Authors

Object ID

2020.1.7a-d

Object Name

Postcard

Date

1939

Files

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Description

a: Postcard with purple printed text and Danish stamps at top. Another stamp reads "Palestine. Passed by Censor." Address and message written in black ink. Message continues on opposite side.

b: Postcard with purple printed text and stamps. Stamp at bottom right designates letter has passed through censor. Message is handwritten in black ink and continues on opposite side.

c: Postcard with printed purple text as well as purple and blue stamps at top and two black ink stamps. Address handwritten in black ink. Typewritten message on opposite side.

d: Postcard with printed purple text as well as blue, black, and purple stamps and two black ink stamps. Purple stamp at bottom right indicates postcard has passed through censor. Address and message handwritten in black ink. Handwritten message continues on opposite side.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:

Postcards from Copenhagen, Denmark from W. Reichert to family member Dr. E. Reichert living in Tel Aviv. All messages are in Hebrew. Mr. Reichert discusses the family in Poland; contact with the Red Cross in Sweden; attempts to get ALIYAH certificates; reports on relatives who escaped to Lwow; use of a Christian Polish maid who was free to travel in occupied Poland; aid parcels sent; and more. All cards with Palestine censor hand stamp. Interestingly, Mr. Reichert in Copenhagen writes that: “There is no fear of Nazi invasion, since Denmark is just like Sweden…” In just a few months, on April 9, 1940, the Germans invaded Denmark.

Ironically, Mr. Reichert was not entirely incorrect. After the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940, the Danish government was granted some autonomy in running domestic affairs. The Nazis were reluctant to make a major issue of the “Jewish Question” at that time, in great part because they saw the Danes as fellow “Aryans”, as Mr. Reichert naively supposed. Thus, the standard measures reproduced in occupied countries to humiliate and subjugate Jews did not occur in Denmark; e.g., Jews having to wear the Star of David as a means of identification and humiliation. Nor did they have to register property and other assets, give up their homes and businesses, etc. Denmark’s Jewish community was even able to go to synagogue and hold services. More remarkably, King Christian was outspoken in his support of a Jewish community integrated into Danish society and consequently opposed their persecution.

In 1943, however, the Nazi military government of Denmark declared martial law, a state of emergency was declared, and citizen arrests occurred. Danish military and police were taken over by the Nazi authorities. Hitler approved a proposal to commence deportation of the Danish Jews. Ferdinand Duckwith, a German naval attache and member of the Nazi party warned non-Jewish Danes of the planned deportations. The response was as swift as it was remarkable, and involved the combined efforts of Jewish community leaders, the Danish underground, Danish authorities and citizens: doctors, blue collar workers, priests, policemen and others worked to protect their fellow Danish citizens. On October 1, 1943 operations occurred to move the Jewish population of Denmark in fishing boats, ferries, rowboats and kayaks to Sweden. Danish boats ultimately ferried some 7,300 Jews across the waterway to neutral Sweden. As a consequence of this remarkable rescue operation to save Denmark’s Jews, 99 percent of Danish Jews were saved from persecution and certain death. Only 470 Jews were seized by the Nazis – most of whom were not Danish citizens- and deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Only 120 Danish Jews died during the Holocaust.

Dimensions

3 5/8 x 5 1/2"

Keywords

Denmark, King Christian, Ferdinand Duckwith

Subcollection

Rescue

Postcards from Copenhagen, Denmark to Tel Aviv on the Eve of German Occupation

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