Danish Holocaust Distortion

Danish historian Bo Lidegaard is busy advertising his new book, which will be published in no less than five languages in the fall.

The monologue of Bo Lidegaard on this YouTube video is a sales promotion for the strange historical perception adapted by some Danish historians in later years, who among other things believe that Nazi Collaboration of the Danish authorities was the main reason for the rescue of most of the Danish Jews to Sweden in 1943. This argument is usually rather lacking in reasonable documentation.

I have written a response to Bo Lidegaard, which can be read and downloaded here :

 

The Jews who were deported from Denmark 1940-43

A consequense of the WW II Collaboration Policy in Denmark

A comment by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, Ph.D.

As a reader of most of Bo Lidegaard´s books during the past 10 years, wherein he has used every opportunity to praise the collaboration policy (Samarbejdspolitikken) in Denmark during WWII, I have never seen any mention of the Jewish refugees, among them children, whom the Danish authorities expelled to Nazi-Germany from 1940 to 1943.

The crimes againt Jews and other stateless individuals, were among the "highlights" of the Danish collaboration policy, which Lidegaard on the contrary argues rescued Danish Jews in 1943. He is quite wrong. The Danish authorities were from 1940-43, the haydays of the collaboration, in most cases far more eager to get rid of Jews to Germany than the Nazi-autorities were to receive them. Anti-Semitism was not any less the order of the day in Denmark than it was elsewhere in Europe.

In 2005, the results of my many years of research into the fate of stateless Jews in Denmark were published. When my book, Medaljens Bagside (The Other Side of the Coin), was released, the Danish Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, presently the General Director of NATO, presented an apology to the few surviving relatives of the expelled Jews from Denmark, most of whom were killed in camps in Germany and Poland.

platz2

Ernst Platzko, a businessman from London/Vienna, was expelled from Denmark in 1940 and killed in Sachsenhausen in 1942.

Fogh Rasmussen also presented a general apology to the Jewish People for the crimes of Nazi-collaborating Danish officials during WWII. However, in 2004 and 2005 Bo Lidegaard and likeminded scholars were busy bashing Fogh Rasmussen for his public critical stand on the collaboration of Danish Politicians and Political Parities with the Nazis during WW II. 

Danish food exports, another "highlight" of the collaboration during WWII, helped feed the Wehrmacht on the frontlines and those who engaged in the killing the Jews of Europe. The Danish Collaboration did in fact not rescue any Danish Jews. If anything, it aided  the killing of Jews in Europe.

Carol Janeway, of the Alfred E. Knopf Publishers, the publishing house which holds the rights to Dr. Lidegaard´s book outside Denmark, has in the Danish daily Politiken (which Bo Ledegaard is the editor in Chief of) stated that:

"She believes that if one in France and the Netherlands had manoeuvred oneself half as well through the war as did the Danes, WW II had not been quite so bleak"

(http://politiken.dk/kultur/ECE1959244/historie-om-danske-joeder-gaar-verden-rundt/).

This actually sounds like the well known mantra of a loud-shouting group of Danish historians, who want to make the world believe that Danish political collaboration with the Nazis was something that all Danes wanted, and that the collaborating politicians were heroes who rescued Jews. We must bear in mind that Carol Janeway also promoted another revision of history: The memoirs of the Swiss citizen Bruno Grosjean, who hoaxed his childhood memories and created an alter ego, Binjamin Wilkomirski, to fool the world into believing he was a child survivor of the Vilno Ghetto and Auschwitz. Her judgement on European WWII history is far from sound. The children in the ghetto in Vilno were killed with calories from Danish bacon and with collaboration of Lithuanians who were eager to help annihilating their fellow citizens if they were Jews.

A57 B 67

A: Szymon Zajtmann, a Polish born merchant from Hamburg, expelled from Denmark in 1941. Killed by gassing in Bernburg euthanasia asylum in Bernburg. B: Dr. Stefan Glücksman, a historian from Warsaw, was expelled from Denmark in 1941 and killed in the SS-camp of Gross-Rosen.

Now, according to Lidegaard and his American publishers, we are supposed to believe that the Danes, as the only nation in Europe, found some kind of a special cure, a unique response to the Holocaust, by collaborating and being nice to the Nazi occupants.

