King Christian and the Star of David

Nazi-Germany was based on a racist ideology, which included defamation of the "subhuman" Jew. From 1933 onwards anti-Jewish restrictions were introduced, and from September 1, 1941 it was made compulsory for Jews in Germany to wear a yellow Star of David, thus making it easier for the German “Aryans" to dissociate themselves from the Jews. Although similar legislation was introduced in other countries occupied by the Germans, the star was never introduced in Denmark, and this have given rise to explanations of an almost mythological nature.

One very popular legend states, that when the Germans raised the subject of Danish Jews wearing the Star of David, the Danish King Christian X threatened that he himself would be the first to wear one, and the Germans consequently withdrew their demand.

In her dissertation "The Rescue of the Danish Jewry" (1969) Dr. Leni Yahil examines this legend. Dr. Yahil concludes that the legend is unfounded. The Danish King never threatened to wear the Star of David, because the Germans never demanded that the star be introduced in Denmark. The German plenipotentiary in Denmark, von Renthe-Fink, and the commanding general Lüdke agreed not to make such a demand. Despite the occupation, Germany still recognised Denmark as a sovereign and neutral country, and Renthe-Fink did not want to disturb the possibilities for peaceful collaboration with the Danish government.

Persecution of the Danish Jews were not initiated by the Germans until October 1943, one month after the Danish government had left office.

An extended version of the legend goes that on the day the Germans demanded the Star of David introduced in Denmark, the majority of the Danish population was wearing the star, so that the Germans could not distinguish between Jews and non-Jews. This version goes back to Leon Uris' novel "Exodus" and is even further from the truth.

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