T h e  H o l o c a u s t


The Rescue of the Danish Jews

It is one of the great untold stories of World War II: In 1943, in the German occupied Denmark, the Danes find out that all 7,500 Danish Jews are about to be rounded up and deported to German death camps. The Danish people make their own decision: it's not going to happen ..


Preben Munch-Nielsen was born to a Protestant family in a small Danish fishing village, Snekkersten. He was only 14 when German troops occupied Denmark in 1940. Preben soon became a courier in the Danish resistance movement, and when the Nazis began hunting down the Danish Jews in October 1943, he like so many other Danes decided to help. 

Again and again he risked his life by hiding Jewish refugees in churches and houses near the shore. He led them to fishing boats which took them across the sea to neutral Sweden and safety. Preben Munch-Nielsen himself had to take refuge in Sweden in November 1943. He returned to Denmark in May 1945.

Still alive today, Preben Munch-Nielsen is a successful Danish businessman who was honored for his wartime heroics by President Bill Clinton in 1997.

During an interview with Lesley Pearl, The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, in 1995 he emphasized that the Danish Jews were considered neighbors, friends, schoolmates and nothing else.

"This is our history. We have no scapegoats. No pogroms. No Holocaust. It's so simple," Munch-Nielsen said. "We didn't recognize Jews as Jews, but as Danes," he added. "They were victims of an insane movement created by lunatics," Preben Munch-Nielsen said.

"If you wanted to retain your self-respect, you did what you could .."

Knud Dyby, former policeman, actively participated in the Danish resistance to the German occupation of Denmark. A strong sense of decency and compassion caused him to risk his life to aid Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust that engulfed Europe from 1939-1945.

Using his connections with fishing boat skippers, he arranged for the secretive transport of Jews to safety in Sweden and showed great courage in assisting Jewish families.

He conveyed to Swedish safety over thirty Allied airmen downed behind enemy lines, and saboteurs, Baltic refugees and others fleeing the Nazis were smuggled across the narrow body of water between Denmark and Sweden. Knud Dyby alone was responsible for as much as eighty percent of the information that reached Sweden from Denmark in the last months of 1944 and the first three months of 1945.

After the war, Knud Dyby emigrated from Denmark, ultimately settling in the San Francisco Bay area. 

His efforts to assist Danish Jews in escaping to Sweden has been recognized by numerous Jewish organizations. On November 9, 1999, he was honored again by the Los Angeles Simon Wiesenthal Center for his humanitarian efforts during WW II.



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