by Anniel 2/17/15
On April 9, 1940 the Germans invaded Denmark in an almost bloodless takeover of the country. King Christian X had no choice but to surrender since the country had no military forces or armaments large enough to stand against the Nazi troops. For a few years Hitler was content to let the Danes, whom he called “Germany’s fellow Aryans,” continue to govern their own country, and in return the Nazis took what fish and fresh food the country produced.
There is an apocryphal story that when the Nazis ordered Jews to wear armbands with yellow stars, King Christian began wearing the yellow star himself. However, after the war Queen Margrete II and her daughter, Princess Sophia, had lengthy interviews with Danish author Anne Wolden-Raethinge, and in her book Queen in Denmark she quotes the Queen as saying:
“It is a beautiful and symbolic story, but it is not true. The myth about the King wearing the Star of David. . . I can imagine that this could have originated from a typical remark by a Copenhagen errand boy on his bicycle: ‘If they try to enforce the yellow star here, the King will be the first to wear it!’ To me, the truth is an even greater honor for our country than the myth.”
While that story may not be true, there are other stories that have been verified. The unarmed King Christian rode his horse through Copenhagen every morning and would allow no guards to accompany him. He apparently felt that was one way to lift the spirits of the people, and show the Germans that the Danes would not completely give in to tyranny. One day while the King was riding, two German soldiers asked a delivery boy who the old man on the horse was. The boy answered that it was their King. One of the soldiers exclaimed, “But he has no body guards!” To which the boy replied: “All Denmark is his body guard!”
King Christian was also a staunch protector of the Jews. In the autumn of 1941, Danish Foreign Minister, Eric Scavenius, told Hermann Goring that, “There is no Jewish question in Denmark.” That December there was an arson attack aimed at the Jewish Synagogue in Copenhagen and the King published an open letter of sympathy and support to the Chief Rabbi, Marcus Melchior. The letter infuriated Hitler. He was further incensed when he sent effusive greetings to the King on his 70th birthday and the King was lukewarm in his response (“My best thanks.”) Hitler recalled the German Ambassador from Copenhagen and expelled the Danish Ambassador from Berlin.[pullquote]Today the Danish people do not remember their heroic past. Maybe they have not been taught their own history, but some of them have freely chosen to forget.[/pullquote]
In 1943 the Germans disbanded the Danish Government and were looking to increase their troop presence in Denmark. Hitler had long held that the Danes were fellow Aryans worthy of respect, but now he regretted letting them be semi-autonomous.
On October 1, 1943, Hitler finally decided to begin efforts against the Jews of Denmark. The Danes, under the direction of the King and some members of his cabinet, who were still acting in spite of the German interdiction, refused any cooperation in arresting and deporting the Jews, stating they were equal Danish citizens.
From that time until the end of the war about 7,200 Jews, plus some gentile spouses, or 99% of Denmark’s Jews, were rescued and taken across the sea to neutral Sweden, mostly in fishing boats with hidden compartments.
The Germans brought in dogs to sniff out would-be escapees and managed to catch a few hiding in the fishing boats. Then Swedish chemists concocted a brew of dried rabbit’s blood and cocaine which powerfully attracted the dogs, then, when they smelled the cloth the cocaine would temporarily destroy their sense of smell. Using the mixture allowed the Danes to keep hiding and rescuing the Jews. Only 464 Danish Jews were captured and taken to Theresienstadt.
King Christian kept his people together and led them bravely through the Nazi occupation of his country. Were there problems, collaborators, and traitors in the ranks? Yes, but the common people loved their King and supported every effort he made on behalf of the Jews of Denmark. Many Resistance members laid down their lives to aid their Jewish fellow-citizens.
Lois Lowry wrote a powerful young people’s novel entitled Number the Stars which features a young Danish girl’s heroism during the war and is based on the actions of the Danish people in the preservation of their Jewish friends and neighbors.
Today the Danish people do not remember their heroic past. Maybe they have not been taught their own history, but some of them have freely chosen to forget.
The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, whom Mark Steyn refers to as “the tasty Danish pastry,” disgraced herself cozying up to and taking selfies with Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. She seems to be as resilient in the face of criticism as Obama. Maybe her countrymen are as addled as progressives everywhere, for she is still at her post and has paid no price for her conduct. Her response to last week’s terrorist attacks in Copenhagen has been that Denmark is a “tolerant” and “inclusive” society and she is “shocked” at the actions of a deranged individual.
Danish Muslims have placed flowers at the site where the killer was shot and demanded an investigation into why the killer’s body was not treated with the same respect shown to the body of the slain Jewish guard at the Synagogue. These actions are an indication of what “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” mean in Denmark today. No doubt the tasty pastry Prime Minister will do no more than wring her hands and demand her fellow Danes not forget their “core values.”
Danes were right to weep when their beloved King died. They and he have been replaced by lesser mortals. • (3308 views)