Occupied Denmark: Humanitarian Actions

Figure 1.--Palle Daell, a wealthy Danish wholesaler wanted to help Finnish children escape the consequences of war. In 1942 he sent an invitation to Finland offering to host a 6-month stay in Denmark for 25 children from Oulu, where he had personal business contacts. It w essentially and extended summer camp experience. The children had a small lake where they could play and took trips to a neraby beach. Here they are getting haircuts in their camp. The man is alocal barber. The woman is one if two Danish handlers that came with the children.

Denmark is amall country with limited capabilities and virtually no military. The country did its best to remain neutral, as it had in World War I. After the Soviet Union invaded Finland (November 1939), Denmark took in a number of Finnish child evacuees. Most went to Sweden, but the Danish and Norwegians took in a few as well. This could ve done without compromising the neutral status adopted by the Scandinavians. The situation in Denmark chabge radiclly with the NAZI invasion and ensuing occupation. Caring for Finnish evacuee children was still posible although the Finns primarily focused on the Sweeds. We note a Danish businessmen who set up a smll summer camp for a group of Funnish children, many malnourished some sick. This could occur because when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union (June 194), Finlabd became a co-beligerant, thus there was no German opposition to aiding Finish evacuee children. In addition to aiding Finnish evacuees, the Danes carried out one of the great coups of the war. The Germans after killing bmuch of the Jewish population of Poland and the western Soviet Union, finlly turne to Denmrk's smll Jewish community which had been left largely untouchd. Right under the German's noses, the country at great personal danger to the many rescuers saved almost their entire Jewish population, getting them safely to Sweden. It was an action without presedent in the tragic history of the Holocaust.

Finnish Evacuee Children

We do bot havemuch information on evacuees placed in Denmark yet. Other than Sweden, Denmark was the Scandinvian country lest affected by the War. Although occupied by the Germans, there were no battles in Denmark. And except for a few pro-NAZI Fascists, the Danes did not have to fight the War. Thus conditions were bettervinDenmark including the avilability of food than in Finland and Norway. We have found a report about a private summer camp for Finnish children. Palle Daell, a wealthy Danish wholesaler wanted helping the Finnish children escape the consequences of war. In 1942 he sent an invitation to Finland Palle Daell, a wealthy Danish wholesaler wanted helping the Finnish children escape the consequences of war. In 1942 he sent an invitation to Finland that he gladly accepted and paid for a 6-month stay in Denmark for 25 children from Oulu, where he had personal business contacts. As a result, 25 children, 13 boys and 12 girls from the city, traveled to Denmark with three young women. The kids were aged 4-11 years. They came from families of war widows or where the father was at the front. The journey by train started on March 23, 1942. When the children and their escorts arrived in Elsinore on March 26 they were welcomed by Palle Daell with his family and a small 'reception committee' and a few journalists. The children stayed a few kilometers from Elsinore, where previously there had been a nursing home. Upon arrival a few children were ill, everyone was pale and undernourished, but with little medicine and a good diet they quickly recovered their health. The daily routine started in the morning with washing, dressing and cleaning the rooms. Then came a good breakfast, a moment of teaching, and then a lot of play and outdoor activities. For school the children were divided into three groups. They were tught in Finnish. From a Montessori school there was help for the youngeer children, including games and activity training. On many hot summer days the children could stay all day swimming and playing by an adjacent small lake. Some enterprising boys built simple wooden boats and paddled around the lake. The host family had provided the children with summer clothes. For the trip home in October, the children also were given a complete set of winter clothes. The trip went by train went throughout Sweden.

Saving Danish Jews

The continuation of constitutional government in NAZI-occupied Denmark, meant that the Danes retained control of the police. And to the emense frustration to the Germans, the Danish Government not only refused to cooperate, but adamently refused to order actions against Jews impleted everywhere else in NAZI-occupied Europe. This was not how Hutlkerc expected conquered people to behave. The NAZIs, after seizing control of the Government (August 1943) finally were in a position to round up Danish Jews. The NAZI occupation authoritiers planned a nation-wide round up all Danish Jews and to then send them to the nearby, fully operational death camps in Poland. The Danish people courageously came to the aid of their Jews. Advanced warning of the roundup was leaked to the underground. Thousands of Danes stepped up to hide Jews and help them escape to nearby Sweden. Before World War II there were 8,000 Jews in Denmark. They could have been dispatched in 1-2 days at Auschwitz-Birnenau if the SS could just get their hands on them. Miraculously 7,500 of them successfully managed to get to Sweden with the assistance of their non-Jewish countrymen (October 1943). The NAZIs only manage to capture a few. It was one of the few successful efforts to save Jews in NAZI-occupied Europe. It was only possiblle, however, because Sweden was so near and by this point in the War, the Swedes no longer had to fear a German invasion. The Danes not only got the Jews to Sweden, but looked after their homes and other property until liberation and they were able to return.


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Created: 12:20 AM 2/27/2016
Last updated: 12:20 AM 2/27/2016