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Scholars 2008 - 2009

Rachel Baker, History and Economics

“Why Denmark? The Unusual Case of a National Rescue of the Jewish Population in Nazi-Occupied Europe”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Boehling
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2010
Contact: rabaker1@umbc.edu

The purpose of this research project is to explore the rescue of Jews in Denmark during WWII in order to examine the unique circumstances that contributed to the success of this rescue operation. Although there were courageous individuals in other countries that were able to rescue some of Europe’s imperiled Jews, the Danish Rescue Operation was the only successful national rescue attempt. I will explore and analyze the various factors that contributed to this success. These factors include Denmark’s proximity to neutral Sweden, the degree to which Jews were assimilated into Danish prewar society, Danish social and political traditions, the relatively lenient Nazi German policy in Denmark, and the political climate of neighboring Sweden. I will seek to understand why such an integrated rescue operation occurred in Denmark and nowhere else. In addition, I plan to use the knowledge that I acquire from studying the Danish Rescue Operation to learn how we can encourage solidarity, empathy, and civic courage, and not divisiveness and indifference, in contemporary society in order to prevent genocide.