70th Anniversary of the rescue of Danish Jews

The U.S. embassies in Stockholm and Copenhagen join the Swedish and Danish people in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the rescue of Danish Jews.  U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski said, “As highlighted by President Obama during his recent visit to Stockholm, this is an important day for us all to remember the importance of not being indifferent and the courage of those who helped in this remarkable humanitarian effort.”

At a ceremony honoring Raoul Wallenberg at Stockholm’s Great Synagogue on September 4, President Obama stated “… because he refused to stand by, Wallenberg reminds us of our power when we choose, not simply to bear witness, but also to act — the tens of thousands he saved from the camps; the estimated 100,000 Jews of Budapest who survived the war, in no small measure because of this man and those like Gabriella who risked their lives as well.  It also calls to mind the compassion of Swedes who helped rescue so many Jews from Denmark 70 years ago this year.”

In commemoration of the rescue of the Danish Jews, the Öresund Bridge linking Copenhagen and Malmö will be lit up by 700 lanterns on October 1.  Lights will focus on the man-made island of Peberholm in the middle of the Öresund straight and along the bridge itself, symbolizing that October 1943 was a light in the darkness.

Commenting on the 70th anniversary, Ambassador Brzezinski said, “I welcome the lighting of the Öresund Bridge, which will be a powerful symbolic recognition of the importance of not being indifferent. President Obama highlighted this heroic rescue effort when he visited the Great Synagogue of Stockholm on September 4, where he met with family, colleagues and people rescued by Raoul Wallenberg – a person who refused to stand by and do nothing.”

The Danish Jews fled to Sweden by boat after they had received information of a pending deportation to the Nazi concentration camps. The rescue effort was an active grass-root action by Swedish and Danish society.  Swedish Prime Minister Per-Albin Hansson ordered that Sweden should receive the Danish Jews allowing approximately 7,800 Jews to be evacuated to Sweden with the help of the Danish resistance movement and a large number of Danish and Swedish fishermen.

The remarks by President Obama at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm September 4, 2013: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/04/remarks-president-obama-statement-press-stockholm-sweden