Humanity during Holocaust

Humanity during Holocaust

As the darkness of the Holocaust engulfed the European Jews and many others, the Philippines and Denmark offered two rare glimmers of hope, courage, and compassion. Testaments to the enduring power of humanity in the face of adversity.

The 1930’s and the World War II witnessed unprecedented aggression, persecution, and human suffering including the Holocaust.

The Holocaust was an unprecedented genocide, perpetrated by Nazi Germany. It was a calculated operation of mass murder the scale of which had never been seen before. Six million Jews—one-third of the Jewish population—were murdered just because they were Jewish.

Eighty years ago, on the night of Oct. 1, 1943, the German occupation forces orchestrated a raid to capture and deport the 8,200 Danish Jews—men, women, and children—into German concentration camps.


In an extraordinary show of solidarity, the Danish people reacted promptly by hiding their Jewish countrymen, and in the following days organized a risky boat rescue that brought 7,800 Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. Thus, more than 95 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population were saved by ordinary citizens, fishermen, government and church officials working together to thwart the German plan.

Many miles away, the Philippines had taken similar action already in 1938. Under the leadership of then President Manuel L. Quezon, the Philippines offered sanctuary to Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust through his implementation of an open-door policy. The policy urged Filipinos to welcome refugees and aid them—extending a lifeline to 1,300 Jewish refugees at a time when too many countries kept their borders closed and the Jews out.

However distant, separated by geography and culture, the Philippines and Denmark were united by a profound sense of moral duty and the need for humanitarian action in the face of hatred and persecution. Reminding us how we all shape history through our actions and how we choose to confront hardship and evil and the plight of others.

Lessons for today. Why is this important today? Many decades later, we still see fragments of this darkness creeping through the cracks, taking on new forms of discrimination and intolerance, often driven by purposeful misinformation and disinformation. The distortion of historical facts and the spread of conspiracy theories are dangerous trends that threaten to undermine our understanding of the past.


Today, we are witnessing voices of denial of the Holocaust and increasing anti-Semitism. This cannot be ignored. We must remember, learn, teach, educate, and say—never again. We must develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust.

The responsibility of preserving historic memory extends to educating future generations.


Our best tribute to all victims of these dark times—those who died and those who survived—is to continue to work together to create a world where we protect the facts and the mindset of humanity.


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Franz-Michael Mellbin and Ilan Fluss are the Danish and Israeli ambassadors to the Philippines, respectively.

TAGS: holocaust, Jews, Philippines, World War II

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.