There is no Jewish Question in Denmark!
Updated: Apr 29
Another Fifth-Grade History Lesson on How Thousands of Jews were Saved during the Holocaust.
While I have spent hours and hours researching and reading about World War II for The War Song Series, there are always more stories to learn. My fifth-grade son brought me home another one recently when he was studying the Holocaust at school. I can’t believe I had never heard this story before! It is a beautiful example of people helping other people to survive and persevere.
Here is most of the story, straight from my son’s reading homework by ReadWorks. He had to answer a series of questions about it afterward. I’ll leave off the questions for you! So, sit back, pretend that you are a fifth grader again, and read this amazing story of survival during World War II.
Germany invaded and occupied many countries during World War II. One European country worked as a whole to keep the Nazis from removing its Jewish people. That country was Denmark. In September 1943, the Danes learned of Nazi plans to capture the country’s Jews and ship them to concentration camps. The Danes organized themselves quickly. People from every walk of life were involved. Doctors, shop owners, farmers, and civil workers all helped Denmark’s 8,000 Jews find hiding places. One hospital hid hundreds of Jews by pretending they were patients.
The Jews hid for only a short time. Within 2 weeks, 7,200 Jews were safely carried to safety in Sweden. Danish fishermen from small villages along the coast of Denmark used their boats to ferry Jews to safety. Larger commercial boats helped too. Almost 500 Jewish people were still captured. However, all but 51 survived. The Danish king never stopped negotiating with Germany for his people.
The Nazis marched around the streets heavily armed with guns. However, the Danish king, Christian X, acted as a model of peace. He would ride alone on his horse through Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, every day. He did not carry any weapons. He did not bring any guards to protect himself. To many Danes, the example of their king’s fearlessness was more powerful than the guns of the German army. The Danish government loathed Nazi Germany’s racist policies. They scoffed at the Germans’ phrase, “The Jewish question.” The Danish government told Germany, “There is no Jewish question in Denmark.” The government protected all its citizens.