Menu JTA Search

Rescue of Scandinavian Jews During Wwii Highlights Meeting of Solons

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Victor Borge’s appearance on behalf of the Thanks to Scandinavia organization was the feature of the annual meeting of the National Association of Jewish Legislators (NAJL), held here last week during that of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In appreciation of Scandinavian efforts to rescue Jews during the Holocaust, Thanks to Scandinavia serves to acquaint Americans with these acts of bravery and to provide scholarships for young Scandinavians to study in America. Founded in 1963, the organization has raised over $2 million and has brought more than 500 students here. Borge is national chairman and Richard Netter is president.

Using the format of a fable, Borge outlined for NAJL members the unique history of the Holocaust in Scandinavia. In Denmark there was spontaneous rescue of Jews without thought of self, he said. “Every Dane became a pain”(to the Nazis), and Jews were hidden and “vanished overnight.” Sweden then took in the Jewish refugees brought from Denmark by fishing boats.

“Instead of putting up a monument, we honor the Scandinavian people by giving scholarships to future generations, “Borge said. “Medical scientists, academics the best brains come to America and work with American sceintists for the benefit of mankind. This is the best way to thank those who gave their time or lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.”

With some 150 Jewish state solons plus legislative adies as members, NAJL serves as a vehicle of communication with Jewish colleagues from throughout the country. Annual meetings, a newsletter, Washington briefings, and study trips to Israel provide opportunities for gathering knowledge and sharing ideas of concern to Jewish legislators and staff.

In addition to Borge’s address, NAJL member were briefed here on such issues as Black-Jewish relations, Soviet emigration, the foreign disclosure bill, and the equal access bill, by representatives of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, American Jewish Congress, and the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.

NAJL was founded in 1978 by its current director, Albert Abrams of Albany, New York, retired Secretary of the New York State Senate. Alan Hevesi (D. Queens), Deputy Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly, is NAJL president.

NEXT STORY