Institut Jeanne d'Arc

The Institut Jeanne d'Arc, also Den Franske Skole, was a French-language Roman Catholic school at 74 Frederiksberg Allé in the Frederiksberg district of central Copenhagen, Denmark. Established in 1924, it was accidentally bombed by the Royal Air Force on 21 March 1945 causing the death of 86 children and 18 adults.[1][2]


Designed by the Danish architect Christian Mandrup-Poulsen (1865–1952), the school was established on 1 August 1924 by the Danish Sisters of St. Joseph who arrived in Denmark in 1856. They had already established another school, the Institut Sankt Joseph in the Østerbro district of Copenhagen in 1858.[1][3] The three-winged red-brick building, consisting of four storeys and a mansard, housed 29 classrooms.[4]

Accidental bombing

On 21 March 1945, in response to a request by the Danish resistance that the Copenhagen Gestapo headquarters should be destroyed, 20 RAF Mosquitos left for Copenhagen on a mission designated Operation Carthage. The target was Shellhuset (The Shell House) on Kampmannsgade in the city centre which housed the Gestapo.[5]

One of the Mosquitos in the first of three waves hit a tall lamppost, causing it to crash into a garage close to the school. Two of the Mosquitos in the second wave mistook the ensuing fire as their target and dropped their bombs on the French School, killing 86 children and 16 adults and wounding 67 children and 35 adults.[5]


The school was destroyed by the bombing and the remaining buildings were demolished. Today, six apartment buildings stand on the site. The remaining pupils were transferred to the Institut Sankt Joseph which was subsequently expanded. In 1953, a monument created by Max Andersen (1892–1972) was erected on the site.[1]


  1. "Den Franske Skole". Den Store Danske (in Danish). Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  2. "À Copenhague, un enseignement en français avant les années 1950" (PDF) (in French). Association des Anciens Elèves du Lycée Prins Henrik, Lycée Français de Copenhague. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  3. "Skolens historie" (in Danish). Institut Sankt Joseph. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  4. Trap, Jens Peter (1959). Danmark: pt. 1. Storkøbenhavn II. pt. 2. Storkøbenhavn III. pt. 3. Københavns amt. G. E. C. Gad. p. 199.
  5. "Operation Carthage – The Shell House Raid – 21st March 1945". The People's Mosquito. Retrieved 29 May 2016.

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