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How ethnic integration helped save Denmark's Jews during World War II

How ethnic integration helped save Denmark's Jews during World War II
Visitors walk through the Jewish Museum in Copenhagen in 2004. (John McConnico / Associated Press)

To the editor: I’ve always been intrigued by the inspiring story of how the Danish people, with the help of one German bureaucrat and the Swedes, saved almost all their Jewish countrymen. Why were they so successful when other European lovers of freedom (France and the Netherlands, to name two countries) were not? I especially loved the story of the Danish king wearing the Star of David, even though I knew it was a myth, as it captured the Danish spirit of heroism and charity.

Several years ago I traveled to Copenhagen and couldn’t wait to visit the Danish Jewish Museum to find some answers to my questions. What I learned was this: The Danes were a very integrated society, so before World War II the Jews were their neighbors, friends and relatives. When they saved the Jews, they were defending their people.

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And Georg Duckwitz, the “halfhearted Nazi,” reminds us that one person has great power to save many lives even when confronted by great evil. His descendants and the Danish and Swedish people will forever be proud of their miracle.

Linda Mele Johnson, Long Beach

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To the editor: Many thanks for the amazing op-ed article by Richard Hurowitz on the the rescue of the Danish Jews during the Nazi occupation of their country.

It is the only time in recent memory that I have read anything so uplifting and completely devoid of the rancor that often appears on the Los Angeles Times’ op-ed page.

Carl Rosenfeld, Indio

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