The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152495   Message #3566864
Posted By: Bearheart
14-Oct-13 - 02:32 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: December 1943? / Denmark 1943
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fred Small: December 1943
another bit of hstory I found that gives you a sense of it,

Gilleleje, one of the larger fishing harbours, lies at the northernmost point of the island of Zealand with train connections to Copenhagen. About one fifth of the Danish Jews escaped to Sweden via this village. Fishing boats as well as coastal freighters from the harbour took part. Jews were familiar with Gilleleje from summer holidays in the country and came to the area in droves. A committee of local people were quick to initiate rescue aid, even before representatives for the rescue groups in Copenhagen arrived. Many were needed to help find hiding places and food.

One of the survivors, Leif Wassermann, was only five years old when his family, including his parents, grandparents and younger sister, fled to their coastal summer home in Gilleleje. He later recalled how his father carried him down into the dark hull of the boat in the middle of the night, but he remembered the hushed voices, the cramped feeling as people crowded inside and the rotten smell of fish. They were rescued by Henny Sondig, the 19-year-old daughter of the boat manager, and the four-man crew of the the 20-ton lighthouse tender, named the Gerda III.

`We stayed very low on the floor. We heard there were German patrols outside. We saw flashlights going through the windows,ยด Wassermann recalled. Although the Gerda III was regularly boarded by German soldiers, the refugees were never discovered. The boat made more than a dozen trips with groups of five to 20 people crammed inside the hull - thus saving many Jewish families from annihilation.Leif Wassermann and his family were not able to return to their homeland until May 5, 1945, when Denmark was liberated. Years later he was appointed vice consul and commercial attache of the Danish government in New York.