Christian X og jøderne. Hovedrolleindehavere i dansk krigspropaganda
Christian X and the Jews - the main figures in Danish WWII propaganda
Due to seemingly minor efforts of the Danes in preventing the invasion and fighting the Nazi occupation of Denmark, compared to that of the Norwegians, Dutch and Belgians, the Danes and in particular the Danish King became the target of criticism in parts of the allied press. Danish patriots in exile, especially in the USA, actively tried to alter this image. They launched a series of fabricated stories, which they distributed to the press in order to change the bad publicity. In most of these stories the Danish king and the Danish Jews played a central role.
The author presents an analysis of the origin of the story about King Christian X wearing the Star of David and other stories and myths involving the Danish Jews. In some of these stories the Jews were depicted as a major problem for Denmark, solvable by interning them in a concentration camp. The fabricated story of the King wearing the star as an act of solidarity towards the Jews became an urban myth. The core of this article has been published earlier in English, entitled ”The King and the Star: Myths created during the Occupation of Denmark“, published in: Denmark and the Holocaust (2003).
Since the English version of this article was published, additionali nteresting information about the activities of Danish interest groups in the USA has emerged and this information is the subject of the present article. An example is newly published information (Jespersen 2007) about King Christian X, which reveals that King Christian X suggested to a member of the Danish government that the Danish public should wear the Star of David, if the Germans introduced measures against the Jews in Denmark.
The King allegedly expressed this view on 10 September 1941. The oddity of that information, however, is that the source of this statement was allegedly the King’s personal diaries, which have not been available for research, except to one historian. While the decree ordering the yellow Star of David was not signed by the German Minister of Interior, Reinhard Heydrich, until 1 September 1941 and not valid until 19 September 1941, it might seem rather odd that the King of Denmark, a country that was not affected by the decree, was considering wearing the Star of David on 10 september 1941.
The Danish National Archive, (Rigsarkivet), has denied this author’s request for a facsimile photograph of the part of King Christian’s diary of 10 September 1941. The Star of David, as introduced by Heydrich in 1941, was not known to the general public in Denmark, until the Danish Jews imprisoned in Theresienstadt concentration camp returned to Denmark in 1943, with their stars. However, it was obviously well known to some Danish Nazis already in February 1942. They were gluing printed paper stars on the houses of Jews around Copenhagen, from where the Danish Police removed them. These stars had exactly the measures of the stars prescribed in the decree of the German Ministry of Interior, and had the word ” j.de“, (Jew), with Hebrew-stylized letters in the centre of the star.
A recent trend In Danish WWII historical research is the praise of the Danish collaboration Policy (Samarbejdspolitikken) with the Nazi occupants. The rescue of the Danish Jews is often portrayed as proof of the beneficial effects and excellence of the Danish collaboration policy. This contemporary, politically determined, perception is led by Danish historian and senior government official Bo Lidegaard and followers, who, for instance, tend to overlook how the extensive Danish food exports during WWII helped feed the German army, when it was killing the Jews of Europe. The followers of this historical perception also tend to ignore the fact that the Danish government during the era of the closest Danish-Nazi collaboration 1940-43 was expelling Jewish refugees to Germany. The expulsions were initiated by the Danish authorities, who pressured the rather uninterested Nazi occupants for permission to accept expulsions of Jewish refugees from Denmark.
So, in fact, Jews are still being held hostage in Danish image making in 2010, in a manner similar to that of the creators of Danish propaganda and myths during WWII.