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An Exemplary Response

May 9, 2009 | by

among the occupied nations of Europe was the way Denmark rallied to save its Jews.

When the Germans went into Denmark, the first thing they did was to mark all the Jews. A yellow badge was mandatory on every Jew. In protest, the Danish king put on a yellow badge. All the Danes followed suit and put on yellow badges. When it became known that the Germans were going to send the Jews to the camps, the Danish underground, at great risk to themselves, mobilized anything that could float. In sailboats, fishing boats, whatever they could find, they evacuated almost all of their Jews into Sweden. Of the approximately 7,400 Jews in Denmark, only 180 – who were primarily older people – were caught by the Nazis. They were put into one of the "best" concentration camps, Theresienstadt. For the rest of the war, the Danish king wrote to the Germans every single week, asking how each and every one of his Jews were, and what their condition was. At the end of the war, 100 of them had made it through.

Click to Enlarge

Evacuating Jews

Danish Citizens Evacuating Jews
photo courtesy of Yad Vashem

If you ever visit Copenhagen, go to the Resistance Museum. A wing in that museum is dedicated to the Jewish episode, and there you will find a wall with plaques from Jewish communities all over the world, thanking the Danish people for what they did for the Jews during the war. That wall screams at the rest of the world. If the rest of the world had behaved as the Danes did, six million tragedies never would have happened.

Read about gentile interactions in Poland.

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