Talk:Rescue of the Danish Jews

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It wasn't completely altruistic though as many of the fishermen did earn a tidy sum ferrying all those people over the Danish/Swedish sea... Just a thought that could be added. Bug42

Questions regarding the Danish altruism[edit]

The recent edit by raises some valid points, but makes rather a weak case; one of the two URLs cited gives an error, and the other seems to lack documentation — it looks like a skeletal work in progress (and is in Danish).

Among the statements made by this anonymous editor are:

As far as the rescue operation it self, eye witnesses claim that: 1)The cost per person was what would amount to 50,000 present-USD. The Jews sold everything they had so that the fishermen could help them 2) The boats were in a very poor condition. Very often water was poiting in to the boats 3) Usually the Germans although visual contact was established, did not board the boats.

Regarding item (1), eyewitness accounts that are documented in literature on the period do acknowledge that some (but not all) of the rescuers asked for payments. Though I pass no judgement on whether payment is reasonable (there were surely significant risks for the rescuers of harboring fugitives), the rescue can not in fairness be unilaterally described as "altruistic". Perhaps a better term is "benevolent" and perhaps the fact that some fishermen rescuers asked for payment.

As for item (2), I can't see how this is significant even if the "very often" is factual. How many people, under pursuit by the Gestapo, would say "Sorry, your boat's not good enough. I'll take my chances that a better one will come along later"? I'm sure some of the boats used in the Dunkirk evacuation were of dubious seaworthiness, but that in no way detracts from those who offered such vessels for that escape; shouldn't the same principle follow in Denmark?

Finally, (3) doesn't seem relevant either. Though some German marine patrols may have been disposed to "look the other way", eyewitness accounts also tell of refugees being stopped at sea as well as en route to the beaches. In any case, the ventures were surely not free of the risks of the sea or risks of being captured.

Even with the qualifications that can be reasonably made about this event, I think it's unique in the history of the Third Reich both in terms of the numbers rescued and in terms of the involvement of the general public.

The article could probably use a little work in terms of verifying some of the legends and/or sticking with the details that are known and can be documented. A few of the descriptions ("altruistic") should probably be qualified or changed. — JonRoma 21:59, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I've just completed a major edit of this article. Among other things, I've removed the references to "altruism" since that implies a factor that does not appear to have been universally true. I've added background about the Danish situation before the attempt to round up the nation's Jews, added more detail about the nature of the escape, and added a bit more about the fate of the Danish Jews who were captured by the Germans.
The other points raised by the anonymous editor of the Questions regarding the Danish altruism section do not seem to me to be relevant or particularly well-supported. As I commented earlier, one of the links cited by the anonymous editor doesn't resolve, and the other is a skeletal page in Danish. I don't read Danish well, but there doesn't appear to be enough documentation in the link to outweigh the evidence that I and other contributors have found in the sources shown in the References section of this page. I've taken Questions regarding the Danish altruism out, but the original edit(s) can be found here. — JonRoma 08:31, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
The idea that the rescue of the jews was merely a profit making operation and that the Danish people did not really care or do enough to resist the Nazis is an idea that has popped up during the last few years here in Denmark. It may not be entirely obvious to outsiders but most of the debate is rooted in current political views of Denmark's role in Europe. It is therefor neither unbiased nor in any way related to what was going on at the time. The far far majority of the Danish people supported the partial coorporation with the Germans until 1943 for 1 very obvious reason: resisting an army many times bigger than you is simply suicide! So rather than resisting and being killed the Danish people chose to temporarily accept the German rule under the condition that no jews or innocent in general be harmed. Once the Germans systematically broke these promises the resistance was fast and substantial. The points raised in Questions regarding the Danish altruism were therefor in no way valid. They are highly insulting and unbiased and I have a very hard time understanding why an article on something that happened over 60 years ago should be abused to support current political views on the future of European coorporation and integration. 13:06, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

A better title?[edit]

I don't think that Rescue of the Danish Jews is a good title. Any suggestions? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Please explain why you don't think it's a good title. — JonRoma 01:26, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Jon, nice work. I'm not wild about the title either, though, something that's less in the passive voice, maybe? I have no good suggestion at this time, but I'll think about it. IronDuke 02:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
They were rescued. What's the problem? --Alfader
The Rescue of the Danish Jews also a commonly used term for this particular episode of history, and I think it is hard to think of a title for the article that would be more descriptive or more easily recognised. Ondewelle (talk) 14:39, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Ebba Lund - the girl with the red hat[edit]

I recently attended a talk by Bob Dean about the work his wife, Ebba Lund (known by most of those that she had a part in rescuing only as "the girl with the red hat" at the time, and for many years afterwards) did in arranging passage for Danish Jews to Sweden. Bob has recently published a book about Ebba's work, appropriately called "Ebba Lund - The girl with the red hat". Here is a link to a 1994 newspaper article about her --> I don't have it to hand, but I'll try to work some information from the book into the article. Daen 10:56, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

inconsitency between german and english rsion[edit]

116 von ihnen wurden dann in deutschen KZ ermordet (nach Wolfgang Benz)

the german version says 116 were murdered, whereas the english speaks only about 51. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:04, 18 December 2006 (UTC).

