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A Conspiracy of Decency: The Rescue of the Danish Jews

#1 User is offline   donniechris59 

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 09:55 AM

Denmark Rescue

(I wrote this article some time ago for the Canada Lutheran. I think it is a good counter to those people, including the Pope who claim that there was nothing they could have done to appose the Holocaust)


By the end of WWII, approximately 6 million Jews and millions of others had perished in Nazi-occupied Europe as a result of genocidal persecution. In contrast to other European countries, the majority of the citizens of Denmark protected their countrymen. Approximately 7,800 Jews out of a population of 3.6 million people lived in Denmark when Nazi Germany occupied the country in 1940. Unlike his practice in many other occupied countries, Hitler granted the Danish Government autonomy in handling its domestic affairs. For the Danish Government, this meant the rejection of any effort to alter the protected status of Jews in Denmark. As an illustration, the government refused to adhere to the Nazis’ demand to segregate and isolate the Jews by forcing them to wear the Star of David.

For the next three years, relations between the Danes and the Nazi occupiers steadily deteriorated. By August 1943, the Danish Government could no longer meet the Nazis’ increasing demands, which included a mandatory death penalty for resistance work. The Danish Government resigned, the King was placed under house arrest, and the Nazis declared martial law. For Dr. Werner Best, the highest-ranking Nazi official in Denmark, the time was ripe for action against the Danish Jews. Dr. Best forwarded this message to Hitler and in return, Hitler sent a message that a roundup of the Danish Jews was scheduled for the night of the Jewish New Year, the night between October 1 and 2, when families would most likely be at home. "A courageous man, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, the German delegation's attaché for shipping affairs and a confidant of Dr. Best, leaked word of the impending roundup to a few Danish politicians; they, in turn, warned the Jewish leadership, barely three days before the Germans were to begin. The alarm spread quickly and most Jews went into hiding immediately" (Goldberger 5).

Without hesitation Danes took risks without regard for the consequences (which could have been death). The rescue was spontaneous, decentralized, and with no command structure. Every imaginable group, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, men and women, young and old, assisted.
- Political parties publicly denounced the Nazi campaign.
- Friends, acquaintances and strangers hid Jews in their homes and churches;
they arranged escape routes across the bodies of waters that separated
Denmark from Sweden; they financed the escape.
- Underground newspapers published articles encouraging the Danes to stand in
solidarity with their Jewish fellow countrymen.
- On behalf of all the Danish Lutheran Bishops, the Bishop of Copenhagen
prepared a document denouncing the persecution of Jews, which was sent to
the Nazis and was read in Lutheran State Churches during services.
- Doctors falsified documents and hid people in hospitals (Rittner G14). 2
-The Danish police and coast guard also took sides with the oppressed by refusing to assist in the manhunt. Not to mention the Wehrmacht soldiers, some of whom looked the other way - moved by either compassion or bribes.

As a result of this courageous effort, approximately 7,200 people made it safely to Sweden. This has become known by Danish Jews today as "The Miracle at Midnight." 464 Jews were sent to the concentration camp Theresienstadt. Those who were captured were betrayed by Danish Nazis, who numbered about 15,000. They are known today as the stikkers (informers and collaborators). There is a story about a single Danish girl who was in love with a German soldier who personally turned in 80 Jews who were hiding in a Church attic.

Even then, the Danish government ensured their safety. The government, via the Danish Foreign Ministry and Red Cross, continually visited the camp, provided the prisoners with food parcels, and insisted on a constant reporting of their whereabouts. Danish Lutheran pastors began a programme of collecting articles of food to be sent to Thereseinstadt and as many as 700 food packages were sent monthly to Thereseinstadt. As a result of this effort, Danish prisoners at Theresienstadt suffered relatively few deaths. On April 15, 1945, the Danish King with the help of the Red Cross secured the return of the 413 Jews who survived and they were transported back to Denmark in the famous "White Buses." (Abrahamsen 9).

After the war, Danes who had been targeted for persecution by the Nazis returned to Denmark and received a warm welcome. Unlike other Nazi-occupied countries, Denmark had cared for their neighbours’ homes and belongings and kept their jobs waiting for them. For many returning Danes, this welcome reestablished their dignity as human beings and provided them the strength to rebuild their lives.

