Friday, October 27, 2023

Museum of Jewish Heritage Presents "Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark and Danish Stories"



The story of the Danish Rescue is the topic of our most recent exhibition, Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark, which opened on October 15th. This newsletter focuses on Danish stories from the Museum’s exhibitions and Collection as we share our pride in the exhibition, our first for visitors as young as age 9. Especially now, it is important to teach the history of the Danish resistance and escape, to remember and celebrate that ordinary people can take active roles to help ourselves and our neighbors. We hope you’ll visit the exhibition and learn more, or check out our virtual exhibition page on the Bloomberg Connects app.


Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark tells the remarkable story of the rescue of the Danish Jews during the Holocaust to visitors aged 9 and up. Explore what courage means, and what it took for ordinary people to create one of the most effective—and exceptional—examples of mass resistance and escape in modern history. Age-appropriate themes of separation, bravery, and resilience will help people young and old make connections to their own lives and reflect on the dangers of prejudice—as well as their own potential for compassionate, moral, and courageous collective action.

The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do

Our core exhibition The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do tells the history of Jewish life before, during, and immediately after the Holocaust using personal stories. For example, the Donde family was forced to escape to Sweden in 1943 after the Nazis began arresting Jews in Denmark. In 1944, Israel Donde joined the Danish Liberation Brigade formed in Sweden; the brigade armband he wore is pictured below.

Gift of Leif Donde, 55.89

Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust

Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust features 75 portraits by famed photographer Martin Schoeller in the artist’s signature style of extreme close-up. The exhibition, on view in the Museum's 3rd floor Rita Lowenstein Gallery, includes the portraits, a film, bios, and quotes from each of the sitters.

Garden of Stones by Andy Goldsworthy

The Garden of Stones is a living memorial and permanent installation at the Museum by acclaimed British land artist Andy Goldsworthy. The trees, planted by Holocaust survivors and their families, grow out of hollowed boulders. Meant to be visited and revisited, the garden matures over time and transforms with the seasons.

The Children’s Tree: A Living Artifact from Theresienstadt

A tree planted outside the Museum, with roots born of the Holocaust, branches out to a better future. This silver maple tree is named “The Children’s Tree” in memory of a group of students from Theresienstadt and their teacher, Irma Lauscher. In January 1943, Lauscher and several children planted a tree in Theresienstadt and nurtured it with their own water rations. In November 2021, a tree grown from the cuttings was planted in front of the Museum. The tree’s story is represented in Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark with this illustration:


The Museum shares stories from our exhibitions virtually through our public programs and our social media platforms. (Follow us on Instagram and Facebook!)


Delve into additional Courage to Act resources right now on your phone using the Bloomberg Connects App. Hear from child actors who portray characters in the exhibition and meet the passionate curators and dedicated individuals who meticulously curated this immersive experience. Listen to a collection of testimonies and watch Voices in the Void, an animated film about this same story of resistance. Plus, more is on the way, including a glossary and further resources for parents.


The Museum’s second annual New York Jewish Book Festival’s family day will welcome award-winning author Lois Lowry, who will speak about her classic book Number the Stars. This story takes children into the Danish Rescue and resistance through the eyes of a child, providing a moving and accessible resource for parents and educators to talk with children about this chapter in history.


Join us on Sunday, November 19th, at 3:00pm ET in person with a book signing to follow or virtually.


Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark was recently reviewed by Dierdre Liebman, an 11-year-old journalist for Scholastic Kids Press. We’re grateful to Dierdre for telling the story of the Danish Rescue and our exhibition. She wrote:  

The people of Denmark did everything they could to spare the lives of their Jewish friends and neighbors. They secretly arranged to have the Jews flee by boat to neighboring Sweden. 

“There were people who hid the refugees, who clothed the refugees, who gave them food, who escorted them to hiding places,” said Ellen Bari. “People helped in every way imaginable.”     

“It’s on all of us to look after our neighbors,” Ellen Bari, the curator of “Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark,” told Deirdre.

For more information about the Permanent Collection, please contact

Interested in donating objects related to your family's experience during the Holocaust? Click here to learn more and begin the process.

Public programming at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy C. Hochul and the New York State Legislature; Battery Park City Authority; The Goldie and David Blanksteen Foundation; Marcia Horowitz Educational Fund for Cross-Cultural Awareness; and other generous donors.