- copenhagen ). The 19th century was a period of cultural, social, and economic progress for Danish Jewry, though there was a spate of anti-Jewish polemics between 1813 and 1819. Jews received Danish citizenship in 1814, and the last restrictive legislation was abolished in 1849 by the Danish constitution. While at the beginning of the 19th century the majority of Danish Jews were in poor circumstances, by about 1900 they mostly belonged to the middle and upper classes. The Jewish population increased steadily until, in the middle of the 19th century, there were about 4,200 Jews living in Denmark. The number subsequently declined to 3,500 in 1901 owing to intermarriage and a low birth rate. After the kishinev pogrom of 1903 a number of refugees from Eastern Europe entered Denmark, some in transit for the United States via Bremen and Hamburg. About 200 who arrived in 1904–05 obtained permanent residence, and their number subsequently increased to approximately 2,000. After some difficulties in social and cultural adjustment they gradually integrated into the old established Danish-Jewish society. The total Jewish population with the new immigrants numbered 6,000 in 1921 and has remained substantially the same. On a footing of equality with their countrymen, the Jews in Denmark have been able to contribute to the development of their country in every sphere, and many have achieved international renown. They include the sculptor Kurt Harald Isenstein (see art ), the literary critic georg brandes , the botanist Nathanael wallich , the physicians and scientists ludvig levin jacobson , adolph hannover , and carl julius salomonsen . Joseph Michaelsen, who served as postmaster-general, is considered the originator of the Universal Postal Union. Among outstanding politicians and high-ranking state officials were the minister of finance edvard brandes , Herman Trier (1845–1925), a member of parliament and of Copenhagen municipal council, Moritz Levy (1824–1892), and Marcus Rubin (1845–1923), directors of the Danish National Bank, and Georg Cohn, who served as state adviser on international law. In the cultural sphere, contributions were made by the poets meir aaron goldschmidt , henrik hertz , henri nathansen , louis levy , and poul levin ; the painters and sculptors Ernst Meyer, joel ballin , Albert Gottschalk (1860–1906), and Theodor Philipsen (1840–1920); and the composers Fini Henriques (1867–1940), and Victor Bendix (1851–1926). Valuable contributions to science and learning in Denmark were made by the psychologist Edgar Rubin and the physicist niels bohr . Until the end of the 18th century the Jewish community remained strictly Orthodox. Influenced by the emancipation movement in Germany, however, a reform party was formed in Denmark by mendel levin nathanson who initiated several changes in the administration and educational system of the Jewish community of Copenhagen. The Danish Reform movement occasioned a schism within the Jewish community which was aggravated when Nathanson tried with the aid of isaac noah mannheimer , a young Danish Jewish theologian, to introduce a Reform service in Copenhagen. When abraham alexander wolff took office as chief rabbi (1829) he succeeded to some extent in reconciling the Orthodox and Reform parties. He was succeeded by david simonsen , the first native-born rabbi in Denmark; after ten years of office he retired to devote himself to Jewish studies and worldwide philanthropic activity. The Mahzike Hadas association was founded in connection with the retirement in 1910 of the strictly Orthodox chief rabbi Tobias Lewenstein. The succeeding chief rabbis were Max Schornstein and Moses Friediger, who was deported to Theresienstadt in 1943 but survived to return to Denmark, where he died in 1947. He was succeeded by marcus melchior and in 1969 by his son Bent Melchior (1929– ). The Zionist movement was introduced into Denmark in 1902 with the establishment of the Dansk Zionistforening. The World Zionist Congress headquarters moved to and operated from Copenhagen for the duration of the World War I period. Between 1933 and 1945 about 1,700 potential pioneers and members of Youth Aliyah from Central European countries received agricultural training with Danish farmers. The Danmark Loge of the B'nai B'rith was founded in 1912. Jewish periodicals in the Danish language have appeared in Denmark since 1907, except during the German occupation in World War II. Magazines in Yiddish appeared between 1911 and 1936, and a Yiddish daily, the Folktsaytung, appeared during World War I. A literary periodical Tidsskrift for jødisk Historie og Litteratur, sponsored by the Danmark Loge, was published in Copenhagen from 1917 to 1925. (Julius Margolinsky / Rafael Edelman) -Holocaust Period The fate of the Jewish community under German occupation was related to several factors: the attitude of the Germans to Denmark and its population and the attitude of the Danes to the Jews