The Attempt to Deport the Danish Jews
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume XVII
The Historiographic Treatment of the Abortive Attempt to Deport the Danish Jews
The accepted version of the rescue of Danish Jewry is questioned herein, to wit, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a Nazi agent with contacts among Danish Social Democrats (who believed him to be anti-Nazi) and a close associate of the German plenipotentiary Werner Best, took the initiative in warning the Danish Jews. According to Duckwitz’s account, he informed his Social Democrat friends and the Danish Foreign Office of the plan. The article casts doubt on the reliability of Duckwitz’s dates and figures, suggesting on the basis of German archives that the deportation was deliberately aborted on Eichmann’s instructions because of a shortage of police forces to deal with the Danish resistance. Thus, Best himself instructed Duckwitz to pass on the warning and to ensure that Sweden would accept the Jews. The article surveys the historiographical literature, which accepts the tendentious Best-Duckwitz version, showing that it does not reflect the true political situation in Denmark.