Resistance and rescue : German-occupied Denmark 1940-1943 : ideology, politics, and culture / by Myrna L. Goodman.
This dissertation is the study of the development of the Danish resistance movement during the German occupation of Denmark from April 9, 1940 and its association with the rescue and evacuation of the Jews in Denmark to Sweden during the months of October, November, and December 1943. The contributions of three institutions of Danish civil society, the Folk High Schools, the economic cooperative societies and the Danish Lutheran Church, in shaping the distinctive Danish path from passive resistance to open confrontation are analyzed. This inquiry was inspired by Hannah Arendt's praise for the rescue activity on behalf of the Jews in Denmark and explores the institutional origins of the collective action she found so notable. Modernization left Denmark with a strong democratic tradition, which deeply informed and shaped Danish civil society. The ideology and practices inherent in modern Danish social, political, economic and cultural institutions helped shape the underlying value of resisting the Germans as well as the work of protecting and rescuing the Jews in Denmark. The political context of the growth of the resistance movement is also considered. The expansion, maturation and changing character of the resistance movement can be correlated with the deteriorating political relationship between the Danish government and the German occupation authorities over a three-year period. This thesis argues that the Danish resistance movement and the successful mobilization and evacuation of the Jews in Denmark across the Sound to Sweden owe their progress to the combination of a favorable political climate in Denmark, traditional Danish cultural practices, and the institutional practices of Danish civil society. Those factors also led to a high level of Danish solidarity. The Danes considered Jews members of a common community; and the highly assimilated Jewish Danes were fully integrated into Danish society. The Danish experience demonstrates that distinct cultural styles and the ideologies that inform them can persist under moderated conditions of political domination.
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