within their country. The German occupiers treated the Danes with respect, a dramatic difference compared with the way they related to occupied populations in Eastern Europe. Germany invaded Denmark on April 9, 1940, as part of its expansion westward. German occupation was limited: Danish institutions remained intact, even the Danish army and navy; only foreign affairs were no longer in Danish hands. Germany respected Danish sovereignty. The German occupation was administered by the Foreign Ministry and not the SS or the Gestapo and for internal bureaucratic reasons the Foreign Ministry wanted to keep it that way. Germany could not rule by decree in Denmark and thus there developed a policy of negotiation with Danish authorities, who collaborated within limits. Denmark had a long history of religious tolerance and did not perceive itself to have a "Jewish problem." The Danes regarded the Jewish question as a Danish problem rather than one of an isolated minority. They treated the Jews as fellow citizens. Throughout the 1930s, Denmark was reluctant to receive refugees but some Jews did manage to use Denmark as a country of transit and some 1,400 refugees from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia and 300 children of youth aliyah remained there. For almost three and a half years, from the day of Denmark's occupation on April 9, 1940, to the major crisis in the Danish-German relationship at the end of August 1943, the Danish Jewish community, including the refugees, remained more or less unmolested. This unusual phenomenon can be explained by the fact that while the Danes collaborated with the Germans in the so-called policy of negotiation, they simultaneously extended full political, social, juridical, and personal protection to the Jews and to their property. So convincing was the steadfast behavior of the Danish authorities and the population that the Germans did not think it wise to injure the small Danish Jewish population as long as they were interested in the smooth operation of the Danish-German Agreement of April 9, 1940. Mounting Danish resistance during the summer of 1943 eventually destroyed the popular base of this agreement, which was eventually abolished by the Germans on Aug. 28, 1943. Emergency rule was declared. Until that time the civil representatives of the German Reich, Cécil von Renthe-Fink, as well as Werner Best, who succeeded him in office, did everything they could in order to avoid a conflict with the Danes over the issue of the Jews despite repeated attempts by Nazi authorities in Germany and small groups in Denmark to raise the issue. Best's role is perplexing as he was a known antisemite. He had served as deputy head of the Gestapo and worked as part of the German military bureaucracy to organize deportations to Auschwitz. His pragmatic behavior in Denmark may be explained by a difference in the attitude of the Danish population toward its own Jews. Martin Luther, Foreign Minister joachim von ribbentrop 's representative at the wannsee conference in January 1942, stated that action against Jews in the Nordic countries had to be postponed. Public opinion in Denmark on the "Jewish" question was unanimous and had been expressed by the leader of the United Danish Youth Movement, Professor Hal Koch, just before the conference. Reacting to some incendiary declarations by Nazi newspapers in Denmark, he proclaimed that all suggestions to the effect that Danish Jews should be molested must be categorically rejected because the issue was one of both justice and respect for the Jews and the preservation of Danish freedom and law. The Jewish community, anxious to cooperate with the Danish authorities, kept its members as inconspicuous as possible and refrained from all illegal activity, including escape. Only a group of ḥalutzim tried to escape illegally with partial success. Anxious to sustain his position in Berlin and to position himself for advance, Best advocated using this opportunity of emergency rule to deport the Jews. He was appealing to two very different audiences: Nazi colleagues anxious to deport the Jews and impose the "Final Solution" and the native population and its officialdom that regarded such acts as disruptive. His plan was opposed in German circles in Denmark, and several leading German personalities tried to ensure its cancellation. Ironically, Best, who was mainly interested in the additional police force transferred to Denmark to execute the deportation, was not very eager to carry out the order once Hitler approved it. He attempted to have it canceled and then leaked news of the operation through F.G. Dukwitz, the attaché for shipping affairs, who maintained good relations with leading Danish Social Democrats and informed them of the impending danger for the Jews. The warning was quickly spread and after a slight delay it was regarded as credible by the Jewish community, which canceled Rosh Ha-Shanah services, and by Danish citizens' organizations. The Lutheran Bishop of Copenhagen, H. Fuglsang-Damgaard, openly urged Danes to protect the Jews, proclaiming: „ Whenever persecutions are undertaken for racial or religious reasons, „ it is the duty of the Christian Church to protest against it for the „ following reasons: „ „ …Because the persecution of the Jews is irreconcilable with the „ humanitarian concept of love of neighbors which follow from the „ message which the Church of Jesus Christ is commissioned to proclaim. „ With Christ there is no respect of persons, and he has taught us that „ every man is precious in the eyes of God. „ …race and religion can never be in themselves a reason for depriving a „ man of his rights freedom or property. We shall therefore struggle to „ ensure the continued guarantee to our Jewish brothers and sisters „ (of) the same freedom which we ourselves treasure more than life. „ „ …We are obliged by our conscience to maintain the law and to protest „ against any violation of human rights. Therefore we desire to declare „ unambiguously our allegiance to the word, we must obey God rather than „ man. Seemingly overnight a rescue organization sprang up that helped 7,200 Jews and about 700 non-Jewish relatives escape to Sweden in less than three weeks. Danish captains and fishermen carried out this operation. What began as a spontaneous popular movement was developed into an organized action by the Danish resistance movement. Though the heroic nature of the rescue has become fable, still the fishermen charged for their services. The cost of the transfer amounted to about 12 million Danish crowns, of which the Jews themselves paid approximately 6½ to 7 million. The rest was provided out of private and public Danish contributions. Out of the action grew a regular flow of illegal traffic between Denmark and Sweden. Danish and Swedish Jews helped to organize it and kept it financially sound. This traffic continued until the end of the war and provided the Danish underground with a constant line of communication with the Allies. The attitude of Sweden was also quite significant. It had informed the Germans of its willingness to accept the Jews and it made an announcement of its openness to these refugees on radio, thus independently encouraging the exodus of Jews across the narrow sea that separated Denmark from Sweden. By the fall of 1943, German troops were in retreat from El Alamein in North Africa to Stalingrad in the East. With reduced power came reduced influence. During the night of the persecution (Oct. 1–2, 1943) and following it, less than 500 Jews were seized by the Germans. They were sent to theresienstadt and remained there until the spring of 1945, when they too were brought to Sweden by the action of the Swedish Red Cross, headed by Count bernadotte . The Danish rescue effort did not end in October 1943. Refugee property was carefully protected. Homes and their contents were inventoried and businesses placed in trust. Torah scrolls and holy objects were stored in churches and returned intact to the Jewish community after the war. Non-Jewish relatives who remained behind were supported. The Danish government was persistent in its inquiries about its citizens who were deported to theresienstadt . Packages were sent. In an attempt to alleviate Danish concerns, the Germans allowed a special Red Cross visit to the camp in 1944, even though what the visitors saw was a hoax. Danish Jews were the first prisoners to return home after liberation. Of the 464 Jews deported, only 51 perished. Upon their return from Sweden to Denmark at the end of the war, most of the Jews who escaped found their property intact. It may be estimated that approximately 120 people perished because of the persecution: about 50 in Theresienstadt and a few more in other camps. Close to the same number committed suicide or were drowned on their way to Sweden. Less than 2% of the Jewish population of Denmark perished. After the war, unlike many other countries that did far less for their Jews, Denmark did not seek credit for the rescue. Yad Vashem's list of the Righteous Among the Nations of the World lists only one entry for Denmark, not one individual, but the Danish people. And Danish historians have been critical of the limited efforts to receive refugees and the improvised nature of the rescue. More should have been done, they have argued. Why was Denmark different? The answer is still a matter of dispute though the exceptional character of Denmark is not. Danes at every level of society, from fishermen to high government officials, intellectuals to Church leaders alike have said that they simply treated Jews as the neighbors they were, and one does not allow the enemy who occupies one's country to deport neighbors. The explanation for their behavior may well be as simple as that. (Leni Yahil / Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.) -Postwar Period The Jewish population of