Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Anniversary of the Rescue of the Danish Jews

It was this very week, in 1943, that the Danish people showed themselves to be infinitely morally superior to the rest of the West by their refusal to co-operate with Nazi Germany in the deportation and murder of their Jewish citizens. Warned by a German diplomat (one of the Righteous) that an order had been passed to arrest Denmark's some 8,000 Jews, a spontaneous nationwide rescue effort ensued in which thousands of Danish Jews were transported to safety in neutral Sweden. The 500 Danish Jews who were captured ended up in Terezin, a 'show piece' concentration camp ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Of these, all but 51 survived due to food parcels sent from the Danish government and its constant pressure on the German government not to transport Danish citizens to the death camps. On top of that, when the Danish Jews returned home, unlike the Jews of other nations, they found that their properties had not been robbed and vandalised. Their Danish neighbours had cared for their houses, gardens and pets. I mean, my God, shouldn't there be studies to figure out why these people were so much better than the rest of us? How did goodness and humanity triumph in Denmark while evil and collusion with evil reigned everywhere else? I've always been an admirer of the Danes, a nation who has words like rummelig, meaning "bigness of perspective, tolerance, and willingness to think big thoughts." Yes, indeed, big thoughts like courage, justice, mercy, goodness, and love for your fellow human beings. Well done, Denmark. (Photo credit: US Holocaust Museum)


sandi said...

well done, indeed.
I had no idea about this. Thanks for educating me.

OR Melling said...

It's an amazing story, really. Someone should make a film of it. It goes beyond the individual heroics of those like Schindler who worked alone, to show the heroics of an entire people from top, the King, to bottom, the fishermen who risked their lives on dangerous seas. Alas, boats and lives were lost and people were caught and imprisoned; but some sources quote up to 99% of the Danish Jewish population surviving the Holocaust. Nothing near to that can be found in any other Western nation.