Sunday, September 22, 2013

Exalting The Danes

“Countrymen”: How Denmark saved its Jews -
...Lidegaard attributes this miracle to “politics” — not just the politics of international and wartime diplomacy but the ideology of nationalism. Specifically, it was the ability of Denmark’s Social Democratic leaders “to link ‘the Danish’ with ‘the democratic’ — using the two synonymously. Hence, to be a good, patriotic Dane was tantamount to resisting totalitarian ideas and defending representative government, democracy and humanism.” This is the sort of wholesome, right-thinking mentality that often leads outsiders to call Scandinavians boring, but in 1943 it achieved a transcendent beauty, as ordinary Danes in great numbers responded to the German action against their fellow citizens with indignation and reflexive efforts to help. Lidegaard offers countless examples of farmers, white-collar workers, laborers — people from every walk of life, including the Danish police — opening their homes, offering rides, misdirecting German soldiers, carrying messages, protecting personal property, concealing fugitives in hospitals and so on, to help the Danish Jews escape to Sweden, where they were welcomed without reserve...

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