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Jews Rescued by Denmark Pay Stirring Tribute to Danish People

October 9, 1953
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High in the Judean Hills some 200 Jews rescued by the Danish people ten years ago in a daring Dunkirk-like operation, yesterday gathered to pay honor to the small European nation at exercises opening the King Christian Tubercular Hospital at Deir Amar.

The ceremony also marked the evacuation of some 6,000 Danish Jews to Sweden by hundreds of Danish fishermen and boatmen who snatched the Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis, who then occupied Denmark. It was the late King Christian X, who led his people in protesting the Nazi treatment of Jews by wearing a cloak with a yellow Star of David on it whenever he appeared in public. This was in defiance of a Nazi order which forced all Jews to wear such Identifying marks in an attempt to isolate them from the remainder of the population.

Berl Locker, Jewish Agency co-chairman, recounting the Danish exploit during the High Holy Days in October, 1943, told the audience of Israeli Government leaders, Danish and Swedish diplomats and Israelis from all walks of life, that this operation “will ever be remembered in the annals of the Jewish people. What they did then, ” he continued, “saved not only their own honor but also that of Europe, Christianity and of all mankind.” He also stressed that the Jews would not forget the aid given their people by the Swedish nation.

Education Minister Ben Zion Dinur, another speaker at the exercises, revealed that as part of the memorial to the 6,000, 000 European Jews murdered by the Nazis, the Israel Government had decided that the first volume in the history of the Jewish sufferings in Nazi Europe would be concerned with the story of the “pious among the Gentiles” and that the Danish action would be the first recounted. The first page of that volume, he added, would bear a dedication to the late King Christian.

Among the guests at the exercises was Danish Maj. Gen. Vagn Bennike, chief of the United Nations truce organization in Palestine, who expressed his thanks at all the “kind words” spoken of his people and country. He related his experiences with the rescue operation.

Individual Jews who had been saved by the Danish operation today sent flowers to Christian friends in Denmark by a special plane. President Ben 2vi sent a Bible as a gift to the current Danish King, Frederick DX, with Dr. Abraham Nissan, Israel Ambassador to the Scandinavian countries, who is returning to his post after a visit to Israel.

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