Danish Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel
“It was a natural task for hospitals to open their doors and try to hide [the Jews]”
- Den Hvide Brigade
Note: +arrested; †tortured; *killed; ●Righteous Among the Nations (honored by the State of Israel)
In 1942 there were indications that the German occupying government might impose Nuremberg Law on Danish Jews. In response more than 500 doctors and others signed a petition against this possibility and submitted it to the Danish Ministry of the Interior. In October 1942 Danish physicians rescued more than two thousand Jews. The Danish Doctors became known as “Dem Hvide Brigade” (The White Brigade). (Fatka, II, p. 1305; Yahil, 1969, p. 227)
Professor Erik. Husfeld, M.D.
Leader of “The Ring”, Member of the “Freedom Council.” Organized The Ring to oppose Nazi deportation in Denmark and the treatment of Danish Jews. 75% of Medical personnel joined The Ring in the course of the war. (Flender, 1980, p. 127; Yahil, 1969, pp. 227, 246)
Staff Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen.
Welcomed hundreds of Jews during the deportation of October 1943. They were hidden among the hospitals patients until they could be taken to the dock for transport to Sweden. On October 7, 1943 200 Jews were hidden in Bispebjerg Hospital.
Dr. Karl Henry Koster, Surgeon. Organized the rescue efforts of the staff of the Bispebjerg Hospital. Dr Koster said, “It was the natural thing to do. I would have helped any group of Danes being persecuted. The Germans’ picking on the Jews made as much sense as me picking on redheads.” He continued, “… the entire medical profession stood together as a single unit in opposition to anti0Semitism, our efforts on behalf of our countrymen of the Jewish faith were that much easier. We knew that the Germans couldn’t arrest all of us.” (Flender, 1980, pp. 116-124, 127, 164, 189, 226; Werner, 2002, pp. 49; Yahil, 1969, pp. 241, 287 FN 63; “Den Hvide Brigade” The White Brigade)
Dr. Poul Astrup M.D., Rockefeller Institute, Copenhagen, member Communist Party and Danish Underground. Warned fellow doctors of deportation of Jews. He helped arrange with Dr. Eges to take Jews to the docks where they could be transported to Sweden by Danish fishermen.
Copenhagen Kommunehospital, Copenhagen
Became center for rescue of Danish Jews. October 1943 operation was led in part by Dr. Steffen Lund.
Dr. Steffen Lund, Eye Specialist, Kommunehospital. Organized rescue of Danish Jews throughout Denmark in the Kommunehospital during the deportation of October 1943. (Flender, 1980, p. 127; Werner, 2002, p. 49; Yahil, 1969, pp. 241-242, 487 FN 63; Den Hvide Brigade [The White Brigade])
Robert Pedersen, Medical Student, Copenhagen, Lyngby Rescue Group. Seventeen year old medical student warned Jews of Deportation. Harald Petersen was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel in 1990. His statement: “I went from house to house in the streets of the neighborhood: Skt. Pedersstræde. Whenever I saw a name plate that indicated a Jewish family, I rang the doorbell and asked to talk to them. Sometimes they did not believe me. But I succeeded in persuading them to pack and come with me to Bispebjerg Hospital, which had been turned into a gathering place for Jewish refugees. I merely turned them over to the receptionist. After that the doctors and nurses took care of them. And then I went back to my neighborhood and collected more Jews. (Bertelsen, 1954; Pundik, 1998, pp. 109-112; Werner, 2002, p. 49)
Professor Richard Ege, Wife Vibere Ege, Lyngby Rescue Group. See Danish Citizens. (Bertelsen, 1954)
Signe Jansen, Head Nurse Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen. Worked with surgeon Dr. Karl Henry Koester, Dr. Stephen Lund and Professor Richard Ege and wife Vibke in Bispebjerg and the Kommunehospital in rescuing Danish Jews, October 1943. Jansen later recalled, “I was brought up to believe in democracy and to believe that you have to be willing to fight if you want to preserve that democracy. As for helping the Jews, I didn’t feel any particular responsibility for Jews. As a matter of fact, I never thought of them as Jews or anything else. They were merely my countrymen and they needed my help.” (Flender, 1980, pp. 121-124; Werner, 2002, p. 49)
Staff Frederksberg Hospital
Hid and placed Jews in the hospital to avoid Nazi deportation of October 1943. Hid Feder Family. (Flender, 1980, p. 127; Werner, 2002, p. 49, Testimony, Leon Feder)
Staff Blegdams Hospital
Hid and placed Jews in the hospital to avoid Nazi deportation of October 1943. (Flender, 1980, pp. 116-124, 127, 164, 189, 226; Staff Bispebjerg Hospital; Werner, 2002, pp. 49-50)
Dr. Standbygaard was a woman physician with the Lyngby Group who participated in the rescue of Danish Jews in October 1943. Worked with Christian Jensen from Husum and Magius, an engineer from Funen Lane in Lyngby. (Bertelsen, 1954, pp. 123, 124, 148-149, 162, 178, 180; Flender, 1980, p. 148)
Falak Rescue Corps
Transported Danish Jews in their ambulances to take them to boats in Danish harbors for transport to Sweden, October 1943. (Werner, 2002, p. 50)
Dr. Jørden Gersfelt
Rescue Activist, Leader, Snekkersten Rescue Underground. Leader in Snekkersten Rescue Underground provided financial aid to and cooperated with Lyngby Group. Authored book, How we Fooled the Gestapo. (Bertelsen, 1954, pp. 67, 76, 82, 131; Gersfelt, 1945)
“Are you sure that there is nothing – really nothing that you have done against us? Come, I give you my word that we are going to let you go free. We really have nothing to hold you on. But, just for the fun of it, off the record, isn’t there anything that you have done against us?”
Knudsen was so taken in by the officer’s apparent charm that he admitted that he had helped Jews escape to Sweden.
“Because I felt it had to be done. I just couldn’t stand by and do nothing while friends of mine were being persecuted.”
“So you have Jewish friends?”
“And you did not like the way we were treating them?”
Jørgen Knudsen, rescuer, after being arrested and questioned by Gestapo agents, he was then beaten and released. (Flender 227-228)
Danish District Medical Officer. (Bertelsen, 1954, p. 38)