(here is an excellent website on the story)
http://www.auschwitz.dk/Denmark.htm

References
The Rescue of the Danish Jews: Moral Courage under Stress. Editor: Leo Goldberger. New York: New York University Press, 1987, 2-11.
Goldberger, Leo. "The Rescue of the Danish Jews: An Overview. " Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies. Series Editor: Dennis B. Klein. New York: Anti-
Defamation League's Braun Center for Holocaust Studies, 7,3, 1993, 3-9.
Rittner, Carol. "Special Supplement: Denmark 1943: A Documentary Discussion Guide to the Rescue of Denmark's Jews." Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies
Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies. Series Editor: Dennis B. Klein. New York: Anti-Defamation League's Braun Center for Holocaust Studies, 7,3,1993, G1-G20.
Yehil, Leni. The Rescue of Danish Jewry: Test of Democracy. Philadelphia: Jewish
Publications Society of America, 1969.
" a gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes... but didn't " Samuel Johnson
" a gentleman is a man who keeps two-thirds of his body weight on his elbows" Mae West
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#2 User is offline   donniechris59 

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 11:17 PM

I have received a couple of private messages requesting that I edit out my statement concerning the Pope.
There is much debate concerning the Pope's activities (or lack thereof), even from eminent Roman Catholics themselves. I have read articles on both sides of the argument (though not everything) and my personal conclusion is that he remained far too silent on the issue. His Holiness John Paul II even gave a formal apology to the Jewish community for the Church's role during the Holocaust.
Many heroic Roman Catholics gave their lives apposing the Holocaust as well as suffering the horrors of concentration camps themselves. A heroic and even martyred pope may have done much to help save Europe's Jewry.
During times of great distress such as the Holocaust and the Second World War, the need for Church leaders to speak radically and forcefully is greater than ever, and it is not a time to retreat into dogma.
Being Lutheran myself, my denomination carries the brunt of the shame held by Christians who did little to appose the Holocaust as well as actively particapting in it. The state Lutheran Church in Germany has much to feel shamed about. Even in Canada, where Lutheran Churches have harboured former Nazi war criminals who have excaped justice and even arranged their arrival into Canada has been an ongoing debate. Martin Luther's "Treatise against the Jews and their lies" is nothing but pure anti-semitism and most modern Lutherans have denounced that part of Luther's teaching. Even his treatise "Jesus was born a Jew" it is obvious to even a child that it is not a celebration of Judaism, but an attempt to convert the Jews. My aunt and uncle's personal anti-semitism is an embarassment to my entire family.
One thing I often wondered, is why the Pope never spoke ex-cathedra on the subject such granting people remission of sins and time spared from purgatory to any catholic who actively apposed the holocaust? After all, time spared from purgatory is promised for less acts such as climbing up the stairs of run down ugly-ass old churches on your hands and knees (as well as making the appropriate financial contribution). I have seen such promises myself while visiting historical churches.
I apologize if my statement offends anyone personally but it is my personal belief and one that is not unique to myself, therefore I find no need to edit it out.
" a gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes... but didn't " Samuel Johnson
" a gentleman is a man who keeps two-thirds of his body weight on his elbows" Mae West
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#3 User is offline   BRY 

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 10:19 PM

The Danes are Teutons,the Germans were never going to get really ugly with their brothers,was there any real fear?

The Italians did a fine job protecting their Jews,why would the Pope have to inflame the situation?

I suggest you have a closer look at what the Allies could have done to stop the Holocaust,there's plenty of debate about that.
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Posted 05 November 2007 - 09:16 AM

donniechris59 said:

...

Many heroic Roman Catholics gave their lives apposing the Holocaust as well as suffering the horrors of concentration camps themselves. A heroic and even martyred pope may have done much to help save Europe's Jewry.
....


Yeah, right.

You'd have loved something like that, don't you (and anybody who continues to speak up against the Pope i.e. The Roman Catholic Church)? A beheaded Church is no Church. But this is probably the ultimate goal of many people.

Anyway since you seem to have some interest in the matter try and find info on this names:

Israel(e) Zolli.