Danish record?[edit]

While I admire the courage of the Danish people, I don't think it's right to say that 'The casualties among Danish Jews during the Holocaust were smaller than any other country in occupied Europe, much to the frustration of Germany.' The Jewish community of Bulgaria (which managed to save ALL its Jews from deportation through parliamentary and extraparliamentary actions) actually INCREASED its size during WW2! --Vladko 08:07, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

You are absolutely correct that the Bulgarian Jews also escaped destruction. If I remember correctly, the Jewish communities in Italy and (unoccupied) Finland also survived. Such a list can easily be included. Valentinian T / C 12:14, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the Bulgarian parallel. AFAIK, the rescue of Bulgaria's Jews applied to the Jews living within the borders as they were in 1939, but not to the territories in West Thrace which Bulgaria annexed from Greece during the war. Valentinian T / C 13:08, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Dont you think it matters that Denmark was actually occupied, while Bulgaria as well as Italy were free states who choose to join the Axis? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
The Jewish communities of Italy was to a large extent rounded up and sent to KZ-camps. Bulgaria and Denmark (possibly Finland) was the exceptions.--Saddhiyama (talk) 21:59, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The case of Bulgaria is irrelevant here because the statement to which Vladko objects refers to "occupied Europe" and Bulgaria was an ally of Germany when the Bulgarians were asked to hand over their Jewish countrymen (which they courageously refused). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Comparison to Norway[edit]

Although implied rather than expressed in the article, I wonder if the article understates the contrast between Norwegian and Danish popular reaction to the deportation. For example:

  • "Although hazardous, the boat ride was relatively short and its covert nature was easier to conceal than a comparable land journey." I'm not sure that's true. Norway had a very long border to Sweden, with lots of forest, side roads, lakes, etc. In general I'd say it's easier to hide in woods and mountains than on water.
  • "Outrage all over Scandinavia" - there is little evidence that the Norwegian population at large was much outraged by the deportation of their Jewish fellow citizens and neighbors. Scared, perhaps, but there was very little reaction to it, during the war or afterwards, until fairly recently. --Leifern (talk) 22:26, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

I think you have to keep in mind that the German occupational regime in Denmark was probably the least repressive anywhere in occupied Europe and thus the fear of retribution among the population not as pronounced as elsewhere. It is not unreasonable to assume that the leading Germans there where quite happy to see most of the Jews flee to Sweden, thereby solving their 'problem' without much impairing relations with the Danes and thus supplies of agricultural goods. Their delay tactics and Duckwitz's apparent freedom to negotiate with the Swedes and his tip-off of the imminent operation seem to underline this. Further down in the hierarchy, for instance, the German harbourmaster of the small town Gilleleje instructed his staff not to pursue refugees at night. In summary, it seems fairly obvious that the local occupational regime turned a blind eye whereever that was viable.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:10, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

number the stars[edit]

this book is awesome i am reading it —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Is it time to review the 'no footnotes' and 'original research' warnings?[edit]

It seems to me that the article has an ample number of footnotes and citations. Is the warning really fair? It is always possible to add more notes, but surely a balance has to drawn between readability and academic .

The major part of the article provides information that is available from many other sources. If some sections have been identified as 'original research' could they be specified, so that the sources can be given or the section removed? Apuldram (talk) 23:47, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Good point. The nofootnotes can definetly be removed. And as noone has bothered to clarify which parts is considered original research or which parts contain weasel words on the talk page I am removing the tags. --Saddhiyama (talk) 23:58, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Not the lowest casualties[edit]

The current article reads "The casualties among Danish Jews during the Holocaust were smaller than any other country in occupied Europe." That's only true if Albania is not considered part of Europe. Yad Veshem, for one reference, says that only four Jews from Albania were killed in the Shoah. —Preceding unsigned comment added by CarlFink (talkcontribs) 14:42, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

It seems you are right. Bulgaria also presumably saved their entire Jewish population during WWII. I will change it to "one of the lowest". --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:36, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

non sequitor[edit]

"The facts differ from the story. Although the Danish authorities cooperated with the German occupation forces, they and most Danes strongly opposed the isolation of any group within the population, especially the well-integrated Jewish community"

The second sentence does not follow the first one. The section claims that the story that the king wore the yellow star is a myth, but provides no source. Maybe it is untrue, but the article only insinuates it and does not provide any actual source. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:13, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

