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German aircraft fly over Copenhagen on April 9, 1940. This photograph was taken by a Danish Jew, who saw the planes from his apartment in the city centre (The Danish Jewish Museum).
German aircraft fly over Copenhagen on April 9, 1940. This photograph was taken by a Danish Jew, who saw the planes from his apartment in the city centre (The Danish Jewish Museum).
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Holocaust in Denmark

The occupation of Denmark on April 9, 1940, affected the Danish Jews with the same consternation and paralysis as it did all Danes. Even though the Jewish community had followed developments in Nazi Germany, the German attack on Denmark came as a shock.


Despite this, many accounts make it clear that everyday life soon resumed in the Jewish homes. Before sunrise on that April morning, when the Danish government issued a ceasefire barely two hours after the attack, the occupation of Denmark had become a reality.

Since the Danish government was willing to accept the illusion of a “peaceful occupation”, it could insist on the formal sovereignty of the kingdom. The government established a policy of cooperation with the German occupation, which created a sense of stability and peace of mind among the Danish Jews. The unaltered conditions for the Danish Jews are almost unbelievable when compared to those in the rest of occupied Europe.

It can be surprisingly difficult to explain to foreigners that conditions in Denmark differed from those in other countries under German occupation. A common misunderstanding is the impression that the Nazis pursued a uniform Jewish policy throughout Europe. The typical process progressed from a first phase of defining who was a Jew, followed by a demand for identification in personal documents or the demand that Jewish citizens display a yellow star visibly on their clothing, on to a second phase of confiscation and appropriation of Jewish property and restrictions on livelihood, to a third phase of transport and isolation in ghettos and transit camps. The fourth phase was final annihilation in the death and concentration camps.1 In Denmark, however, this process was never carried out.

Space and spaciousness

- 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...

Openings hours

Special opening hours
31. oktober 2013 - 31. maj 2014

Tuesday to Friday: 12 noon - 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm
Monday closed