'Relations between Israel and Denmark are getting stronger'

President Rivlin hosts event marking the 75th anniversary of the rescue of the Jews of Denmark. 'Most Danes saw Jews as equal citizens.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President with Danish Science Minister
President with Danish Science Minister
Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

President Reuven Rivlin last night hosted an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the rescue of the Jews of Denmark. Holocaust survivor Herbert (Nahum) Pundak and Danish Minister of Science and Higher Education Tommy Ahlers also spoke at the event. Danish Ambassador to Israel Charlotte Slente and the Chief Rabbi of Denmark Jair Melchior also attended. During the evening, the musical suite “Aunt Anna’s Flight to Sweden”, by Benjamin Koppel, was performed. The music was written by Koppel and is inspired by the story of his 97-year old aunt, who was rescued and smuggled to Sweden in 1943.

President Rivlin: “The story of the rescue of the Jews of Denmark by many of the Danish people was the expression of democratic, moral and human values. It was an absolute refusal to submit to racism, to anti-Semitism and to xenophobia. The Nazi death machine would not have been able to carry out its nightmarish vision for Europe without the fertile ground of hatred of Jews and other peoples. The Jews of Denmark also suffered anti-Semitism, but most Danes saw Jews as equal citizens, neighbors, friends and family. Members of the human race. Then, as today, we must be clear about showing zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia. We must call it out and educate our young people against anti-Semitism and against anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism.”

The president emphasized the special relations between Israel and Denmark, saying “many of the Danish-Jewish community, including Holocaust survivors, made their homes in Israel. They are proud of their Danish heritage and are a living link between the two countries. Tens of thousands of Danes volunteered on kibbutzim and are ambassadors of good will between Israel and Denmark to this day. The excellent bilateral relations between Israel and Denmark, two countries with small populations but who are at the top of international rankings in investments in research and development and innovation, are getting stronger and new areas of cooperation are being formed.

Concluding his remarks, the president dedicated the concert to the memories of the Jews of Denmark who were murdered and executed by the Nazis at Theresienstad (Terezin).

Danish Minister of Science and Higher Education, Tommy Ahlers: “Mr. President, last month you honored us with your visit to Denmark. You and your wife participated in several events marking the rescue of the Danish Jews. The rescue of the Danish Jews is a solid foundation for the Danish-Israeli relationship. And today our relations continue to grow. We are deepening our cooperation on various issues, ranging from the fight against terrorism, to innovation and technology.”