Monday, June 13, 2011

The Danish Rescue of the Jews: Ebba Lund

Many Danes were content with the polite German occupation, but others were deeply offended and joined Resistance organizations. Some of these organizaions were involved with explosives, weapons, and acts of sabotage and assassination. Others, like the ones Ebba Lund and her sister, Ulla, joined, published illegal underground newspapers. By 1942, two years after the invasion, there were 48 different underground papers in Denmark (and by the end of the war there were 166). "Frit Danmark" (Free Denmark), the paper for which Ebba Lund worked, was the most popular of all Denmark's underground presses because of its lively writing style and its inclusion of many different political opinions, both liberal and conservative. By the end of the war, over six million copies of "Frit Danmark" had been published.

The debate over the necessity for illegal groups and newspapers ended with the publication of another paper, the public one that Ebba had just read. It stated that because of the rise of sabotage activities, the Danish government had lost its ability to maintain order and was being shut down.

The Danish government had resigned the day before the edict, on August 28, rather than cooperate with the Germans any longer. The Danes were finally united and not a moment too son; shortly afterward plans for a roundup of all Danish Jews became known. The Germans ran Denmark now, and nothing was going to stop them in their question to destroy all of Europe's Jews.

Nothing except the Danes. They quickly took action. Sweden had promised to accept any and all Danish Jews who could be brought there. All over Denmark, rescue plans were set in motion. Ebba joined the sabotage-oriented Resistance group Holger Danske (named for a legendary Danish hero), which was planning to work its rescue operation out of Copenhagen . . .

Excerpt from "Ebba Lund: The Girl with the Red Cap" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.

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