This new whitewashing of Danish Nazi collaboration can easily be viewed in parallel to the trend we are witnessing in other parts of Europe. In the Baltic states, praising of the local politicians and perpetrators, who collaborated with the Nazis, is seen as a virtue because the murderers of Jews also represent the fight against Communism and the Soviet oppression. In the Baltic, where anti-Semitism is persistent, the distortion of history equalizes the Holocaust with the Soviet terror and the fate of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians under Soviet Rule.

The Danes were lucky compared to the Baltic States. There was only one invader and one occupant, and according to Lidegaard the ultimate luck was that resistance was limited and collaboration was great. However, Lidegaard forgets in his self righteous monologue, to tell us that Danish Nazi collaboration and exports helped the killing machine of the Third Reich to prolong the murder of millions of people in Europe. And Carol Janeway seems unable to see that if other and more important countries under siege had behaved like Denmark, the outcome might very well have been a permanent Third Reich in reality.

22

A Danish State Prosecutor and perpetrator, Harald Petersen, Minister of Defence after WWII, was one of many leading officials who was engaged in the collaboration policy of expelling stateless Jews from Denmark 1940-43. After the war nearly all of the white collar criminals, anti-Semites and xenophobes of the The Ministry of Justice, the State Police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who engaged in the expulsion of Jews and other stateless persons from Denmark during WWII achieved fine careers, up to the highest offices of the state. No one asked questions about their crimes, which the modern authorities tried to hide as late as 2001.

47

German Political refugees being deported to Germany by the Danish authorities and Danish Police in 1941. Many of these men, who were imprisoned in the Danish Horserřd internment camp north of Copenhagen lost their lives in concentration camps. Jewish prisoners in Horserřd in 1941 were spared deportation and hard Danish effort to get rid of them, only because the German authorities did not wish to receive them.

122

Danish Police officials frolicking with German Gestapo officers at a Copenhagen hotel.

120

A Danish policeman (in the middle) of the Immigration Police fraternising with Nazi spies in 1936. The German on the left was sentenced to death for war crimes in Norway, while the Gestapo-officer on the right, Hans Hermannsen of Flensburg, who was an officer of the Sicherheitsdienst in Denmark during the German Occupation made Danish authorities' wishes for expulsion of unwanted individuals possible. After the war he worked for the Danish Police Intelligence Service as well as for American forces in Hamburg.

3132

Schulim and Ruth Fanni Niedrig, a young couple which the Danish authorities expelled to Germany in 1940. In 1943 Ruth Fanni was bitten to death in Auschwitz by dogs. Schulim, who was actually born in the town of Oswiecim, managed to survive in Auschwitz, being one of few survivors from Danish expulsions of Jews from Denmark 1940-43.

I love you
 
33b

The envelope of a romantic love letter from Schulim to Ruth Fanni, when they were imprisoned before their deportation to Germany in July 1940. Schulim added a heart and wrote "I love you". The official censorship added all the writing in red and blue pencil: "because letters with such contents will not be delivered to his wife". Ruth Fanni never received the letter.

II

Lidegaard presents us with a narrative of a Jewish mother, written in past-tense (which indicates that it was written after the war), and a list of things for her children to bring with them to Sweden. But we must not forget another Jewish mother in Denmark: Brandla Wassermann.

Brandla Wassermann managed to flee from Berlin with her three young children to Copenhagen in late October 1942. She was a slave labourer in a Berlin factory called Fermeta. She and her three children were helped and accompanied to Copenhagen by a Danish citizen, who did it out of the good of his heart - one of the real Danish heroes. When in Copenhagen she was helped by other ordinary Danes, but a Danish policeman, a fervent Nazi, who received her at the Central Police Station, sent her back with the consent of higher officials and a government minister. Within a month her children, Ursula (7), Jacky Siegfried (5) and Denny (2) had been gassed in Auschwitz.

88

Jacky Siegfried Wasserman didn´t find his safe haven in Denmark - and didn´t make it to Sweden in 1943.

Brandla was executed by an injection of phenol into the heart in Auschwitz on 15 December 1942. The only list which we have, instead of a list of items for her children to bring with them to Sweden, is the list by the Berlin authorities, of the few belongings in Brandla Wassermann´s appartment in Keipelstrasse 41 which were expropriated to compensate for the rent she didn't pay when she was in Copenhagen.

Thanks to the Collaboration Policy, and to Bo Lidegaard for not telling us the story of Brandla Wassermann and her three children which didn´t fit his glorification of Danish Nazi Collaboration!

