Monday, April 25, 2016

First Paragraph

Toward the end of the conversation the acting prime minister raised the question of the Jews. He had come to confer with the aging king Christian X on the state of affairs in occupied Denmark. It was early September 1943, and the German advance into the Soviet Union seemed successful and unstoppable, the news going from bad to worse. The European continent was under totalitarian control, and the United States remained firmly neutral. Denmark insisted on its neutrality, too, but the country had been under German occupation since April 1940, and even if the firm Danish rejection of any Nazi representation in government was still holding up, the Germans were becoming more and more arrogant in their demands. Now Finance Minister Vilhelm Buhl, acting as head of government, sounded out the king on the delicate issue of the Danish Jews. Later the same day the king wrote down the main lines of the conversation in his private diary. According to the king, the finance minister expressed deep concern: "Considering the inhuman treatment of the Jews not only in Germany but also in other countries under German occupation, one could not help but worry that one day this request would also be presented to us. If so, we would have to reject it outright following their protection under the Constitution." 

- From Countrymen: How Denmark's Jews Escaped the Nazis by Bo Lidegaard

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