy going, but it is still possible to get things done. There is furthermore no revenging God like in Haderslev. Ammundsen once said that “Here we don’t feel the same deep pain about death, as we do in the West” [Rastrups Asien, google]. Death was on his heels in Denmark, now he learned that life and death walk together. Peace of mind? At least Einar Ammundsen became a very generous and liked person ‘with a warm heart’ as the Thais say. For more than three decades he was the center of The Scandinavian Society – and the golf.
The last round
Golf was Einar Ammundsens total joy and passion, at least until he met Aks again. She was a teenage girlfriend. They married in 1979 and she took active part in both work and leisure. Einar sponsored his annual tournament alone for many years, including some drinks in ‘Bamboo Bar, Oriental Hotel’, afterwards. As the numbers of golfers grew, he finally couldn’t afford that anymore, but new sponsors were ready.
There are so many, many anecdotes about this man, as a doctor, as a golfer, as a friend. Time and space is not available here, but one last thing:
In 1996 the 25th Ammundsen Tournament was played at Rose Garden Golf Club as usual. Ammundsen himself couldn’t play, suffering from a shoulder problem. He there announced that he and Aks would retire and move back to Denmark. He was not in favour of calling the tournament ‘The Ammundsen Cup’ in the future. He did not like the idea of future participants wondering who this guy Ammundsen was. Einar Ammundsen died in 1999.
Now you maybe know a bit more about this very faceted man – we will keep it that way.