April 30, 2008

Today in Jewish History - Nissan 25

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In 1933, King Christian X of Denmark attended the 100th anniversary celebration of a synagogue in Copenhagen, to demonstrate his solidarity with the Jews. During the Holocaust, King Christian served as a rare example of refusal to cooperate in the murder of Jews. Almost all of the Jews of Denmark survived the war, while those in almost every other Nazi-occupied nation had their ranks decimated. In September 1943, the Nazis decided to deport all Danish Jews to the death camps -- but overnight a rescue organization was established and Danes from all walks of life helped to ferry some 6,000 Jews to safety in Sweden. Remarkably, less than two percent of the Jewish population of Denmark perished -- and Denmark later apologized for sending 19 Jews to concentration camps. One story (probably apocryphal, and popularized by Leon Uris in his book, Exodus) says that King Christian X bravely promised to wear a yellow star if the Jews would be forced to.