On April 9, 1940, the Nazis invaded Denmark. Unlike surrounding occupied countries, Denmark rescued ninety percent of its Jewish population. In October 1943, fishermen ferried seven thousands Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. Deborah Hopkinson tells this story and many others in this thrilling work of non-fiction.
Most of the people that figure prominently in her book are ordinary citizens who chose to resist the German occupation of their homeland. Niels Skov and Jorgen Kieler were ordinary Danes who decided to act.
Skov began with simple acts of sabotage. Lacking sophisticated equipment, Skov used a on ordinary screwdriver to cut holes in the German fuel tanks. Kieler prints underground newssheets championing the resistance–Frit Danmark. Later, he becomes involved with sabotage group HD2 that blew up Nazi conscripted factories.
While Hopkinson does discuss the SOE (Special Operations Executive) led by Ronald Turnbull, and their sabotage efforts, she focuses upon civilians caught up in the war effort. Thomas Sneum, became a member of Britain’s SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) after he flew to England in a damaged biplane, a Hornet Moth.
Many of these civilian spies and saboteurs faced terrible consequences. For participating in the resistance movement, many were sent to prisons and even concentration camps. The Danish Red Cross did what it could and the prisoners did what they could to escape. Read Courage and Defiance for the startling conclusion.
Other World War II book by Deborah Hopkinson:
- D-Day: The World II Invasion that Changed History.
- Dive: World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific.
- We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport.