“The Germans allowed the Danish civil service to maintain control of most of the country’s legal and domestic affairs but an active resistance against Nazi occupation developed and engaged in acts of sabotage. In early 1943, Hitler curtailed Denmark’s relative independence and ordered the SS to round up and deport the country’s 8,000 Jews. Denmark’s Jews consisted of 6,500 assimilated Danes and about 1,500 émigrés from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. The Germans planned to seize these Jews on a single night, October 1, 1943. Working with extraordinary speed, the Danes smuggled virtually the entire Jewish population onto small vessels and transported them across the narrow Øresund Strait to neutral Sweden, where they were welcomed and kept safe until they were returned to their homes at the end of the war. The Danes paid terribly for their kind act. The Germans set off a wave of terror, arresting scores of alleged saboteurs and rounding up and shooting Danish citizens without pretense of trial.” – The World War II Desk Reference, Douglas Brinkley and Michael E. Haskew, eds.
Doing the right thing
Published inThe Second World War