Eugenio Zolli

You'll probably have some difficulties on the first name... some people doesn't like to see it.

Best regards

P.S.: Sorry if I seem personal here.
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#5 User is offline   Veltro 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 12:49 AM

You know Donnie I can appreciate many things....... however to single out the Pope for not doing anything vis vi the showa is ludicris. In 1943 was it not the Pope himself who ordered the priest and catholics to open there homes, churches and monestaries in Italy?

How many Italian Jews were victims of the Holocaust, between 6 & 7,000 out of a population of approx 58,000 ( in a country that was 99% Roman Catholic) . "Offcial anti semitisim" went no where.

I have always thought it strange that when so many nations, the USA, Great Britain, Canada...did absolutly NOTHING that people such as yourself swing their guns away from them and point them to an institution that was founded on Love & forgivness and .............with no standing army to protect itself ( save for 100 or so pike armed swiss guard). Books get churned out on "Hitlers Pope" ...what about Hitlers accomplices mentioned above?
Not only did they not raise eyebrows "offcially" but they faciltaed the murders and traded with same in one notable case almost 2 years into the war (perhaps longer)


I am aware of the dislike of Roman Catholics by some protestant sects, particularly the lutherans, however, we are all Christians. Your hostilty towards the RC church has come through in other post's as well.

A freind of mines father is a protestant minister....he told me once "he would not give the Pope a glass of water" don't understand the hostility towards the Church...are we all not Christians? We worship differently but to the same ends..our core beliefs are the same...

Just don't see how somthing like this can be constructive to anything.

Yes of course you are entiled to your opinions,as they are yours. However when the reason for opinions have an underlaying reason then theres a problem.

Your "essay' goes beyond an historicle event and subtly ( maby not so ) attacks a religious institution/group.


Eddy
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#6 User is offline   FB 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 07:53 AM

Veltro said:

...
A freind of mines father is a protestant minister....he told me once "he would not give the Pope a glass of water" don't understand the hostility towards the Church...

...
Eddy


Easy: because Rome is right, and the others wrong (and they know it) :D (joking of course).

Interesting though: your Minister friend wouldn't give the Pope a glass of water, Donnie talks about a martyrdome for the Pope.

It is in my opinion not the Pope as a person (so not Mr. Eugenio (<--Donnie, this name here is also a hint for you :wink: ) Pacelli (Pius XII) or Mr. Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI)) who is hated, it's the role, the "job" if you will, that is targeted.

For one reason mainly, I think: Lutheranism (and following the former Agostinian monk all the other protestant sects) based itself mainly on two principles: fidelty to the Book and its free exam.

Needless to say Rome has nothing to say about the first principle, but cannot accept the second since Magisterium Infallibilis is coexistent with the Roman Catholic Church and with its Pope. This is the real target: the Magister that the Pope is.

Best regards
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#7 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 09:36 AM

Quote

Needless to say Rome has nothing to say about the first principle, but cannot accept the second since Magisterium Infallibilis is coexistent with the Roman Catholic Church and with its Pope. This is the real target: the Magister that the Pope is.

Well, as a leader you cannot be liked by everyone but you can grant the cohesion of your community. With the sole Book and free exam, the fragmentation of the Protestant churches is soon explained.

Strangely enough, I noticed the rising tide of accusations against Pius XII started after his death, around the time of the Six Days' War. Surely Hochhuth's play The Deputy influenced that...But maybe did the Western world, now supporting Israel, want to hide its failure to bomb Auschwitz as requested by some important Jewish figures? What do you think?
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#8 User is offline   Dili 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 09:47 AM

Quote

Anyway since you seem to have some interest in the matter try and find info on this names:

Israel Zolli.


I just read the Wiki and i fail to understand the relevance.

-------------------

From distance(in which i assume i dont know all) in my opinion the Pope failed Europe and not only the Jews. I even fault the Church more for not trying strongly to stop the madness before it happened.
The evidence that i found of that is that Catholic Church didnt got an increase of prestige after Second World War instead the Communists got it.
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#9 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 10:25 AM

Quote

I just read the Wiki and i fail to understand the relevance.

