cover image Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews

Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews

Ellen Levine. Holiday House, $24.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1447-5

Readers who have thrilled to Lois Lowry's Number the Stars or Bjarne Reuter's The Boys from St. Petri will want to explore this sober volume about the Danish response to the Nazi occupation. Levine (If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad) debunks some widely believed legends about Danish resistance--for example, that every Dane wore a yellow Star of David when the Germans ordered the Jews to do so (in fact, the Germans never promulgated this order in Denmark). As she persuasively demonstrates, however, those legends reflect truths about the Danes in their essential solidarity and rejection of Nazi thinking. While she lists the factors that gave Denmark advantages over other Nazi-occupied countries, she also focuses on the experiences of individuals who, almost as a matter of course, risked their lives to defy the Nazis. Unlike many writers, she treats the extraordinary rescue of nearly the entire Danish Jewish population in October 1943, as only part of the story of the resistance, in fact positing that Nazi persecution of the Jews and the success of the rescue mission led to enormous popular support for the resistance. Beyond saving the Jews, Danes sabotaged munitions factories, supplied critical information to British bombers and organized devastating strikes. The author cross-cuts from a general narrative to focus on specific persons; it is sometimes difficult to keep track of these individuals, but virtually all their stories are inspiring. Well-chosen photos add impact to this dramatic history. Ages 10-up. (June)