The rescue of Denmark’s Jewish citizens

“During the darkest chapter in human history, the people, churches, and governments of a few countries refused to cede their Jewish citizens to the dire fate that awaited them in much of Nazi-occupied Europe.”
From: Heroes in History: The People of Denmark  published by Thanks To Scandinavia.

 

In September 1943 the Nazis sent boats to take all of Denmark’s Jewish citizens to concentration camps—a death sentence. They surely assumed that their plans would work, successfully, the same as they had in many other European countries.

Instead, a German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz communicated with Denmark’s resistance movement—revealing the Germans’ plans to roundup the Jews of Denmark on the evening of Rosh Hashanah and during services the next day. Those that had not been captured while they prayed would have been rounded up during the days that followed. This would have been October 28th and 29th of 1943.

When the German soldiers arrived, they arrived at empty synagogues and empty Jewish homes. All the Danish citizens of Jewish faith had literally disappeared. Their neighbors, their friends, and total strangers took them into their homes until they could be sent away in safety.

Denmark’s king, King Christian X and other leaders negotiated with the Swedish government to take these refugees. The Danish fishing fleet, risking execution and confiscation their boats (their means of a living), took nearly all of the Jews of Denmark to the shores of Sweden and safety.

This happened nowhere else in Europe.

I will share more on this in the coming days.

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