Denmark at the end of 1968 was about the same as before World War II, i.e., between 6,000 and 7,000: 25% of the total population were descendants of the old established Danish Jews and 67% were emigrants from Eastern Europe and their descendants; 8% consisted of refugees from Germany and their children. Only 1% of the Jewish population resided outside Copenhagen. In the course of 1969 a further 1,500 Jewish refugees from Poland were taken into Denmark, mostly into the Copenhagen area. Almost all the Jews who were rescued during the war, as well as most of the deportees to theresienstadt and other camps, returned to Denmark at the end of the war. The birth rate continued to be low (only about 60 children born each year) and this was insufficient to keep the Jewish population at the same level. The good relations between Jews and non-Jews were maintained in the postwar period. Mutual goodwill was demonstrated on various occasions, such as the 10th and the 25th anniversaries of the rescue of Danish Jewry from Nazi persecution, or, in 1964, on the 150th anniversary of the granting of citizenship to Danish Jews, as well as by the sympathetic interest of the population in Jewish problems and in the State of Israel. Many Jews were prominent in the postwar period. stephan hurwitz was appointed Ombudsman in 1955, when this high position in the administration was established; Henry Grünbaum was minister of finance in the labor government from 1965 to 1968; and Erik Warburg was principal of the Copenhagen University from 1956 to 1958. The Jewish community was state-recognized and therefore entitled to assess all Jews in the country for taxation, unless they resigned formally from the community. This recognition also involved the rights of the rabbis to perform marriages and to register births and deaths. All community institutions were administered in a strictly traditional way. Most of the members of the Orthodox Mahzike Hadas community belonged simultaneously to the larger Jewish community. Community affairs were directed by a board of seven members, elected by an assembly of 20, which in turn was chosen in general elections. In addition to all religious services the community maintained a Jewish day school and three kindergartens, homes for the aged, and a spacious community center. The community supported an active Zionist Federation, wizo , youth organizations, B'nai B'rith , an organization of craftsmen, and two choirs. Danish Jewry participated in all efforts to aid the State of Israel and strengthened its ties with other Jewish communities through close cooperation with the conference on jewish material claims , the american joint distribution committee , and Jewish communities in Europe. -Later Developments It is estimated that some 3,000 Polish Jews fled to Denmark at the beginning of the 1970s as a result of antisemitism. Their arrival affected the development of Danish Jewry during the decade, although they included a comparatively high percentage in mixed marriages. Most of the Jews settled in and around Copenhagen, but hundreds were brought to Aarhus and Odense in the provinces and tried to organize some form of Jewish life in these towns. The Federation of Polish Jews in Denmark was established to represent the newcomers, but other organizations were also founded partly in opposition to the federation. A youth group with Zionist orientation called the Coordination Committee became active in organizing inter-Scandinavian seminars. Although many of the newcomers did join the Jewish community, at the elections for the Jewish Community Board in 1979 some Jews from Poland organized their own party and gained two out of the 20 seats of the Board. The Jewish day school moved to new premises in 1974. At the end of the decade the number of pupils had risen to 325 with an additional 60 children in the kindergarten. With two other Jewish kindergartens almost 50% of the Jewish children in Copenhagen attended these day institutions. The 150th anniversary of the school was celebrated in 1980 in the presence of the minister of education and the mayor of Copenhagen; a Festschrift was published on the occasion. After the death of Chief Rabbi Dr. Marcus melchior in December 1969, his son, Rabbi bent melchior , was elected to succeed him. In 1972 he resigned because of a conflict with the board of the community after making some outspoken remarks about the tragic events at the Olympic Games in Munich. After six months of discussions, which threatened to sunder the Jewish community, a formula was found which enabled the chief rabbi to accept a new contract, and he was unanimously re-elected. Shortly after, an American-born assistant had to leave his post when he had admitted that he had traveled on an electric train on the Sabbath. He was succeeded by Danish-born Rabbi Bent Lexner, the first rabbi of the community to be educated and ordained in Jerusalem. Upon Melchior's retirement in 1996, Lexner