to the Fenno-Scandian people
for their heroic role in saving Jews from Hitler and the holocaust
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Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial
- remembering righteous gentiles -
Standing Ovation Due
Max Dimont praises all the Fenno-Scandian countries (not just Denmark) for their role in helping to alleviate some of Jewish suffering during the Hitler years. In fact, Dimont declares that the Fenno-Scandian countries deserve a standing ovation from the world.
Under the nose of their Quisling government, the Norwegians helped most of the country's Jews escape to Sweden. The King of Denmark publicly wore the yellow Star of David, which the Nazis had prescribed for the Jews, and took part in the planning of an "underground" organization of students and Boy Scouts which led Denmark's Jews to a flotilla of fishing boats, waiting to take them to Sweden, which, in true Christian spirit, welcomed all Jewish refugees.
Though allied with Germany in a war against Russia, Finland's Field Marshal Karl Gustav Mannerheim informed the Germans that if but one of Finland's 1,700 Jews were seized, Finland would turn around and declare war on Germany. The Finns, said the Field Marshal, would not stand for the murder of any of their citizens.
The rescue of the Danish Jews is an inspiring story: almost the entire Jewish population survived Hitler's death camps.
See Rescue of the Danish Jews.
The Holocaust of WW2 is certain to be remembered as humanity's blackest chapter of the century - between 1941 and 1945, German dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazis murdered some 6 million Jews. Amidst the madness of war, there are moments of hope and illumination. In World War II, one such instance was the Danish Jews's escape from Hitler's genocidal plan to eradicate all Jews from Europe. The nobility of the human soul on a night when the Danes got truly fed up with Hitler's order to exterminate the Jews across Europe.
Denmark was the only occupied country that actively resisted the Nazi regime's attempts to deport its Jewish citizens. On September 28, 1943, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German diplomat, secretly informed the Danish resistance that the Nazis were planning to deport the Danish Jews. The Danes responded quickly, organizing a nationwide effort to smuggle the Jews by sea to neutral Sweden.
See Jewish Virtual Library (Holocaust).
Warned of the German plans, Jews began to leave Copenhagen, where most of the 8,000 Jews in Denmark lived, and other cities, by train, car, and on foot. With the help of the Danish people, they found hiding places in homes, hospitals, and churches. Within a two-week period fishermen helped ferry 7,220 Danish Jews and 680 non-Jewish family members to safety across the narrow body of water separating Denmark from Sweden. ( Jewish Virtual Library)
The autumn of 2003 marked the 60th anniversary of the rescue of the Jews of Denmark. The Danish resistance movement, assisted by many ordinary citizens, coordinated the flight of some 7,200 Jews to safety in nearby neutral Sweden. Thanks to this remarkable mass rescue effort, at war's end Denmark had one of the highest Jewish survival rates for any European country. Use the links on this page to learn more about the rescue of Danish Jewry and the special circumstances that made it possible.
See United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
When Hitler threatened Denmark's Jews, the community arose overnight to save them. Danes from all levels of society stood up to the German might at a time when most of Europe turned a blind eye. Together they hid over 7,000 people and sailed them to safety in neutral Sweden. After the war, more than 95% of the Jewish population returned to Denmark, finding their homes and belongings untouched.
See The Danish Solution.
BRIEF ACCOUNT (copied):
"The rescue of Denmark's 8,000 Jews serves as an example of an entire nation mobilized to rescue humanity from the abyss of German terror. A story of truly noble grandeur is how the king of Danmark, Christian X showed his courage by cointinuing his daily horseback rides during the occupation. When Hitler's order came down for all Jews to wear the yellow Star of David, King Christian threatened to abdicate and to wear the star as a badge of honor, in identity with the Jewish people. That symbolic gesture inspired the entire nation of Denmark, demonstrating passive yet formidable opposition to all anti-Semitic legislation. Almost all of the Jews of Denmark survived the war, while those in almost every other nation occupied by the Nazis had their ranks decimated.
"A September 1943 decision by the Nazi occupiers of Denmark to round up all Danish Jews for shipment to the death camps was thwarted. Courageously acting on a tip from a German shipping official, Danes from all walks of life mobilized whatever would float and ferried 5,900 Jews, 1,300 part-Jews, and 700 Christians married to Jews to safety in Sweden. Of the 500 or so Jews left in Denmark on October 1, 1943, all were deported by the Germans to Theresienstadt. Eighty-five percent survived the war. Historians have pondered why the citizens of Denmark resisted the war against the Jews, unlike most of their European neighbors. One reason is that Denmark did not have a history of anti-Semitism. Another was that nearby was neutral Sweden, willing to accept the Jews that could be saved."
Text passages selected by Robert Shepherd
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Dark Page (Hitler's gay holocaust)
The Utter Uniqueness of the Holocaust
The Holocaust Chronicle web site
Holocaust -- a page of remembrance
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Today - Sirpa Cossaboon : Finlandia Foundation
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