Not all Danes, as Lidegaard would like you to believe, collaborated with the Nazis. Brave, ordinary Danes helped rescue Jews to Sweden, while the Danish Government collaborated and participated in the destruction of Jews.  

III

The Danish daily Politiken, which Bo Lidegaard is the Editor-in-Chief of today, was publishing all through the Nazi occupation of Denmark. The daily and most of its journalists followed the safe and golden rule of Danish Nazi collaboration.

On 7 September 1941 Politiken brought a news release from Danish news agency Ritzau, which originated from the German News agency DNB (Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro), where the introduction of the legislation for the yellow star in Germany was announced. The legislation was introduced on the 1st of September 1941 and was active for certain parts in the Reich from the 19th of September 1941 - but not in occupied Denmark. Despite the irrelevance for Denmark, the Danish daily Politiken announced the introduction of the yellow star to brand Jews 10 days before the decree was active in the state of the occupants.

Moreover, the journalist at Politiken added his private view to the news release, which didn´t originate from the original decree and which certainly doesn´t harmonize with the Danish "Countryman" ideal now being promoted by Lidegaard: "From what one has learned  in connection with this decree, it has been caused by certain experiences, which made it appear desirable to make the Jews easily recognizable for anyone in public". 

On 30 March 1940, 10 days before the Nazis occupied Denmark, the Danish government passed a law making it criminal to hide a Jewish refugee in private homes. One of the "key player" of the collaboration with the Nazis and thus one of the people behind the rescue of the Danish Jews according to Lidegaard was the initiator for that legislation. That politician was social-democrat Hans Hedtoft-Hansen who after WW II became the Prime minister in Denmark (1947). Hedtoft-Hansen argued in the Danish parliament in 1940:

"The change in § 3 for punishments for those who help to keep foreigners hidden from the police, may sound harsh, but anyone who considers the condition that we today have in this country must recognize its necessity. Where the right of asylum for political emigrants are recognized in such an extent that is the case in Denmark, there is no occasion for real political emigrants to keep hiding and not at the Danish fellow citizens to contribute to this."

132
Sentenced for hiding a Jew, the father of her son. Margrét Vigdís Árnadóttir and Thor Daiel Schlesinger. Photo from Medaljens Bagside.

 

Margrét Vigdís Árnadóttir, The Icelandic mother of Thor Daniel Schlesinger received a sentence based on this legal "reform". She received a sentence of 60 days in prison, which was altered to 5 year suspended sentence. Her crime was to hide the father of her son, Fritz Schlesinger, a German Jew. Fritz Schlesinger was killed in Auschwitz in 1943 after he was expelled and deported to Germany - by the Danish authorities. Thor Daniel Schlesinger died of cancer in Iceland at the age of nine, and one of Lidegaard's heroes, Hans Hedtoft-Hansen, became the prime minister of Denmark, now praised as one of the great Danish collaborationists who according to Lidegaard made the rescue of the Jews in Denmark possible.


IV

Bo Lidegaard´s argument that the Danish Jews were jolly good "Countrymen" and equals of the Danes is a modern myth in the making. If the Jews were perceived as Countrymen, why were Danish born Jews, who had settled and married i Germany not helped, when they and their Danish families desperately sought permission to return to their families in Denmark?  In their cases one never sees the term Countryman in use. All af the Danish Jews, who in 1938-1940 couldn´t return home to their native Denmark, were all killed in the Shoah.

 

20  
In 1939 Emilie and Richard Eichwald were living in Hamburg. They had rescued their three sons to England, whereto they sent this photograph of themselves. Emilie and her sister Selly (nee Levinsky) were both born into a family of furriers in Copenhagen. They were not "Countrymen, when they were in need. The sisters were deported to Minsk in Belorus where their traces vanish.
 
In 1945 many Danish Jews were in fact applying for Alyiah, emigration to Israel, partly due to the negative attitude to the Jews and Israel in Denmark. One of the applicants was a young man, Bent Melchior, an 8th generation descendent of a Danish Jewish family. Bent Melchior later became the chief Rabbi of Denmark. In 1947 his father, Rabbi Marcus Melchior, tried to get the Danish authorities to allow the Jews on the Jewish Agency ship Exodus with 4500 Jewish refugees on board, who were denied passage to Palestine by the British, to go ashore in Denmark. The Danish authorities were totally negative to the request and referred to the fact that there were already 85.000 "displaced" Germans in Denmark. Instead the "passengers" of Exodus were placed for a while in two prisoner camps near Lübeck in Germany.