He was a Rabbi who converted to Catholicism and took the name Eugenio after Pacelli (Pius XII), to show his gratitude for the Pope's efforts to save Jews during the war.
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Posted 06 November 2007 - 10:41 AM

Dili said:

Quote

Anyway since you seem to have some interest in the matter try and find info on this names:

Israel Zolli.


I just read the Wiki and i fail to understand the relevance.

-------------------

From distance(in which i assume i dont know all) in my opinion the Pope failed Europe and not only the Jews. I even fault the Church more for not trying strongly to stop the madness before it happened.
The evidence that i found of that is that Catholic Church didnt got an increase of prestige after Second World War instead the Communists got it.


About Israel Zolli, I don't want to spoil the surprise to our friend Donnie. The relevance is quite clear, believe me, as far as Pius XII as a bad guy towards the Jews is concerned.

About you second stance: if the Church had been a powerfull state, like it was centuries ago, then I could understand your point. Do you really think that "moral suasion", i.e. the sole weapon left in the hands of the Church after its secular power has been reuced to almost zero (interestingly enough largely by the same stream of thought that from the '60ies onwards is blaming the Church for its supposed immobility during WWII) could stop Adolf and Josiph, two a-Catholics? They personally didn't give a nut to what the Pope said.

Where (save for Italy, or better: in the hearts os some Italians :roll: ) did Communism see an increase of prestige?

Best regards
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Posted 06 November 2007 - 11:10 AM

Gian said:

Quote

I just read the Wiki and i fail to understand the relevance.

He was a Rabbi who converted to Catholicism and took the name Eugenio after Pacelli (Pius XII), to show his gratitude for the Pope's efforts to save Jews during the war.


Correct (Donnie owes us one for this "disclosure". We spared him a research :lol: ).

He wasn't a "normal" Rabbi: he was the Chief of the Roman Jewish Community, The Chief Rabbi of Rome (iirc this would be, today, his charge).

Best regards
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#12 User is offline   FB 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 11:18 AM

Gian said:

...
Strangely enough, I noticed the rising tide of accusations against Pius XII started after his death, around the time of the Six Days' War. Surely Hochhuth's play The Deputy influenced that...But maybe did the Western world, now supporting Israel, want to hide its failure to bomb Auschwitz as requested by some important Jewish figures? What do you think?


Possible, why not.

Motives behind personal hate towards the Church are numerous.

The only real one, and the oldest of all, is one. The Church is the katèchon. Hence it must be destroied.

Best regards
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#13 User is offline   184 Nembo 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 05:34 PM

donniechris59

Let me explain something that many seem to overlook;
40+ countries led by the Isle of man pleaded with The United
States of America for help. This help was not needed
across a small number of countries this help was needed
across more than one continent across the world. Try to envision that.
These countries would not have asked for help if they did not need
help. With that being said, When you are in need of help then ask for help."
40+ countries asked and pleaded for help.
The United States of America is open for business.

The pope is to be blamed for them not getting any help?
Jewish organizations living outside occupied territories suposedly new something was going on, but however they were not able to ask for help?

If money was the issue for not getting help;
Let me explain something else;
F.D.R. Made s specifec point in his arsenal of democracy belief
No support would be given/allowed to expand border/interest.
Could you please explain why a homeless person(Jew pre-WWII)
with no geographic address on the world map After WWII was allowed
to expand into their own country?
Secondly all the Xcess American military equipment post WWII
was bought by them to form an army.
Everything that I mentioned above cost $$$ alooot of it I point out.
Somebody paid for all of that. Somebody had money to spend.
How does the homeless move into their own house overnight?

I do not know what type of coorelation or imposing something you are trying to make between The pope spiritual voluntary faith/belief or duties from the bible.
And the constitution law and order way of life of a particular country?
THe pope is voluntary belief the other is constitutional.

The problem with Jews pre-WWII is that a question of loyality to the country they live in, becomes the question of the day? They will not recieve the same recognition because of them being homeless with no geographic address on the world map. When loyalty is in question especially during a World War your life is at risk. This is a difficult politically sensitive issue.
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#14 User is offline   184 Nembo 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 05:34 PM

donniechris59

Let me explain something that many seem to overlook;
40+ countries led by the Isle of man pleaded with The United States of America for help. This help was not needed across a small number of countries this help was needed across more than one continent across the world. Try to envision that.
These countries would not have asked for help if they did not need
help. With that being said, When you are in need of help then ask for help."
40+ countries asked and pleaded for help.
The United States of America is open for business.

