The World’s Only Joyful Holocaust Commemoration

17 Oct 2018

Holocaust commemorations typically involve participants wearing somber clothes, a cantor mournfully chanting “Keil Malei Rachamim,” and a recitation including the names of Nazi death camps and the atocities committed there. This is not the case in Denmark, the only country in the world where nearly all members of the Jewish community were rescued from the Holocaust by the local population.

75 years ago, 7,200 Jews were ferried from Nazi-occupied Denmark to neutral Sweden in just a few days. Accordingly, Denmark’s commemoration is a celebration of their salvation, albeit tinged by mourning for the 51 Danish Jews who died in the genocide.

On Oct. 11, hundreds filled the Great Synagogue of Copenhagen, along with Crown Prince Federik of Denmark and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The ceremony included an upbeat performance of “Yaaseh Shalom” from a school choir and a patriotic Danish song witten by national writer Hans-Christian Andersen.

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