Like many of its neighbors, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. What made Denmark unusual, though, is that Germany---hoping to show the world that they weren't bullies trying to conquer all of Europe---allowed the Danes to keep their own elected government and their own police force for a long while.
As a result, life in Denmark after the German invasion in 1940 was largely unchanged from the years before the war. While the Germans stationed troops in Denmark and censored newspapers, there was little to make the Danes want to fight back against the Germans.
Over the years, however, many Danes began to resent the German occupation and a resistance movement slowly formed. While this group undertook lots of different tasks ranging from feeding information about the Germans to the Allies and sabotaging German war efforts, the Danish Resistance is best known for their efforts to protect the Jews of Denmark.
Working with fisherman to smuggle Jews out of Denmark and into Sweden, the Danish Resistance rescued all but 500 of Denmark's 7,000-8,000 Jews. The risks of rescuing Jews were great and over 850 Resistance fighters were killed during the war, but their work saved lives.
Learn more about the Danish Resistance fighters by watching these two videos:
The real question becomes what would you have done if you were a Dane living during World War II? Would you have stood up on behalf of the Jews and tried to protect them from being sent to German concentration camps even if it meant risking your life? Or would you have sat on the sidelines, looking out for yourself?
Would your answer have changed if you were a mother or a father?
Really think this one through. While the quick answer might be that you would have stood up for the Jews in the face of the bad treatment they were receiving, would standing up be as easy as it sounds?
Bam Bam Bigelow