became chief rabbi. The Bnei Akiva movement continued to be active in Jewish education of the young generation, and it inspired most of the aliyah movement. Another important educational activity was established through Dor Hemshech. Many young people were active in the work for Soviet Jewry, and the Actions Committee for Soviet Jewry succeeded in creating strong support among Danish public figures for this cause. Arne melchior , for many years president of the Danish Zionist Federation, was elected in 1979 to a third term in the Danish parliament, representing the Center Democrats. The former minister of finance, Mr. Henry Gruenbaum, was also re-elected in the same elections, and a new member, Mr. Magnus Demsitz representing the Social Democrats, was elected. Dr. Rafael Edelmann, who for nearly 40 years headed the department of Hebraica and Judaica at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, resigned at the end of 1970 and went to Jerusalem, where he died in 1972. He was succeeded at the Royal Library by Ulf Haxen. The traditional prayerbook with Danish translation was re-published in 1977. Among the very few changes was the inclusion of the prayer for the State of Israel and a new text for the special prayer used on Tisha be-Av. The same year the Jewish community began the publication of a new Danish translation of the Pentateuch, the work of Rabbi Bent Melchior. Since the kings Christian IV and Frederick III invited the first Jews to enter Denmark in the 17th century, relations between the Danish royal family and the Jewish community have been very close. This continued during the reign of Queen Margrethe II. In 1983 she attended the festive service in the Copenhagen Synagogue on the occasion of the synagogue's 150th anniversary. A year later she participated in the celebrations of the 300th jubilee of the Copenhagen community. In 1987 the queen was host to an official state visit by Israel's president Chaim Herzog, and in 1992 she agreed to be the patron of the many 1993 events to mark the 50th anniversary of the unique rescue operation of Danish Jews in October 1943. The good relations also reflect the general situation between Jews and Christians in the country. Although an increasing number of foreigners settled in Denmark during the 1980s and 1990s, leading to an unhappy rise in nationalistic outbursts against newcomers, the Jews in general were not affected by the negative feelings towards strangers. Many of the newcomers were Muslims, and not a few of them Arabs from the Middle East. Muslim immigration continued into the 21st century and there were occasional incidents involving young Arabs, but most have been regarded by the police as street brawls. In 2003 a leader of the Hizbut-Tahrir association in Denmark was sentenced to jail for disseminating slanderous pamphlets against Jews. The Jewish community joined forces with the majority fighting extreme rightwing forces. A small, insignificant Nazi party existed, but its "Fuehrer" fell in love with a Palestinian girl and had to resign. In 1996 the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti took the issue of sheḥitah to the Danish Parliament in a campaign against Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. Their bill was voted down but they have brought up the issue repeatedly over the years, and in early 2005 a new bill was introduced in Parliament. This time too a majority of MPs voted against it. There was in fact no Jewish ritual slaughter in Denmark at the time because the Danish Jewish community imported its meat from Ireland and poultry from France. Nonetheless, the bill's defeat was a very important victory for the Jewish community. The PLO did not find it easier than the Nazis to establish themselves in Denmark. They opened an office in Copenhagen in the 1980s and many people on the political left were sympathetic toward the organization, in particular after the Lebanon war and during the first intifada. But a plan to assassinate the Danish chief rabbi and a few other prominent Danish Jews visiting Israel not only failed but also became the beginning of the end of the office. More successful was an Arab attempt in 1985 to bomb the Copenhagen Synagogue. Strong security measures have since then been maintained around Jewish institutions. The Jewish community tried to fight the problem of assimilation in various ways. Strong connections with Israel were being maintained and there was steady immigration of young families. The percentage of Jews making aliyah remained one of the highest in all Western countries. A large number of Danish Jews now have close relatives in Israel, and Danish Jews visit Israel frequently. Another major effort was made in the educational field, but the small number of children born to Jewish families has led to a decrease in the number of children attending the Jewish day school. The Danish Jewish community included a large number of elderly people. Since the 