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Remembering the Holocaust: What We Can Learn from Denmark

There is a famous legend that during World War II the Danish monarch, King Christian X, boldly stood up to his Nazi occupiers by refusing to give in to the demands of the Führer and force the Jews of Denmark to wear the degrading yellow Star-of-David patches to clearly identify and distinguish them from the rest of the nation. The story goes that the King emerged from his quarters the following morning wearing the yellow patch himself, causing a domino effect that saw the rest of the Gentile population of Denmark follow suit and wear the yellow patches as a sign of solidarity with their Jewish neighbors and friends. While this is an inspiring legend, one will be hard-pressed to find evidence that this event actually took place. The fact of the matter regarding the Danish response to Hitler’s attempt on the lives of the Jews within their borders is much more bold, much more inspiring, and proved to achieve much more than a mere protest of solidarity. The Danish response saved the lives of nearly 95 percent of the Jewish population in Denmark from certain capture and death at the hands of the Nazi regime. That percentage was unparalleled in any other occupied nation during the war. Such an act of selfless humanity by an entire nation during a time of such great depravity is deserving of a closer examination of the events that took place.