Proud To Be Part Of The Human Race: The Rescue Of The Danish Jews

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By Dr Max Lawson

Although reticent by nature, a few words are in order about my attachment to Denmark and all things Danish. I taught for six years at the International People’s College in Elsinore (of Hamlet’s Castle fame) which is on the sea coast
about an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen. On weekends I took students on excursions. One particularly poignant one was to Gilleleje, the most northern point on the island of Zealand and the closest crossing to Sweden, twenty minutes by boat. Gilleleje, like Elsinore itself further south, was one of the escape centres to Sweden.

I took the students to the local ,village church in Gilleleye, which had a large loft or attic in which Jews were hidden, pending their escape to Sweden. Indeed they could see Sweden from a large porthole window. One group were betrayed either by a Danish informer or simply the Germans picked up loose gossip around the town. Another group that did not make it were the elderly Jewish residents of a
nursing home – they were overlooked.
In all 481 Danish Jews were deported to the Eesienstadt (north of Prague). From this “model” concentration camp many were deported to Auchwitz but the Danes were allowed to stay, a promise the Danish authorities had obtained from
Werner Best, head of the German occupation of Denmark.

The retelling of this extraordinary event in October, 1943 can be found here.

In What Do We Place Our Trust

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by Geoffrey R Usher

Robert A Storer served two long ministries in Massachusetts in the second half of last century. He visited Sydney in 1982 and preached in the Sydney Unitarian Church, and then in 1985 I stayed with him at the start of my speaking tour of Unitarian Universalist churches across America. I want to start by reading a piece entitled “Trust” which is in Robert’s little anthology Prayer Thoughts:
May we learn to trust in the things we see about us each day.
In simple acts of goodness, in kind and gentle words, in ways we gladly help one
another.
May we learn to trust in people,
In those with whom we disagree,
In those who want from life something quite different from what we desire.
In those who cannot possibly see things our way.
May we learn to trust in the underlying rightness of people’s motives.
Remove from us any suspicion or fear that another person deliberately wishes to injure us.
Let us learn to trust in the important things,
The things that are precious in our lives,
The daily friendly contacts,
The ability to laugh away tension, to drive away our fears.
Let us rejoice in friends who believe in us even when we act rashly and blindly, who stand by us even when they cannot defend all that we do or say.
Enable us through the strengthening power of this communion so to live on this
earth that we will strive to increase moments of beauty, to enlarge the happiness of others, to strengthen the bonds of human fellowship, to extend the areas of peaceful living on this earth, to trust that all can be well with us and others when we give life and motion to our trust.

You can read this sermon in full here.