Former Board Member Publishes Book on Rescue of Jews in Denmark

Humanity in Action invites Senior Fellows, board members and friends of the organization to attend three special events in New York and Washington commemorating the 70th annivesary of the flight and rescue of Danish Jewry during the Second World War. The events feature discussions with Bo Lidegaard, editor-in-chief of Politiken, Denmark's leading daily newspaper, and the author of Countrymen, a new book about the rescue of Jews in Denmark in 1943. Bo Lidegaard is a friend of Humanity in Action and a former member of the board of Humanity in Action Denmark.


Public Events in New York and Washington

New York City
Sunday, September 15, 2:30 PM 
Conversation with Bo Lidegaard: How Denmark Saved its Jews from the Nazis
With Michael Slackman (Deputy Foreign Editor, The New York Times)
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
Edmond J. Safra Plaza
36 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280
Reservations required; $15 general admission and $12 members 

Washington, D.C.
Monday, September 16, 4:00 PM
Conversation with Bo Lidegaard
Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC 20008

Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 - 9:30 PM 
Panel Discussion on the Rescue of Danish Jewry (RSVP required)
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Theater
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, District of Columbia 20024

Remarks by Peter TaksØe-Jensen (Danish Ambassador to the United States)
Panelists: Bo Lidegaard (Author, Countrymen and Editor-in-Chief, Politiken) and Leon Wieseltier (Literary Editor, The New Republic)
Moderator: Edna Friedberg (Historian, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Please RSVP with Humanity in Action if you would like to join us at the events.


About the book

Amid the dark, ghastly history of World War II, the literally extraordinary story, never before fully researched by a historian, of how the Danish people banded together to save their fellow Jews from the Nazis—told through the remarkable unpublished diaries and documents of families forced to run for safety, leaving their homes and possessions behind, and of those who courageously came to their aid. 

In 1943, with its king and administration weakened but intact during the Nazi occupation, Denmark did something that no other country in Western Europe even attempted. Anticipating that the German occupying powers would soon issue the long-feared order to round up the entire population of Jews for deportation to concentration camps, the Danish people stood up in defiance and resisted. The king, politicians, and ordinary civilians were united in their response—these threatened people were not simply Jews but fellow Danes who happened to be Jewish, and no one would help in rounding them up for confinement and deportation.  

While diplomats used their limited but very real power to maneuver and impede matters in both Copenhagen and Berlin, the warning that the crisis was at hand quickly spread through the Jewish community. Over fourteen harrowing days, as they were helped, hidden, and protected by ordinary people who spontaneously rushed to save their fellow citizens, an incredible 7,742 out of 8,200 Jewish refugees were smuggled out all along the coast—on ships, schooners, fishing boats, anything that floated—to Sweden.

While the bare facts of this exodus have been known for decades, astonishingly no full history of it has been written. Unfolding on a day-to-day basis, Countrymen brings together accounts written by individuals and officials as events happened, offering a comprehensive overview that underlines occupied Denmark’s historical importance to Hitler as a prop for the model Nazi state and revealing the savage conflict among top Nazi brass for control of the country. This is a story of ordinary glory, of simple courage and moral fortitude that shines out in the midst of the terrible history of the twentieth century and demonstrates how it was possible for a small and fragile democracy to stand against the Third Reich.



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