Solidarity in action : a comparative analysis of collective rescue efforts in Nazi-occupied Denmark and the Netherlands / by Mette Bastholm Jensen.
In the early fall of 1943, the Nazi threat of deportation of Danish Jewry provoked something resembling a popular movement, involving all parts and strata of society in a successful effort to bring the 7,000 Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. In contrast, rescue efforts in the Netherlands were largely carried out by individuals acting alone or by relatively small groups. Based on a comparative analysis of these two cases, this dissertation demonstrates a basic three-part argument for understanding key outcome differences between them. First, I explain the emergence of a large-scale collective rescue movement in Denmark as the product of the confluence of a successful active construction of an inclusive collective identity in conjunction with the organizational and mobilizing potential of pre-existing, cross-cutting social networks in the context of a breakdown of the regulatory capacity of key structures of institutional life. Second, the analysis shows how the absence of overlapping social networks would likely have inhibited the development of such movements in the Netherlands, despite the fact that the absolute number of Dutch rescuers easily rivaled that of Denmark, and regardless of the extent to which Nazi authorities had already succeeded in slowly marginalizing and excluding the Jewish community from the general population in both concrete and symbolic terms. Finally, this exclusion would have limited the relative number of Dutch rescuers compared to Denmark, irregardless of the presence of networks conducive to mass mobilization. By extension, the dissertation makes a broader argument that certain types of social network structures—specifically, pre-existing social network structures that are characterized by extensive crosscutting connections to reach diverse constituencies—significantly facilitate high-risk, clandestine mass mobilization, and contend, further, that the significance of these particular network characteristics becomes more pronounced as the temporal urgency of mobilization increases.
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