THE HOLOCAUST & THE DANISH RESISTANCE
The Holocaust represents 11 million lives that abruptly ended, the extermination of people not for who they were but for what they were. Groups such as handicaps, Gypsies, Slavs, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, political rebels and others were persecuted by the Nazis.
Sequence of Events • Adolf Hitler seized power, January 30, 1933. Preaches that Germans, the Aryan race, were the “Superior Race” • Warns against “inferior” races and groups such as Jews, Slavs, Poles, handicapped, & the mentally challenged • In April 1933, Jews were banished from government jobs, a quota was established banning Jews from universities, and a boycott of Jewish shops enacted. • In 1935, the infamous Nuremberg Laws were passed. These classed Jews as German "subjects" instead of citizens. Intermarriage was outlawed, more professions were closed to Jews, shops displayed signs reading, "No Jews Allowed." Harassment was common. Jews also forced to wear the yellow Star of David.
October 1938. Polish Jews were herded like cattle and dumped at the Polish border, where the Poles kept them in no-man's land. One deported family wrote to their son who was studying in Paris. When he heard of the torments his parents went through, he decided to get even and shot a German official stationed in Paris. • This small rebellion was a perfect opportunity for Adolf Hitler and his henchmen to rise up. The Nazis called for demonstrations, and violence erupted across Germany for two days. Stores were destroyed, synagogues burned, and twenty thousand Jews arrested. • The riots came to be known as Kristallnacht - the Night of Glass, for all the broken glass. • This was the first widespread violence towards Jews
A synagogue burns in Siegen, Germany, on November 10, 1938 (Kristallnacht) The Night of Glass, for all the broken glass.
September 1, 1939-Hitler invades Poland • Eventually takes France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Holland, • Croatia, Slovakia, & Romania • Concentration camps were set up after 1933 to detain without legal procedure Jews, Communists, Gypsies, prisoners of war, and others. • Extermination, or Death, camps were established for the sole purpose of killing men, women, and children. • Germany occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940. However, Danish Jews were not persecuted until the fall of 1943. • In mid September 1941 Hitler ordered the beginning of mass deportations from Germany to ghettos in Eastern Europe.
Germany occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940.
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/index.php?ModuleId=10005209 To hear the personal Story of a Jewish Dane ‘s recollection of the invasion of Denmark, click on the above site. You will then need to scroll down.
Because they were a small country, the Danes surrender after a few hours of fighting and very few casualties • Resistance begins almost immediately • Germany allows the Danes to continue to govern itself as long as it meets their demands • Danes lose control of government in August 1943
The Freedom Council secretly organizes to lead resistance movement • Resistance groups blow up factories and transportation facilities • Information is spread through secret newspaper • Jews are assisted and protected in an attempt to escape the Nazis in Denmark
Unlike Jews in other countries under Nazi rule, the Jews of Denmark were never forced to wear the yellow Star of David or any other identifying badge.
When the German police began searching for and arresting Jews on the night of October 1, 1943, the Danish police refused to cooperate.
Approximately 500 Jews were deported from Denmark to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Following protests from their government, these Danish inmates were allowed to receive letters and even some care packages. Most of them survived the Holocaust.
King Christian X of Denmark King of Denmark 1912 - 1947
According to popular legend, King Christian X chose to wear a yellow star in support of the Danish Jews during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. In another version, the Danish people decided to wear a yellow star for the same reason. Both of these stories are fictional. In fact, unlike Jews in other countries under Nazi rule, the Jews of Denmark were never forced to wear an identification mark such as a yellow star. However, the legend conveys an important historical truth: both the King and the Danish people stood by their Jewish citizens and were instrumental in saving the overwhelming majority of them from Nazi persecution and death.
Danish fishermen ferry Jews across a narrow sound to safety in neutral Sweden during the German occupation of Denmark. Sweden, 1943.
Group portrait of Danish-Jewish children living in a Swedish children´s home, after their escape from Denmark. 1943-44.
Danish fishermen used this boat to carry Jews to safety in Sweden during the German occupation. Denmark, 1943 or 1944.
Danish refugees register in Sweden after escaping from Denmark. Sweden, after October 1943.
Jewish refugees are ferried out of Denmark aboard fishing boats bound for Sweden. October 1943.
The Danish Freedom Council, Denmark's unofficial government-in-exile from July 1944 to May 1945, was made up of leaders of the four main resistance groups. London, Great Britain, between July 1944 and May 1945.
This boat, named "Sunshine" (formerly "Lurifax"), was used during World War II to transport Danish refugees from German-occupied Denmark to neutral Sweden.
This fall marks the 80th 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.
Prewar photograph of three Jewish children with their babysitter. Two of the children perished in 1942. Warsaw, Poland, 1925-1926.
May 10, 1933 - An event unseen since the Middle Ages occurs as German students from universities formerly regarded as among the finest in the world, gather in Berlin and other German cities to burn books with "unGerman" ideas. Books by Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Jack London, H.G. Wells and many others go up in flames as they give the Nazi salute. A hundred years earlier, the German-Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine, had stated, "Where books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too."
Six-year old Anna Klein and three-year old brother Jon. Both were sent to a death camp, Auschwitz, where they were killed.
A group portrait of a children's home, a place of refuge for children who had come to France to escape Nazi persecution. The home was raided on April 6, 1944. Of the 51 persons arrested, 44 were children. The entire group was sent to a concentration camp. Only one survived.
Polish boys imprisoned in Auschwitz look out from behind the barbed wire fence. Approximately 40,000 Polish children were kidnapped and imprisoned in the camp before being transferred to Germany. The children were used as slave laborers in Germany. Most did not survived the Holocaust.
A mound of victims' shoes found in the Majdanek concentration camp after the liberation.
Concentration camp survivors cheer the soldiers of the Eleventh Armored Division of the U.S. Third Army one day after the camp's liberation.
American soldiers escort children survivors of Buchenwald out of the main gate of the camp. Among the children pictured is future Nobel Peace Prize winner Eli Wiesel (fourth child in the left column).