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This cartoon by Arie Navon appeared in the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Davar on October 13, 1943. Navon contrasted the rescue of Denmark's Jews with the farcical refugee conference that the Allies staged earlier that year in Bermuda. The title of the cartoon is a Hebrew word that means both “lifeguards” and “rescuers.” The lifeguards, one smoking a Churchill-style pipe, and the other wearing Roosevelt-style glasses, are standing next to an unused life preserver labeled “Bermuda.” The scrawny man diving into the swastika-infested ocean to rescue a drowning person is labeled “Sweden.” (Reprinted from the book Cartoonists Against the Holocaust, by Rafael Medoff and Craig Yoe.)

 
IT CAN BE DONE: 75 YEARS SINCE THE RESCUE OF DENMARK'S JEWS

by Rafael Medoff, posted here Sept 20, 2018

 
 
 
(Dr. Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and the author of The Jews Should Keep Quiet: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust, forthcoming from The Jewish Publication Society in 2019.)
 
 
 
As the final minutes of Rosh Hashana ticked away, thirteen year-old Leo Goldberger was hiding, along with his parents and three brothers, in the thick brush along the shore of Dragor, a small fishing village south of Copenhagen. The year was 1943, and the Goldbergers, like thousands of other Danish Jews, were desperately trying to escape an imminent Nazi round-up.
 
"Finally, after what seemed like an excruciatingly long wait, we saw our signal offshore," Goldberger later recalled. "We strode straight into the ocean and waded through three or four feet of icy water until we were hauled aboard a fishing boat" and "covered with smelly canvases."  Shivering, frightened, but grateful, the Goldberger family soon found themselves in the safety and freedom of neighboring Sweden.
 
For years, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other Allied leaders had insisted that nothing could be done to rescue Jews from the Nazis except to win the war. But seventy-five years ago this week, the Danish people exploded that myth and changed history.
 
 
* * *
 
When the Nazis occupied Denmark in 1940, the Danes put up little resistance. As a result, the German authorities agreed to let the Danish government continue functioning with greater autonomy than other occupied countries. They also postponed taking steps against Denmark’s 8,000 Jewish citizens. 
 
In the late summer of 1943, amid rising tensions between the occupation regime and the Danish government, the Nazis declared martial law and decided the time had come to deport Danish Jews to the death camps. But Georg Duckwitz, a German diplomat in Denmark, leaked the information to Danish friends. (Duckwitz was later honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.) As word of the Germans' plans spread, the Danish public responded with a spontaneous nationwide grassroots effort to help the Jews. 
 
The Danes' remarkable response gave rise to the legend that King Christian X himself rode through the streets of Copenhagen on horseback, wearing a yellow Star of David, and that the citizens of the city likewise donned the star in solidarity with the Jews. 
 
The story may have had its origins in a political cartoon that appeared in a Swedish newspaper in 1942. It showed King Christian pointing to a Star of David and declaring that if the Nazis imposed it upon the Jews of Demark, "then we must all wear the star." Leon Uris's novel Exodus, and the movie based on that book, helped spread the legend. But subsequent investigations by historians have concluded that the story is a myth.
 
 
A MIDNIGHT ESCAPE 
 
 
On Rosh Hashana and the days that follow, numerous Danish Christian families hid Jews in their homes or farms and then smuggled them to the seashore late at night. From there, fishermen took them across the Kattegat Straits to neighboring Sweden. 
 
This three-week rescue operation had the strong support of Danish church leaders, who used their pulpits to urge aid to the Jews, as well as Danish universities, which shut down so that students could assist the smugglers. More than 7,000 Danish Jews reached Sweden and were sheltered there until the end of the war.
 
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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