The Danish Solution: The Rescue of the Jews of Denmark

2003 ,    »  -   49 Comments
Ratings: 5.35/10 from 26 users.

The Danish Solution: The Rescue of the Jews of DenmarkFilmmakers Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjaerulff team to reveal how the Jews of Denmark managed to escape falling victim to Hitler's Third Reich.

With World War II raging throughout Europe, Hitler announced his intentions to impose his Final Solution on Denmark. Incredibly, the citizens of Denmark stood strong against the German tyrant at a time when most European nations were crumbling beneath his might.

As a result, the vast majority of Jews in Denmark were spared the grim fate of their brethren in other European countries such as Poland.

More great documentaries

49 Comments / User Reviews

    jonathon wisnoski
  1. jonathon wisnoski

    Wounds like it is worth a watch, I have seen many docs on WW2 but never heard or a country that not only allowed and ignored but sometimes turned on their Jewish neighbours even before the Nazis got there simply because they thought that they could get away with it.

  2. Jenny Meincke Lutzke
  3. Jenny Meincke Lutzke

    What?? I'm not sure of what you mean? It sounds like you think the Danish did something bad.. But I'm sure, or hoping, I'm reading it wrong??

  4. Brandon Schultz
  5. Brandon Schultz

    You're not the only one who can't decipher j. wisnoski's post, lady. Don't make no damn sense!

  6. Jo McKay
  7. Jo McKay

    Bravo to Denmark and Sweden, I grew up hearing about this 'smart' defiance of Nazi occupation *(2 of my uncles were liberators); it was good to hear some of the intimate stories of those who helped and those who were protected. "Courage is not the absence of Fear, it is mastery over it"

  8. EAC74
  9. EAC74

    I was a little concerned when I read Jonathan's post but then deciphered it. Simply, he is using the first line of his keyboard instead of the second in the two critical places that make his post read ambiguously.

    So here goes his post correctly:

    "Sounds like it is worth a watch, I have seen many docs on WW2 but never heard of a country that not only allowed and ignored but sometimes turned on their Jewish neighbours even before the Nazis got there simply because they thought that they could get away with it."

    I hope I am right and that this helps :-)


  10. Mr_Hall
  11. Mr_Hall

    WRONG! History would have you believe that the danes stood strongly against the tyrrany of Nazi Germany. Let me tell you, we did'nt. On april 9 1940 the German troops entered Denmark with little to no opposition. This was because many of the officers were given leave prior the attack, some believe that this was because the Danish government knew and had planned on this. Before our army could get organised for a defence of our borders, the order came to a complete standdown and total surrender.

    During the first 2 years of our occupation the danish prime minister at the time gave radio broadcast, inclining people to work for and cooperate with the german forces and any opposition against the German forces would be wiewed as an act of treason. In 1941 the cooperation with Nazi Germany took a new form. After operation Barbarossa the danish government decided they wanted a piece of the action. They gave orders to the internment of all Danish known communists, and none other than the danish police corps executed the order, most of them were never heard from again.

    In 1942 the danish government formed Frikorps Danmark, a corps with danish vollunteers for the SS over 12.000 vollunteerd but only around 7.000 got accepted, they were sent to the Eastfront in the summer of 1942.

    It wasn't until 1943 that it became claer the Danish government had "bet on the wrong horse" and decided to do a 180. before 1943 there were no real opposition against the Nazi occupation. The Jews were saved but only because they waited that long, had they decided to deport the jews before 1943 this documentary would never have been made. Does this sound like a nation that stood stronlgy against the tyrranny of Nazi rule? I think not.

  12. Guest
  13. Guest

    You are right, but his post still reads ambiguously, if he's talking about Denmark. I think what he really means is he has "never heard of a country that hasn't allowed and ignored and sometimes," etc.

  14. Jenny Meincke Lutzke
  15. Jenny Meincke Lutzke

    "sounds like it is worth a watch" tells me he has not seen the documentary yet, and therefore he maybe believes, that this is a documentary about rescuing jews from Denmark and not jews being rescued by danish/swedish people.

  16. norlavine
  17. norlavine

    The Danish Govt sat on the fence, but the Danish citizens went ahead and, in a relaxed manner, looked after their neighbors and fellow human beings like it was the normal thing to do, like it was no big deal. They just did it, because that's what you do when someone/anyone needs your help. True?

  18. CSNY
  19. CSNY

    It is not all that black and white Mr_Hall.

