To some brave Danes, thank you for saving Jews





Sometimes the hardest thing to find is the person you want to thank.

What began as a casual hallway conversation between two Minneapolis lawyers has turned into a small-scale international search for Danish fishermen who helped rescue Jews during World War II. The obstacles include the passage of time -- 67 years to be exact -- and a well-deserved cultural reputation for stoicism and modesty.

In October 1943, in German-occupied Denmark, Danish Jews were about to be rounded up and deported to concentration camps. But, in one of the few upbeat chapters of the Holocaust story, an underground network rallied to coordinate a massive boat lift of 7,200 Jews from Denmark across the Oresund Strait to nearby neutral Sweden.

Danish fishermen risked their lives by cramming Jewish families into the holds of hundreds of small fishing boats. It's estimated that all but about 450 Jews found freedom.

The legend of the Danish boat lift has resonated with Jews. Children in Hebrew school learn that they should appreciate the Danes, even if they are not clear why. One of the most famous boats used in the rescue -- the "02" -- is part of the permanent exhibition of the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington....

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