[ Gilleleje fishing port]

Gilleleje fishing port

The North Zealand coastal town of Gilleleje started life as a fishing hamlet circa 1500 and today boasts a marina and Zealand's largest fishing port. The town became a centre for extensive transport of Jewish refugees across the Sound to Sweden from October 1943 when the German occupying force initiated the action that was to remove all Jews from Denmark. In this period, some 7,000 Jews (around 95 per cent of the Jewish population) managed to get out of Denmark, aided by Danes and Swedes but also German double-dealing. Gilleleje is therefore a symbol of a Danish exception to the Holocaust of World War II.

Jewish refugees caught in church attic

  • Story written by: Mette Lilly Nielsen
  • Time / Periode 1943

The story of Gilleleje and the escape of the Danish Jews also has a tragic side - some died while fleeing, others were caught and deported. Around 470 Jews from Denmark were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The majority returned after the Liberation, but 53 died in the camp. Around 80 refugees were caught in the church attic in Gilleleje on the night of 6 October 1943. They were hiding in the dark, aided by the pastor and other Gilleleje residents, as they waited for a boat to take them to Sweden. Many of them had been left behind on the quay by that afternoon's boatloads in the chaos that ensued from rumours that the Germans were on the way. Around 100 Jews got caught during the raid on the church. The Gestapo had probably been tipped off by informants.

Read more about Gilleleje fishing port at 1001fortællinger.dk