Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews

by Ellen Levine

During World War II, something remarkable took place in Denmark: almost the entire... read more

During World War II, something remarkable took place in Denmark: almost the entire Jewish population of that small country was saved from Nazi persecution. Ellen Levine’s compelling history chronicles Denmark’s extraordinary effort to save its 8,000 Jewish citizens. In doing so, Levine tries to understand what made that country different from the rest of Europe. In her introduction, she outlines many of the facts that made rescue possible, including Denmark’s relatively small Jewish population, its proximity to neutral Sweden, and Germany’s delay in rounding up Jews in Denmark—the Nazis did not begin to do so until 1943. Yet, she notes, these facts don’t explain the reasons behind the Jewish rescue. “I only know that in Denmark, Jews were not defined as 'the other,’ ” she writes. Through extensive research and interviews with both Jews and non-Jews, Levine recreates the Nazi occupation of Denmark from 1940 to the end of the war. She chronicles the dread, the fear, and the countless acts of courage when the Nazis began their Jewish roundup. Success depended on the individual commitment of the Danish citizens to hide those in danger and to smuggle them across the North Sea to Sweden. Levine’s is a balanced portrait; she notes that Denmark, too, had Nazi sympathizers. But overall, the narrative captures heartening, hopeful acts. (Ages 11-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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