Register

Bent Melchior´s application to make Aliyah in 1946. From Medaljens Bagside (2005).

At the same time stateless Jews, who had fled from Denmark to Sweden in 1943 were ordered by the Danish authorities to leave Denmark with a very short notice. Even a Jewish survivor who was expelled to Germany in 1942, and who made it back to Denmark in 1945, was imprisoned so he couldn´t tell his story. It wasn't told until 2005, because the Danish authorities for many year prevented historians who researched the fates of Jewish victims in Denmark in researching all relevant aspects of WWII in Denmark. At the same time Danish neo-Nazis bogus researcher got unlimited access to archives on Danish SS-volunteers, which the neo-Nazis removed systematically in large quantities from the National Archive in Copenhagen to sell to fellow fanatics. 

After WWII the relatives of Jews who had been expelled from Denmark 1940-43 received incorrect information about their relatives' expulsions from Denmark. Some received the information that their family members, who had been killed in Germany and Poland, had of their own free will moved to Germany during the war. 

That was the country in which the Jews were Countrymen. Who is Bo Lidegaard trying to fool?

V

The story about the flight of the Jews from Denmark in 1943, which Dr. Lidegaard is publishing in the USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands is different in details from the story he has published in the Danish version of his book. In the first section of the Danish version of his book, Countrymen (Landsmćnd), Lidegaard presents misinformation about the expulsions of stateless Jewish refugees from Denmark from 1940 to 1943. Lidegaard writes, and refers incorrectly to my book Medaljens Bagside [The other side of the coin] that the Germans demanded those expulsion. That is entirely wrong. 

After this statement in the Danish volume of Countrymen, one can read footnote 12, where Lidegaard starts by referring to a WWII "When, What and Who" that was published in 2002, which provides absolutely no information on the expulsions of Jews. My book on the subject was published in 2005. In Fact, none of the Jews, who were expelled from Denmark 1940-43, were expelled on the orders, demands or wishes of the German occupants. The crime was committed by Danish officials, eager to please the Nazis, as well as some of the Danish collaborationists politicians, who Lidegaard has turned into the rescuers and beneficiaries of Jews.

Worse still is when Lidegaard in the German version of his book has completely removes the mention of the Danish expulsions of refugee Jews from 1940 to 1943. Footnote 12 is also missing. In the English version he wrongly argues that the Nazi occupants demanded the expulsion of the Jews. Is the book beeing promoted for different taste in different countries? 

The purpose of the many foreign language versions of his book and the deliberate selection of the sources is now becoming clearer to me. Dr. Lidegaard has published a white-wash of the Danish WWII record for the Danish Foreign Ministry, a purification of the Danish WWII record. He propagates that the entire Danish society was helping Jews. His reason to blame the German occupants for the expulsion of Jews from Denmark from 1940 to 1943 in the Danish version of his book, and the reason why he e.g. doesn´t mention in the foreign language versions that 40.000 Danish men (1% of the population) volunteered to join the Waffen-SS is evident. That and much more does not fit the Danish WWII ideal society he is trying so hard to create. Dr. Lidegaard uses available sources very selectively. He presents horrible events like the Danish expulsions of Jews and other refugees to his Danish readers in a wrong an inappropriate frame, while he totally removes that saddest event of Danish Jewish history from his English speaking spectators - who might of course discover that something regarding the authenticity of the picture Lidegaard is trying to paint is all wrong.

Such are the working ethics of one of the leading historians of Denmark. Lidegaard begins his book with a quote from William Shakespeare´s Julius Caesar:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him

the evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones; ... 

*

There is obviously still something rotten in the State of Denmark.


Further reading

Medaljens Bagside published by Vandkunsten Publishers (http://www.forlagetvandkunsten.dk/93655/SOLD OUT

Rescue, Expulsion, and Collaboration: Denmark´s Difficulties with its World War II Past (http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-vilhjalmsson-f06.htm)

The stand of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

The King and the Star:

"The King and the Star" I Bastholm Jensen, Mette & Jensen, Steven B. (Ed) Denmark and the Holocaust. Institute for International Studies, Department for Holocaust and Genocide Studies 2003, 102-117.  

"Christian X og jřderne: Hovedrolleindehavere i dansk krigspropaganda". Rambam 19, 2010, 68-85. English Summary. 

KingStar

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