Countrymen is extraordinary. I will not soon forget this epic of decency, this saga of humanism saving lives. The idea of humanism has been under attack for so long now, as false and sentimental and impotent, as insufficiently radical to make a difference, that it is stirring to be given a grand example of the opposite case - of a clear, muscular, brave, and effective humanism, and in the whole of a society. Bo Lidegaard's moving and meticulous book is itself an expression of the idealism that it documents. --Leon Wieseltier
I absolutely loved this book. It's a great story, both heartening and human, which tells of how some Germans behaved better than expected, and shows how decency can prevail in the hardest of times. It's a book to be recommended to anyone who has a deeply cynical view of human nature, but also to anyone who wants to see how people can behave brilliantly and how political and moral norms can hold against extremism, bullying, violence and threats. --Julia Neuberger
This is a tense, inspiring story of the resistance to oppression by a united people --Booklist
The rescue of the Danish Jews from Nazi persecution in October 1943 is a unique exception to the tragic history of the Holocaust. Within a few weeks some 7,000 people managed to escape, leaving the German occupation forces in Denmark almost empty handed.
What made this possible? Who rescued the Jews and who enabled their rescue? What was the interplay between the Nazi leadership in Berlin, their agents in Copenhagen, the Danish authorities and indeed the Jews and their Danish compatriots?
For decades these questions have been answered only by simplistic myths. Now, for the first time, Bo Lidegaard brings together decades of research and new evidence to tell the story as seen both through the eyes of individual refugees and through the prism of politics at all levels, from the Führer himself down to the Danish police.
Based on contemporary documentation, the narrative draws upon primary sources not previously known to the public, as well as on a host of historical research into various aspects of the rescue.
Ultimately, this story is a tribute to the inspiring capacity of an entire people to stand up and do the right thing in a time of crisis.