1960s two old-age homes for sick people have been established with the help of the municipality, and in 1992 a new building was erected with modern apartments for elderly Jews. The new institution is named after the famous swede raoul wallenberg , who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution. The comparatively small community, numbering 6,400 in 2005, nearly all in Copenhagen, participated in international Jewish organizations such as the World Zionist Organization, World Jewish Congress, and B'nai B'rith. Denmark's geographical position also called for an active contribution to the effort on behalf of Soviet Jewry, and until the removal of the Iron Curtain many Danish Jews visited the U.S.S.R. to bring Soviet Jews material on Judaism and support their political struggle for freedom. Since 1989 this work has changed in character. Strong cultural ties have been established with the Jewish population of the Baltic states, and in 1992 a big operation for relief work in St. Petersburg was started in an attempt to assist the large Jewish population of that city to survive physically. (Bent Melchior) -Relations with Israel The relations between Denmark and Israel have been friendly and warm. Denmark was among the countries that voted for the partition of Palestine, and thus the establishment of a Jewish state, on Nov. 29, 1947, and recognized Israel soon after its establishment. Formal diplomatic relations were established on the ambassadorial level. Denmark has usually supported Israel at the United Nations and other international organizations. Of special note was its active support for Israel's right to free passage through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Eilat, expressed in the attempt of the Danish boat Inge Toft to transport Israeli cargo through the Suez Canal in 1959. Trade relations developed from a modest scope to over $9,500,000 in 1968, with a balance between imports and exports, and $220 million in 2003, with Israel importing twice as much as it exported. Tourism from Denmark to Israel grew substantially over the years. The two countries maintained active friendship leagues, which concern themselves with disseminating information, caring for tourists, exchange visits of public figures, scientists, artists, etc. In most of the cities of Israel, streets or squares are named in honor of Denmark. In Jerusalem a monument to the rescue of Danish Jewry was erected on the 25th anniversary of the operation, and a comprehensive school in that city is named in Denmark's honor, and there is a King Christian X hospital at Eitanim. From the beginning of the 1960s, many thousands of Danish youth went to Israel every year for visits extending to a number of months, mostly working on kibbutzim. This movement led to the creation of a Danish organization of youth who worked on kibbutzim. The appointment of Carmi Gillon, former head of Israel's General Security Service (GSS), as ambassador to Denmark in 2001 sparked a minor diplomatic crisis when Danish Justice Minister Frank Jensen said that Gillon would be detained under suspicion "of having participated in, attempted, or assisted in torture" in his GSS role. Within a few months, however, the situation was defused. (Yohanan Meroz) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: C.E. Cohen, De Mosaiske Troesbekjenderes Stilling i Danmark… (1837); M.L. Nathanson, Historisk Fremstilling af Jødernes Forhold og Stilling i Danmark (1860); J. Salomon and J. Fischer, Mindeskrift i Anledning af Hundredaarsdagen for Anordningen af 29. Marts 1814 (1914); B. Balslev, De Danske Jøders Historie (1932); Moritzen, in: Contemporary Jewish Record, 3 (1940), 274–80; M. Hartvig, Jøderne i Danmark i tiden 1600–1800 (1951); G. Hartmann and F. Schulsinger, Physical and Mental Stress… Within the Jewish Population of Denmark (1952); J. Margolinsky, Gravspladserne på mosaisk vestre kirkegaard 1886–1955 (1955); idem, Gravspladserne på mosaisk nordre kirkegaard i Møllegade 1693–1953 (1956); idem, De jødiske kirkegaard i danske provinsbyer 1722–1956 (1957). HOLOCAUST PERIOD: L. Yahil, The Rescue of Danish Jewry (1969); idem, in: WLB (Oct. 1962), 73 (bibliography); Wilhelm, in: YLBI, 3 (1958), 313–32; Yad Vashem Studies, 6 (1967), 181–220; B. Outze (ed.), Denmark during the German Occupation (1946); Valentin, in: YIVO Bleter, 8 (1953), 224–51; Y. Haestrop, From Occupied to Ally: Denmark's Fight for Freedom (1963); idem, Exposé, European Resistance Movement 1939–1945 (1960–64); A. Bertelsen, October '43 (Eng. 1956); Tid Landetz Beste, 1 (1966); W. Lord, A Night to Remember (1967), novel; E. Arnold, A Night of Watching (1967), novel; R. Oppenheim, The Door of Death (1948), novel; H. Flender, Rescue in Denmark (1963). CONTEMPORARY PERIOD: A. Tartakower, Shivtei Yisrael, 2 (1966), 254–8; M. Melchior, A Rabbi Remembers (1968).
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.
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