    The years leading up to the occupation. The Danish government wouldn't upgrade the army because they feared thet it would provoke the germans into a occupation. They did'nt dare to make a alliance pact with Great Britain because of the same reason. And G.B. were not interrested in such a deal anyway. Sweden and Norway were not interrested as well. The Danish government hoped that they could maintain theire neutrality like they did in the first war, with a small security force knowing that Germany could occupy Denmark no matter what. SO the question were. Should they rearm the army and get a lot of soldiers killed? Or should they maintain their neutrality as good as posible but in the case of a attack from Germany save as many soldiers as possible and spare the danish people from the horrors of war? Anyway, The day the attack came, april 9 1941 Denmark and Norway were occupied in less than 24 hours. I think the result spoke for itself.

    It's true that the danish police were sent out to arrest danish communists. But it was ordered by the Germans.

    The danish government did not form Frikorps Danmark. It was a part of the German elite force SS. Frikorps Danmark came from Division Wiking also an SS force. But it is true though, that the Danish government allowed this to happen - but, even if they were officially against it, it would have happened anyway. Don't you think.

    The day before the jews were to be arrested, the word got out (from the danish police) so the jews were actually warned.

    But it is true, and a shame, that after the war, the government were eager to tell everyone, that every danish citizens were against Germany all the time and tryied to make the resistance organizations appear bigger than they actually were. In numbers - i don't think that there were more than maximum a few thousand, it's probably under 1500 active saboteurs.

    There are several nuances to all this.

  20. Dan Batson
  21. Dan Batson

    There is an alternative historical theory that the Danes are descended from the biblical lost Tribe of Dan. The Mark of Dan - Dan Mark - Danemark - Denmark. Like the Mark of Cain etc. I believe Laurence Gardiner mentions it in one of his books. I'd be curious to know from any Danes whether or not they believe this theory holds any water and if in fact it had anything to do with their position regarding Jews during the war?

    I've certainly heard far stranger theories than this but perhaps it's true..

  22. sommerper
  23. sommerper

    I'm Danish and 35 years old, and we have certainly not been told/taught anything like this in school. Nor have I ever heard of this theory (although I would not dismiss it). The only thing I know of Laurence Gardner is his doc The Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, which I did find very interesting.

  24. Mr_Hall
  25. Mr_Hall

    Actually, there isn't. If what you say is true, then ask yourself, why the danish government still to this day, try to keep it a secret? I know of several danish authors who has been denied access to the official archives in attempt to try and uncover what really happened in the first 3 years of the war. It is true however, that the forming of Frikorps Danmark would have happened anyway, but the choice was to either have volunteers or drafted soldiers, though they obviously prefered the latter.

    The first Commander of Frikorps Danmark Leutentant Colonel C.P. Kryssing asked the king, his Majesty Kong Christian D. 10 if he could approve of the undertaking that was to be Frikorps Danmark and his reply was that was in the service of his country and the Royal house of Denmark. Needless to say, he later rejected having made such a respons, but it paints a very clear picture of the official opinion in Denamrk at the time, National Socialism; Good. Communism; Bad.
    -This looks very black and white to me i'm afraid...

  26. CSNY
  27. CSNY

    Well it seems like Bo Lidegaard got access. He is a well estimated historian, you should read his book "Kampen om Danmark 1933-1945" I am almost certain that it's all in his book. Or maybe read some of Han Kirchoff's books. Or Peter Øvig Knudsen.

  28. lyon
  29. lyon

    I think Danish Propaganda must pay very well. Danish Culture is all about rejecting everything and everybody that does not think like them which values are well expressed on the "Jante Law" and the current situation in Denmark is a tragedy with the rise of Dansk Folkparti and their attitude against foreigners. Denmark and the Scandinavians are the Nazis that survided untouched after these WW2... Hey WORLD, WAKE UP!!!

  30. Mr_Hall
  31. Mr_Hall

    @ CSNY

    Here are my points of references:
    Under Hagerkors og Dannebrog by Claus Bundgård Christensen, Niels Bo Poulsen and Peter Scharf.
    Frontsvin, Frostknuder, Forrædere by Erik Haaest
    Schalburg by Mikkel Kirkebæk

    So as you can see, I am fairly well-read on the subject, so your condescending book references won't work with me I'm afraid.

  32. CSNY
  33. CSNY

    Hey man. Take it easy. I'm sorry. I think you misunderstood why i put the authors and titles up. I can tell that you've got a great interrest in this. It was only ment as suggestions to you. I have read Under Hagekors... (most of it, still reading, I actually got it as a present from my grandfather last month) and i've also read Frontsvin by Erik Haaest - never read Frostknuder though. Schalburg is still on my "to read" list.

    I'm not attacking you Mr_Hall at all. I'm just saying that nothing is as black and white as we tend to make em'. And i believe that i got a lot of answers from the books that i have read

    I think that I have some links that you might find interresting BTW

  34. RileyRampant
  35. RileyRampant

    thanks to both CSNY and Mr Hall for their informed refinements to what appear to be rather overly-flattering inferences in the doc. however, there must have been some official acts of courage, since the Jews really were, in comparison to every other nearby country, nearly spared. This could not have been attributable merely to Nazi restraint, one would not think. For instance, the King's insistance on visting the Synagogue shows a certain moral courage.

