On September 28, 1943, a high-level Nazi attaché serving in Copenhagen, Denmark wrote these words in his diary as he made the boldest decision of his entire life. Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz had served the Third Reich in its occupation of Denmark for about four years, despite his personal abhorrence of the Nazi mission. And he’d just received word that in two days, all of Denmark’s Jews would be rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to concentration camps. That’s when he snapped into action.
Duckwitz quickly made his way to the office of politician and Danish resistance leader Hans Hedtoft and delivered his crucial message. The resistance then mobilized one of the most remarkable rescue efforts of the Holocaust, with 7,220 of Denmark’s roughly 7,800 Jews immediately ferried off to Sweden under the cover of night. By the time the Nazis tore through the entire country on October 1 to round up all of its Jews, they found only a few hundred remaining nationwide and declared their failed campaign over by just 1 a.m.