A new book published by The Danish Jewish Museum uncovers the human consequences of the world famous rescue of the Danish Jews from Nazi persecution during World War II. Author Sofie Lene Bak traces the price of survival and long term effects of the war based on her untiring research and interviews with survivors and their families.
In October 1943 Hitler ordered the mass arrest of Jews in Denmark. Thousands of Danish Jews fled to Sweden, hundreds were deported to concentration camps.
Based on new empirical material and more than one hundred interviews, the book now tells the story of what happened after October 1943: For the first time the long term consequences of escape, exile and deportation are portrayed. The wartime experiences of the Danish Jews did not end with the German capitulation in 1945. The war left deep impressions that persist to the present day.
The title of the book, Nothing to speak of, refers to an often repeated answer in testimonies from Danish Jews. By the end of the war six million European Jews had been killed during the Holocaust. Most Danish Jews had survived. What they had experienced during escape, exile and in concentration camps was to them - by comparison - ‘nothing to speak of’. Now for the first time the witnesses break their silence and speak openly about the consequences of the war. There certainly is something to speak of.
Bjarke Følner, curator of the museum, contributes to the book with an afterword about memorials and the post-war memory culture.
The book is the first result of the museum´s ongoing research and documentation project “Danish Jewish Wartime Experiences 1943-1945” with Sofie Lene Bak, Historian, PhD., as project manager. The museum plans a special exhibition based on the many collected materials.
Nothing to speak of. Wartime experiences of the Danish Jews 1943 - 1945 can be bought in the museum shop and is also available online from Museum Tusculanum Press: www.mtp.dk and from The University of Chicago Press: www.press.uchicago.edu.
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