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On the day the new law was to go into effect, Hitler’s forces reported a problem to Berlin. Virtually everyone in Copenhagen and beyond, Jewish or not, was wearing the large yellow Star of David. Worse, they reported back, the wearing of the Star was led by King Christian X, the Constitutional Monarch of the Danish people.
Jews could not be identified on sight if everyone was self-identified as a Jew. The Nazi requirement was abandoned.
The idea that ordinary citizens would take such personal risks, joining together to protect a vulnerable minority has served as an inspiration ever since.
The wonderful story is not true. It probably originated with a political cartoon published in Denmark in 1942. An aide is portrayed asking the King what would happen if the occupying Nazi forces were to order Jews in Denmark to wear the yellow star. The King replies “We’ll all have to wear yellow stars.”
What actually happened was not the grand gesture of myth. The bravery was lonelier. In 1943, the order went out to take all Jews in Denmark prisoner and transport them to concentration camps. This time Nazi occupiers actually did report back a very real problem. The Jews had vanished. Nearly 8,000 Jews were no longer to be found.
Years later, historian Leni Yahil, herself a refugee from the Nazis in Germany, chronicled the rescue. Many did put themselves into harm’s way to protect the endangered minority. This act of singular bravery was taken by “thousands of policemen, government officials, physicians, and persons of all walks of life.”
I was thinking of the untrue legend and the very true fact of bravery in Denmark during World War II as I read about the reactions of some Americans to their fellow citizens.
Today, a majority (56%) of Americans agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while roughly four in ten (41%) disagree.
– Public Religion Research Institute, November 17, 2015
One Republican candidate would like to force American Muslims to sign into a national registry. When Donald Trump is asked whether Muslims should be legally required to register, he confirms “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.”
To be fair, the reaction of other candidates has been cautiously negative. They do not favor an actual registry but some would target Muslims through surveillance of places of worship, or other gathering places. The conservative base, on the other hand, has been enthusiastic. Mr. Trump’s support among Republicans has jumped upward.
Most participants in a Twitter hashtag campaign, #MuslimID, have been sarcastic. Combat veterans, lawyers, former congressional staff workers, physicians, community workers, US diplomats, and a host of ordinary American citizens share images of their IDs. What they have in common, aside from US citizenship, is that they choose to exercise the basic American freedom to worship in Mosques.
Once Mr. Trump becomes President Trump and establishes forced registration for Muslims, do you suppose I and other Christians might follow the myth of Denmark and join in signing up?
Published with permission from FairandUNbalanced.
Graphics by MadMikesAmerica.