The Rescue Of The Danish Jews During World War II
Pub. Date: 2002
Type: Non-Fiction, History ~ Library Book
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡
When Germany occupied Denmark during WWII, the king told his people to “behave like good Danes. A 17-year-old schoolboy asked himself, “How does a good Dane behave in a situation like this, when his country is occupied?” He came up with these ‘Ten Commandments’
“Ten Commandments for the Danes”
- You must not take work in Germany or Norway.
- You must do worthless work for the Germans.
- You must work slowly for the Germans.
- You must destroy important machines and gear.
- You must destroy everything useful to the Germans.
- You must delay all transports.
- You must boycott German and Italian newspapers and films.
- You must not trade with Nazis.
- You must deal with traitors as they deserve.
- You must defend everyone persecuted by the Germans.
JOIN IN THE FIGHT FOR DENMARK’S FREEDOM
The Danes resisted the occupation. Some of the resistance was passive, Danes would leave a store if German soldiers came in. They would leave a streetcar if the Germans sat down in one. The Germans were disconcerted by this. They ridiculed the soldiers, making jokes at their expense. Children were instructed to say “I don’t understand” and nothing else to the soldiers.
There was also active resistance and acts of sabotage. Underground newspapers were printed. Through all this the Danish government protected the Danish Jews. This all ended in September 1943 when martial law was proclaimed by the Germans after taking over the government and neutralizing the army and navy. Hitler ordered all Danish Jews be deported.
What happened next is nothing short of amazing, word was gotten to the Jewish people to go into hiding, arrangements were made for them to live in Sweden, and the Danish people cooperated in getting them there under the noses of the Germans. The Danish people when asked simply said, “It was the right thing to do.”
This is a fascinating account. The book is not big but Ms. Werner manages to include all the important details. The was enough historical information about the people involved to understand what happened but not so much that the book was dragged down. She also included a brief lesson about the issue of “Swiss neutrality”, which was something I had often heard about, but never had it explained so clearly.
For the reasons explained above I recommend this book.