It is poorly worded due to past conflicting edits. The paper here, which is already cited in the article, is the most detailed account I know of. Fixing a bit, still needs work. Zerotalk 14:57, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. It just didn't read properly. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:08, 16 September 2011 (UTC)


The article states that "some members of the small Jewish community had risen to prominence, e.g. Nobel prize laureate Niels Bohr.". As the article sounds ATM, Bohr apparantly belonged to a(n organized) jewish community and had somehow managed to rise to prominence (despite something). I find this description odd. Bohr did have a mother of jewish descent and Bohr was aware of this. However, Bohr himself was not jewish (well, in the nazi-sense he was) and not part of "the small jewish community". In fact he had very little to do with it at all. Also his father was a renowned Professor himself and the family belonged to the upper class - not a member of the jewish community in any way (and thus unable to rise to prominence from said community). Also, Bohr was a member of the Danish State church (until he withdrew his membership). He did not identify himself as a jew. While surely being aware of his heritage he's left no impression that it mattered to him in a way that would qualify him as being "a member of the small jewish community". --Nwinther (talk) 12:55, 31 January 2012 (UTC)


Some 100 prominent Danes were taken hostage, including the Chief Rabbi Dr. Max Friediger and a dozen other Jews.
(The official chief rabbi, Dr. Max Friediger, had already been detained as a "hostage" on the night of August 29, 1943, along with some 100 prominent Danes, including a dozen Jews, in a camp near Copenhagen.)

Doesn't this seem a little redundant? I mean, they're in, like, adjacent paragraphs. Maybe someone could delete one of them (I don't trust my own judgement)? Sorenm5757 (talk) 21:14, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Bias against Sweden[edit]

The article states - without reference - that the Norwegian Jews had been denyed outright access to Sweden " Sweden had earlier turned away the Norwegian Jews to their certain deaths and they were determined to do the same to the Danish Jews.[citation needed]". As most Norwegian Jews survived the holocaust (according to and Sweden was the number one destination for Norwegian Jews, this seems unlikely?

Early in the war many Jews where denied, but this was before they faced "certain death".

I will re-edit this part of the text unless good reason why not to is given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:36, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

I think you are quite right to re-edit. The literature on the escape of the norwegian jews to Sweden - for instance the book "From Indifference to activism" by historian Paul Levine - shows that there during the fist years of the war was a great uncertainty how to treat jewish refugees from Norway, and that it often was up the the local policeman or customs official to decide their fate. This resulted in that more than one-third (roughly) of refugees from Norway, jews included, were turned away. But this was up to november 1942, when norwegian jews started to be deported to Auschwitz. Afetr that there was no limits whatsoever for norwegian jews to seek refuge in Sweden, a policy that was repeated when it came to the danish jews. The swedish government openly stated that they were all welcome. I would argue that this is the current standpoint of scientific historical research. There was a visible element of anti-semitism in swedish refugee policy, but it was severely weakened when the Holocaust started to threaten teh scandinavian jews. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
Please, be bold and make the changes you think are necessary. If someone disagrees with your edits they can make the changes they want and the discussion can take off from there. :) Peregrine981 (talk) 15:03, 15 June 2013 (UTC)


Just wondering whether anyone knows what happened to the Danish Gypsies?

They were also persecuted terribly under the Nazis in all occupied countries. Were they rescued alongside the Jews? (talk) 08:57, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

The Gypsy community in Denmark was very small or non-existant. They were never singled-out in the way that the Jews were - just like the homosexuals weren't rounded up either. The newspaper articles regarding the hunt for the Danish jews doesn't mention the gypsies or any other minority. Well, besides the communists but they were already underground. I suspect something similar would have been the case with the gypsies - they went underground if they were targeted at all. The lack of an organized community could explain why they were disregarded. Although they might have been taken but seeing that they didn't organize there was no one around to realize that they were missing.--Nwinther (talk) 14:37, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Misleading interpretation of source for Bohr's arrival in Sweden[edit]

I browsed through the given source for "When Bohr touched Swedish soil, government representatives told him he had to board a plane immediately for the United States. Bohr refused..." I cannot make the source correspond fully to the story in the Wikipedia article. If someone has time to look further into it, or to provide other sources, that would be good. --Mlewan (talk) 07:28, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Freight Cats?[edit]

Is this some sort of term for a ferried freight container? Hard to imagine someone wrote "cats" instead of CARS three times in a row!Dfoofnik (talk) 06:39, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

In popular culture section[edit]

Preserving here by providing this link. This material was largely uncited. The only material that was cited to an independent source was about the ice cream brand -- that was cute, but still trivial. Please let me know if there are any concerns. For a somewhat relevant guideline, please see WP:MILPOP. K.e.coffman (talk) 05:34, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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