"I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Son, let this woman be a bride to you in the restoration of my people. Let her be a mother for these people, regenerating souls through the salvation of spirit and water.'" (Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fred Small: Denmark 1943



I didn't plan to blog today as it is the last lap of move preparation with the packers coming tomorrow and the truck on Friday. But I had this song playing as I began to pack the backpack and suitcase containing all the possessions I will have access to for the one to two weeks we await the delivery of the car and household goods. And as so often it brought me to tears remembering our pilgrimage to Yad Vashem and the contrast between the huge number of Christians who enthusiastically or complacently supported Nazism and the tiny number of righteous Gentiles like the Danes who saved virtually their entire Jewish population by the creative nonviolent resistance that is so often dismissed without being attempted.

And the heroism of black Americans in their own amazingly nonviolent self defense against the American Holocaust that targets them for slaughter. And the longing for transformation by grace to work toward humbly recognizing and working toward minimizing my participation in white supremacy and embracing the privilege of actual learning from their wisdom and support for their struggles. And if I should ever make a small contribution eschewing the ever alluring search for ally cookies in favor of echoing: "We're not heroes or martyrs," so say the Danes--"We were just looking after our own."

It is also resonant as I move more deeply into scholarship and service claiming the liberating aspects of Ignatian--and all forms of Christian--spirituality especially for abuse survivors and critiquing the dangerous aspects that often retraumatize and betray them instead. And continue to process the micro and macro aggressions--as those from some male commenters yesterday on Rebecca's powerful piece on Olympic sexism-- that often make this prophetic work speaking Her truth and serving Her people a long and wearing way of the cross.

Lyrics:

And it's Eichmann and Himmler are turning the screws
The Fuhrer they say grows impatient
"How can it be Denmark's Jews still walk free
After three years of kind occupation?
We will take them like sheep in their beds as they sleep
On the second night of their new year
Devoutly at home they'll be helpless alone
When they cry out no one will hear"

But Duckwitz the German tells Hedtoft the Dane
"My friend I have dangerous news
In three hours the transport ships will set at anchor
You must warn them warn all the Jews"
Soon good Rabbi Melchior stands in the synagogue
"There'll be no service today
The raids come tomorrow, dwell not on your sorrow
By nightfall we must be away"

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Sompolinski the tailor on the eve of Rosh Hashana
Gathers his family near
"The Lord is my light and salvation
Whom on this earth shall I fear?"
When a young Danish gentile steps into the glow
Of the candle with tears flowing down
"Good neighbors flee - I pray you believe me"
And as quickly the young man is gone

Christian policemen, shopkeepers, and teachers
Tell their friends of the quickening storm
While students on bicycles race through the streets
Searching for Jews to be warned
And Katlev the foreman blurts out to the trainman
"My family has no place to hide"
"Well bring 'em to my house, " the stranger replies
"And we'll spit in the damn Nazi's eyes"

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

Ellen Nielsen the fishwife in the port of Dragør
Has no use for political views
She'll call out the catch, "Fresh salmon, fresh cod"
Comes a whisper "Please help, we are Jews"
"But if you are Jews you're not safe on the street
I know a man with a sail"
Till moonrise they sleep in the shade of her eaves
And escape on the fisherman's keel

Rabbi Melchior hires a young trawlerman
To ferry his family across
After twelve hours afloat in a scurfy old boat
Morning light shows the same Danish coast
Says the skipper "I'm afraid of the German blockade
So we've motored in circles around"
The rabbi gives a shout, with one blow knocks him out
And steers a straight line 'cross the sound

Frozen with fright in the October night
Families huddle in basements and barns
Mistaking each breath for the angel of death
The Gestapo, the shot, the alarm
Then down into the hold with the stench and the cold
And drug all the babies with schnapps
Someone shouts, "Valkömmen till Sverige
You are in Swedish waters at last"

Seven thousands of Jews smuggled over to Sweden
By fishermen, nurses, and priests
Hitler sends Eichmann to hunt them down
But his quarry have vanished like mist
When the war's over the Jews return
Cheers and flowers adorn their way home
"We're not heroes or martyrs, " so say the Danes
"We were just looking after our own"

And it's fire up the diesel and look out for swells
We're leaving Espergaerde behind us
Who strike at our friends strike us as well
We'll pray the patrol boats don't find us
When the sirens are wailing and shouts fill the night
Never will you stand alone
So it's over the Oresund
Till the day we can welcome you home

And today we will welcome you home
And today we welcome you home
Written by Fred Small • Copyright © Frederick E. Small D/B/A Pine Barrens Music

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