Hitler's Savage Canary

Hitler's Savage Canary

A History of the Danish Resistance in World War II

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Tells the story of Denmark's ordinary citizens who created an extraordinary resistance movement to Nazi occupation.

Norton Pub

After Adolf Hitler made plans to create a “model protectorate” out of Denmark, Winston Churchill predicted that the nation would become the Führer’s tame canary. Isolated from the Allies and fueled only by a sense of human decency and national pride, the Danes created an extraordinary resistance movement that proved a relentless thorn in the side of the Nazis. By 1945, they had published twenty-six million issues of illegal newspapers. They set up radio guides for Allied aircraft on the coasts and proved invaluable in penetrating Nazi defenses.

Regular boat services ran between Sweden, Denmark, and Britain. German ships could not move out of ports, and troops were stymied again and again by the sabotage of railways and air bases. Most amazing of all was the transportation of some 7,000 Danish Jews to safety in Sweden. They were not trained; they were not soldiers. They were simply ordinary citizens who refused to stand idly by and witness an atrocity.

The story of the selfless courage and daring should inspire countless future generations.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

After Adolph Hitler made plans to create a “model protectorate” out of Denmark, Winston Churchill predicted the nation would become the Fuhrer’s tame canary. Isolated from the Allies and fueled only by a sense of human decency and national pride, the Danes created an extraordinary resistance movement that proved a relentless thorn in the Nazis’ side. German troops were stymied again and again by the sabotage of railways and airbases and some 7,000 Jews were carried to safety in Sweden. They were not soldiers—they were simply ordinary citizens who refused to stand idly by and witness an atrocity. The story of their selfless courage and daring should inspire countless future generations.


Publisher: Barnsley, S. Yorkshire : Frontline Books ; New York : Skyhorse Pub., [2011]
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781611450637
1611450632
Branch Call Number: 940.5348 LAMPE
Characteristics: xvi, 237 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Riis-Jørgensen, Birger
Notes: "The savage canary : the story of resistance in Denmark was first published by Cassell & Company ... London in 1957. This edition contains a revised plate section and a new foreword by Birger Riis-Jørgensen, ambassador at the Embassy of Denmark in London"--Title page verso

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Vilka Dec 04, 2011

When the Nazis entered Denmark, the small country didn't have the military power to stand a chance fighting and was forced to accept status as a protectorate under German control. Because of this, much of the world dismissed Denmark as 'Hitler's Canary'--you just sit in your cage singing whatever Hitler tells you to. But literally from Day One, thousands of ordinary Danes--from snot-nosed high school kids to old pastors to policemen, journalists, shopkeepers and labourers--started a campaign of stubborn resistance.
This book is a collection of some of the amazing true stories of not just organized Resistance groups, but ordinary citizens resisting, defying and generally making life difficult for Nazi authorities, at great risk to themselves.
Some chapters are collections of short vignettes. Other chapters cover larger plots and incidents—including the incredible story of how, over a 10-day period, the Danish people managed to smuggle almost every Jew in Denmark (7000 people!) out of the country before the Nazis could ‘disappear’ them; and the story of how, when the Nazis set an 8pm curfew, the people of Copenhagen all stopped work at noon (“so we can tend our vegetable gardens before curfew”...yeah...) and the city had a sudden epidemic of ‘sleepwalkers’ out past curfew.
I spent a lot of this book wondering “Why isn’t there a MOVIE about this?!” Had several episodes of laughing out loud at how so many people managed to get away with so many incredible acts of defiance, and how several others managed to get out of trouble in sometimes frankly miraculous ways.
The book was published in the late 50’s, so it assumes that readers already know something about WW2 (ie, you know what they’re talking about when they mention the Gestapo, SS, Luftwaffe, etc). There is also the 1950’s writing style, though I didn’t find that problematic since I took this book in small bites. The book doesn’t make Denmark’s story to be all sunshine, either: there are several mentions, and one full chapter, dealing with the Resistance’s Liquidation Corps, whose unpleasant job it was to kill traitors. Not all stories end in success, though some failures still make a good story (a few are even funny).
Overall, I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good adventure or a little-known part of history. It's a great look at how ordinary people could make such a huge difference in such a terrible time, and get through with wit and dignity. If you don't know about this part of WW2, you definitely should.

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Aug 05, 2015

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