    Given the many betrayals, it would be a shame to gloss over whatever truly distinctively morally courageous stances, public as well as private, were taken by those in Denmark and Sweden.

  36. Mr_Hall
  37. Mr_Hall

    I am not angry my friend. I would very much like to see your links and I am always interested in discussing history with other likeminded men who shares the same passion for the sometimes hidden and obscured history.

    Did I mention, that I even met a Frikorps Danmark veteran once? He told me his story from soldier to soldier.

  38. Mr_Hall
  39. Mr_Hall

    Not exactly a history major I see. Here's a tip for ya, free of charge! (please note; Irony) READ SOME HISTORY BOOKS!

  40. Bruce
  41. Bruce

    ...and what possible resistance could've prevented the Nazis from rolling over Denamrk? Striving for a clear national conscience in the form of military resistance against the Nazis would've meant the total destruction of the Danish state.....and as for the Waffen SS, they drew tens of thousands of troops from all over Europe - and most of these men were rght wing idealogues who saw Nazism as a real bastion against the spread of Bolshevism...and that was Hitlers raise like minded foreign fighters in an all out effort against Stalin..that so many ended up fighting on the Eastern front highlights this fact absolutely!

  42. Lord_Kral
  43. Lord_Kral

    This is how human beings should act. I lived in Norway for 6 years and have traveled a lot in Scandinavia. The people there are some of the most wonderful and humanistic in the world and I think their political and social outlooks show this. Everyone in the world should take a lesson from this.

  44. Michaell Svendsen
  45. Michaell Svendsen

    I have heard the theory before, that Dan came up through Finland down through Norway and Sweden and decided that Denmark or Danmark was the most beautiful of these areas and therefor should be the place they settled...

    I find it very unlikely though, since the Tribe of Dan were jews.. and the Vikings had many Gods... if the Vikings defended from the tribe of Dan, some remains or evidence would have been found. Also.. if I was to come up through Finland and that way.. i probably wouldn't settle for Denmark i would take sweden and norway and call it Danmark. But thats my theory o the matter

  46. Søren Pedersen
  47. Søren Pedersen

    About the theory about Dan. I am from Denmark and it don't seem very likely. For example does "Danmark" mean Dan's Land or something like that. Also his father Humble is meant to be burried on "Langeland" an Island in Denmark. So i don't think it's true.

  48. paulkatu
  49. paulkatu

    such a disgraceful bigot

  50. paulkatu
  51. paulkatu

    a bigot ignorant of historical facts

  52. paulkatu
  53. paulkatu

    a bigot ignorant of historical facts

  54. brian stoll
  55. brian stoll

    jews jews jews.. everywhere i turn.. this topic is so tired

  56. one, two, free...
  57. one, two, free...

    Hey Brian are u for real or are you just dead inside? Go watch Idol or whatever other garbage gets you going.

  58. brian stoll
  59. brian stoll

    LOL.. i never watch that crap.. but i sure am sick of holocaust doco's.. i think there's one for every jew that died

  60. Ware Darren
  61. Ware Darren

    An interesting documentary. As an (English) European I'd long understood that alone of all nations Denmark 'tipped off' their citizens when the Nazis ordered a round up. Indeed, to my national shame the British Police in the Channel Islands rounded all the citizens up on their list, (all who subsequently died in death camps). I've no doubt what happened in the Channel Islands would have happened on the mainland UK too if things had worked out differently. I note that Denmark is also one of the most 'non-religious' countries in the world. I have no doubt the triumph of 'Humanity' over 'Inhumanity' has its roots in such a heightened consciousness.

    I'm now trying to track a documentary down that I saw years ago about German citizens of African descent, (i.e. Black), who lived through the war (in Germany) only to encounter their very first experiences of colour prejudice from 'liberating' American GIs. It's such a shame that the history of 'Nazism' neglects the fact that the 'Rest of the World' often looked on/complied/or were, as individuals, mentally in the same place as those who felt they were somehow better than others. Factual history needs to be taught!... and I tip my hat to all those in Denmark who stood by their humanist morals in those very dark times. They deserve all our utmost respect.

  62. francuccio
  63. francuccio

    It's not about Jews. It's about people like you who can't see past their noses. You probably voted twice for George W. Nine-Eleven Bush. (Although even that fool probably had more compassion than the likes of you)
    Slaughtering people and their children because they belong to a certain congenital group is part of a mental disease of low intellect and insecurity.
    I am not a Jew but I AM to people like you!

  64. francuccio
  65. francuccio

    You mean humane.

