In Europe many Jewish congregations were left in ruins during the Second World War. Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Uncounted synagogues were destroyed and burned, cemeteries vandalized, Jewish homes and fortunes plundered, just as were Jewish-owned shops.
This did not happen in Denmark. Only the synagogue in Aalborg had been dynamited by the Nazis in revenge for an act of sabotage. This was unique in Europe. A nearly intact congregation could start up its life again.
Shortly after the return, the board of the Jewish Community decided to introduce a crisis fee over and above the ordinary membership fees. This was dropped in 1953.
The brass sign from the door that opened into the meeting room of the board of the Jewish Community in Ny Kongensgade 6, Copenhagen (The Dansih Jewish Museum).
In 1946, a Danish local section of the Women's International Zionistic Organisation was started, popularly known as WIZO. The organisation collected money for aid work in Israel for both Jewish and Arab women and children.
The board in 1947.
Photo: WIZO Danmark
The war experiences made many think through their relationship to Judaism, and a rise in the numbers of resignations resulted. This was not well received by Rabbi Marcus Melchior, who wrote an angry piece in Jødisk Samfund with the title I RESIGN!
"Since our return home from Sweden there have been, as everyone knows, quite a few resignations from the Jewish Community. (...) After the fall of the tyrant they deliver the blow to their old honourable community that Goebbels, Streicher and the like are legally prevented from striking. It is as sad as it is true, that those who leave the congregation (...) have no idea at all how contemptible their behaviour is, and how they have taken over the role of anti-Semitism."
Marcus Melchior in Jødisk Samfund, no. 2, 1946
Sports and summer camps were central among the activites for young people after the liberation. Skandinavisk Jødisk Ungdoms Forening (SJUF) [Scandinavian Jewish Youth Society] was established in 1919 to create connections between young Jews in Scandinavia. During the war SJUF's activities went on in Sweden, but as soon as 1946 SJUF held a summer camp in Denmark. Other activities for young people were the sports club Hakoah with proud traditions in wrestling as well as summer camps like those in Skibstrup.
Skibstrup camp 1947 (Foto: Dansk Jødisk Museum).
The museum shop´s sortiment of books, booklets, music and design offers you more ways to explore Danish Jewish culture.
- an exhibition about Jews in Denmark
The exhibition is a broad story of Jewish life in Denmark and focuses on co-exixstence and indentity through 400 years. Read more...
Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
Winter (September - May):
Tuesday-Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon - 5 pm