The pope is to be blamed for them not getting any help?
Jewish organizations living outside occupied territories suposedly new something was going on, but however they were not able to ask for help?

If money was the issue for not getting help;
Let me explain something else;
F.D.R. Made s specifec point in his arsenal of democracy belief
No support would be given/allowed to expand border/interest.
Could you please explain why a homeless person(Jew pre-WWII)
with no geographic address on the world map After WWII was allowed
to expand into their own country?
Secondly all the Xcess American military equipment post WWII
was bought by them to form an army.
Everything that I mentioned above cost $$$ alooot of it I point out.
Somebody paid for all of that. Somebody had money to spend.
How does the homeless move into their own house overnight?

I do not know what type of coorelation or imposing something you are trying to make between The pope spiritual voluntary faith/belief or duties from the bible.
And the constitution law and order way of life of a particular country?
THe pope is voluntary belief the other is constitutional.

The problem with Jews pre-WWII is that a question of loyality to the country they live in, becomes the question of the day? They will not recieve the same recognition because of them being homeless with no geographic address on the world map. When loyalty is in question especially during a World War your life is at risk. This is a difficult politically sensitive issue.
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#15 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 09:31 PM

Quote

Secondly all the Xcess American military equipment post WWII
was bought by them to form an army.

Sure the USA gave them lots of military equipment and funding. USSR provided even more through Czechoslovakia (mostly ex-German weapons to hide their support): at first they boosted the creation of the would-be Jewish state to have a satellite of theirs in the Mediterranean. But of course they didn't succeed.
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Posted 07 November 2007 - 03:02 PM

Gian said:

Quote

Sure the USA gave them lots of military equipment and funding. USSR provided even more through Czechoslovakia (mostly ex-German weapons to hide their support): at first they boosted the creation of the would-be Jewish state to have a satellite of theirs in the Mediterranean. But of course they didn't succeed.


Gian,

I suppose when the Americans told the Jew to jump, they responded with how High.
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#17 User is offline   Dili 

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 10:18 PM

Thanks for that info.

Yes i am of course talking about public moral stance. Despite Hitler and Mussolini being atheists or ambigous depending on period many middle level support and rethoric were pro-christian.
Communist grow up in prestige after WW2 in Western Countries not only in Italy. I dont talk about East Europe where they just intimidated and grabbed power on footsteps of red army.

US didnt supported military much Israel until after 67.
Czechs supported on their own.
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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:33 AM

Dili said:

Thanks for that info.

Yes i am of course talking about public moral stance. Despite Hitler and Mussolini being atheists or ambigous depending on period many middle level support and rethoric were pro-christian.


Ok. There was (in Holland if memory serves) an occasion when a public moral stance was formally declared. A Catholic Bishop issued a public protest for the unhuman treatment that the Jews were suffering. In this courageous action he was supported by his Protestant collegues. Result: massive round up of some thousend Jews and their consequent deportation, almost overnight. With the final warning: next time you open your mouth like this, and we will come again. Don't try us again.

As you see the experiment, unfortunately, did not bring the hoped results, quite the opposite in reality.

Dili said:

US didnt supported military much Israel until after 67.
....


:?:

Strictly speaking (i.e. limiting the reasonment to number of tanks, planes, guns and so on), maybe so. But how many billions US$ the American taxpayer (probably without even completely knowing it) gives to Isreal each year? And what does Israel do with this money? For instance: designs and builds an enhanced copy (so to say) of the US F-16 fighter, then sells it to China (fully packed also with enhanced sensible military technology that USA obviously considers extremely sensible) cashing an enormous net profit from the operation. China can now export (with their low cost ability) the plane to whoever wants it, possibly also to USA enemies (real or supposed, it's immaterial as far as this reasonment is concerned). The only liabilities (both economic and strategic) here are those of the American taxpayer, I guess.

A good bargain for the America taxpayer, really.

Best regards
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