  66. brian stoll
  67. brian stoll

    people are so touchy about this subject which is kind of why people get so sick of it... i didn't even say anything racist, merely that there are way too many holocaust documentaries.. it's like the constant whining in the background (feel guilty feel bad for us please we need you to feel we are victims)... i wonder what new spin will be on it for the next one to make it even more pathetic and heartwrenching... maybe a musical is in order.

  68. david1261954
  69. david1261954

    Mshappy dont worry be happy. Interesting to note that Stollen is a German fruitcake, laced with nuts and sprinkled with sugar. Aint he sweet. Remember those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  70. rotten_danes
  71. rotten_danes

    I think Brian Stoll must be a Dane... The current generation of Danes are mentally ill... Danes are the most etcnocentric nation I have ever lived in Europe... Neo-Nazism is spreading in Denmark... read The Copenhagen Post and you will realize that

  72. Brian Nelson
  73. Brian Nelson

    so many things to feel guilty about these days. It's become a sport.

  74. leanmv
  75. leanmv

    bla bla bla more propaganda...

  76. Sister of Night
  77. Sister of Night

    Danes are good

  78. Anna
  79. Anna

    You know, I am a Swedish Jew which thinks your such a Nazi.

  80. PlanetCharnBaby
  81. PlanetCharnBaby

    This makes me proud to be partly of Danish descent. They were the few that stood up to the Third Reich.

    And a note to the Nazis and wanna-be Nazis commenting here: I spent the first 13 years of my childhood in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Germany is a beautiful country inhabited by many wonderful, intelligent, sometimes kind, people, who were once, a long time ago, manipulated into believing that they could only rise out of their dismal circumstances by hurting other vulnerable people. When I lived in Germany, in the early 80's to mid 90's, it was considered forbidden to mention Hitler's name, because of the shame they felt he brought upon them. I don't know how things are in Germany now, but I would like to think that the majority of the German population looks down on
    people who are even today, trying to perpetuate the hate that they long ago realized was only self-destructive.

  82. guest
  83. guest

    ORLY? It's in Danish culture? Danish culture has been formed by several waves of foreign influence. You are just letting your prejudice run off with you. Right wingers was on the march in the 00's. Was that a specific danish or Scandinavian problem? NO. It happened all over Europe. So take your head out of your ass and maybe you'll actually learn something.

  84. Lyon
  85. Lyon

    I tink you should read STIEG LARSSON! SHALL I say more? SWEDEN is as equal NAZI as DENMARK. "Sverigedemokraterna" Do yuo know who they are? I guess if you are Swedish you know they are NEO-NAZI. So why are you trying do deny the NAZISM in SCANDINAVIA??????

  86. Gadvide
  87. Gadvide

    Most of the Danes who died during the war died fighting alongside the Germans than against them. I think there is a rose tinted spectacles situation going on here.

    In general a lot of people tend to be conditioned into not taking into account signs of a worsening situation, and acting upon it, unfortunately a lot of jews fell into that category.

    I guess in Denmark's case, there was a loyalty to the citizens, the Germans had invaded in 1940 and it was evident what they had done in other countries. British involvement with the Nazis and prior knowledge is still something that makes me wonder though.

    And as for today. Culturally Denmark is pretty shy towards most things non-danish, and although you can understand the small nation mentality (to protect it's identity, whatever that has been defined as) it can still be a pretty irritating. Especially with what seems to be a collectivsed attitude/thought...

  88. S de Vere
  89. S de Vere

    .....not only didn't Denmark fight the Nazis, they continued with business as usual supplying Germany with much-needed foodstuffs. Just as those other non-fighting neutrals, Sweden & Switzerland kept Germany supplied with war-making minerals.

  90. Alex
  91. Alex

    offcourse there is a small group who support that way of thinking, all countries have their crazies .. but to say that the nordic countris have more Nazis or rasicm in generrally is just ignorant, I know the UK have a lot more problems with ekstremist not to mention france and offcourse usa.. the truth is that the nordic countries are some of the least religious, racist or discriminating countries .. im not saying they are perfect but they are doing more than pretty good compaired to most crountries ..

  92. Lenny
  93. Lenny

    You're an anti-Semite. Period.

  94. martych
  95. martych

    you do realise 'brian stoll' that your comments say a whole lot more about you than anything else ?

  96. Lam Haselden
  97. Lam Haselden

    People critized Hitler for all of his wrong going. Does anybody ever have a question WHY Hitler did so and WHY many many people hate Jews so much. Jews become the symbol of " Greedy, Usery, Lie, manipulate, etc. " Every thing have their own reasons. I read somewhere, Mahatma Gandhi who was amongst the most non-violent person in the world had to say " Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. but the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife..." Or " Hitler didn't just come about out of the blue. The conduct of the Jews in Germany during and after World War I helped create the conditions for Hitler's rise."

Leave a comment / review: