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 ..


Nazi Genocide

In 1941, in the midst of World War II, the Germans began their Final Solution for the Jews. At that time there were 10 million Jews in the countries of German-occupied Europe. By 1945, less than half of that number were left alive. The Nazi goal was to exterminate the Jews and rule Europe in an ethnically "pure" German Empire.

At the infamous Wannsee Conference near Berlin 20 January 1942, details of the mass murder plans were discussed. Documents from that conference are still in existence today. They list, country by country, the number of Jews in Europe. Against the entry for Denmark is the figure 5,600 - the inaccurate Nazi estimate of the number of Jews in Denmark.

Denmark was a small idyllic country of 4 million people, with a history of taking in immigrants from countries such as Germany, Holland, Sweden, and Poland. Before the war, Denmark's small Jewish population was well integrated into the community.

Class portrait of teachers and pupils at a preschool in Copenhagen. Jewish children were saved by the Danes.

On April 9, 1940, Germany attacked Denmark. From then until 1945, Denmark was under German occupation. Most Danes were pro-British and anti-Nazi, but they were also aware of the need to adjust to living in a German-dominated Europe.  Danes and Germans quickly worked out the terms of occupation. King Christian X remained in Denmark, unlike his fellow monarchs in Norway and the Netherlands who fled to escape the Germans and establish resistance movements in England. The Danish government continued to rule. The Danes agreed to supply rich agricultural produce and other goods to the Germans.

Danish resistance 

By the following year, however, a Danish resistance movement had begun, but it made little headway until 1943. Then the mood in Denmark began to change. German military targets and businesses working for the occupiers were hit by a wave of sabotage actions. There was also labor unrest, with massive strikes - widely supported by the populace - in many Danish cities.


King Chr. X
The Rescue
Ellen Nielsen
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