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February 17, 2012

How Adolf Eichmann saved the Danish Jews

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 3:38 pm

Yesterday, I blogged about a 5th grade class that learned about the fate of the Danish Jews in World War II from a Holocaust survivor. I blogged about this because I was very surprised that a 5th grade teacher would introduce this subject to a class of 10-year-olds.

The  true story of what happened to the Danish Jews disagrees with the official history of the Holocaust:  In order not to be branded a Holocaust denier, one must believe that “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe” was the systematic plan to kill all the Jews in Europe, which later became known as the “genocide” of the Jews.

How can it be genocide when the Jews in one country in Europe were not killed?  That must be why these unsuspecting 10-year-old children were told, by an eyewitness Holocaust survivor, that a Danish Jew was gassed at Auschwitz.

The real story is that none of the Jews in Denmark were deliberately killed and none were sent to Auschwitz to be exterminated. The most amazing thing about the Danish Jews is that Adolf Eichmann, the so-called “mastermind” of the Holocaust, was involved in saving them from the gas chambers!  Did Eichmann get any thanks for this?  No, after he was tried and convicted, by an Israeli court, of  Crimes against Humanity, Eichmann was hanged.

A few years ago, I purchased a book entitled The Miracle in Denmark, The Rescue of the Jews by Christian Ejlers.  On page 46 of the book is a photo of Adolf Eichmann in his SS uniform.  The caption reads:  “SS-Obersturmführer Adolf Eichmann (1906 – 1962) was the man behind the German genocide of six million Jews, the Roma people, and homosexuals in Europe.”

This quote is from page 47 of the book The Miracle in Denmark:

Adolf Eichmann arrived in Copenhagen (Denmark) on November 2, 1943.  Like (Werner) Best, he was an SS officer. He was head of the department of the Reichsichershauptamt (RSHA) that was entrusted with carrying out Hitler’s policies against Jews: having as many of them as possible annihilated.

[Werner Best was the German Reich Commissioner in occupied Denmark; he was the top civil authority in Denmark from 1942 to May 5, 1945.]

We do not know for certain the real reason why this mass murderer came to Copenhagen.  Some believe that his job was to try to find out why the action against the Jews had been a fiasco — seen from the Germans’ point of view.  Who was responsible?  Others believe that he came to support (Werner) Best in the internal power struggle that had begun among the SS, the German foreign Ministry, and the Wehrmacht.  […]  No matter what the explanation, Best and Eichmann made an agreement at Hotel D’Angleterre on November 2, 1943.  This agreement was sent as a telegram to Berlin on November 3, 1943.  Its contents were as follows:

1.  Jews over 60 will no longer be arrested and deported.
2.  The deported half-Jews and Jews married to non-Jews will be released and sent back to Denmark.
3. All Jews who had been deported from Denmark will remain in Theresienstadt and within a reasonable length of time will be visited by representatives of the Danish authorities and the Danish Red Cross.   […]
The last point in the telegram meant that no Jews from Denmark — including those who were not Danish citizens — were sent to Auschwitz or other extermination camps.

Chapter 4 in the book The Miracle in Denmark is entitled “Deportation.”  This quote is at the beginning of the chapter:  “Why did Adolf Eichmann and Werner Best ensure that 481 Jews in Theresienstadt were not sent to the extermination camps.” 

According to the book, tour guides at Theresienstadt tell visitors that “the Danish Jews were saved because they were protected by the Danish king.”  However, the author of the book explains that it was not King Christian X who saved the Danish Jews. The Danish Jews were sent to Theresienstadt in October 1943; the Danish government had resigned on August 29, 1943, so the Danish king did not have the authority to save the Jews.   No, it was Werner Best and Adolf Eichmann, both German SS officers, who decided that the Danish Jews would be sent to Theresienstadt and that they would not be transported to Auschwitz.

1 Comment

  1. Often the truth is somewhere in the middle. The Danish Jews were highly integrated into the form of Danish Nationalism that has emerged from the previous century. Much of the ‘just-under-the-skin’ racism that was still prevalent in much of Europe was absent in Denmark. Elsewhere the Jews were often betrayed by their own countrymen when the Nazis crossed their borders or wherever Nazis exerted their influence. This simply did not happen in Denmark. It was the populace, along with a king who had a similar kindred spirit, that stood up for the Jews as “our Jews”. And that these Jews were “Danish Jews” – in the same way that many in the US consider American blacks as “Americans” in the nationalistic sense, not racial.
    Gradually (and I have relatives that were in the Resistance) the initial status quo was tolerated, but as word came through about the treatment of Jews in other occupied countries, and the tensions increased as did the acts of the Resistance, this, at least in part, led to the resignation of the government (the prosecution of the editor of an anti-Semitic newspaper did not help).
    But one is not then to draw the conclusion that a number of high-ranking government officials did not continue to exert influence after the resignation of the government – facts tell another story. Much of that came from the Nazis continued reliance of the Danish Civil Service meant a continuing influence by ex-government members. While no longer protected by a recalcitrant government – the Civil Service (and the greater populace) had not changed.
    Their influence extended to the end, the Civil Service continued tracking the Jews (that is what saved them from worse concentration camps), to the point that busses were sent to have the Jews returned from Theresienstadt at the end of the war. It was basic concern – and this…
    THIS also to be kept in mind: The context of the agricultural trade between Denmark and Germany established post-WWI, where the neutral Danes did not ostracise the Germans as did many other European nations in the post-war period (people were starving in Berlin and Danish friends of Einstein sent him food – including a personal visit by Niels Bohr and wife, well laden with food). Hence at the beginning of WW2, the established meat and butter etc imports were highly relied upon by Germany. So there was a reluctance there to upset the Danes too much.
    So we see many strands coming together. The idea that Adolph Eichmann saved the Danish Jews is a novel one-dimensional explanation, an explanation that explains nothing. Eichmann was a logistics man – and logistics included dependable food supplies – and Werner Best is far more difficult to pin down. Many of the German occupation forces liked to be in Denmark, rather there than most other places. So some did look the other way.
    The main lesson is this: What if other countries had taken a similar stance – would the holocaust have been more limited? Why did so many non-Germans so readily turn anti-Semitic when the Nazis were at their door. That simply did not happen in Denmark.
    So it is a complex story with many inter-locked strands. But the Danish populace were the real heroes, small and great, they liked “our Danish Jews”. Today, Danes understand this well themselves, as one woman who lived through it, said: “We saved ourselves by saving our Jews.”

    Comment by Hoeras — May 19, 2013 @ 10:21 am

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