Oral History

Tove Schoenbaum Bamberger describes escape to Sweden

Germany occupied Denmark in April 1940. The Danish government remained in existence and was able to protect Jews in Denmark from anti-Jewish measures. In late August 1943, however, the Danish government resigned after refusing to accede to new German demands. In early October 1943, German police began arresting Jews. Tove and her family decided to flee. They made their way to the fishing village of Snekkersten, from where they were able to sail to safety in Sweden. Tove returned to Denmark in May 1945.


I remember I was so proud of myself. I was the only one not being seasick. And we stayed very quietly and the boat went out. And when we were in the middle of the ocean between Sweden--it was about 30 minutes into Sweden--between Sweden and Denmark, a big boat came and we were afraid it was Germans because there were soldiers on it, they were dressed, they looked just like Germans. But it was a Swedish patrol boat that came to pick us up. They came in Swedish waters. They were allowed to go out and the Germans couldn't--then we were safe--the Germans couldn't do anything. There came the big boat and they helped us up from the fishing boat. And we stayed on the deck, then we were, we were saved. And we went into a little harbor in Sweden. I think it was right outside, uh, Helsingborg. Helsingborg. Yeah, Helsingborg. And, you know, they're welcoming us; and they all look like Germans because the Swedes, they were wearing the same dresses. And we came in and we, uh, got coffee, tea, and, and they told us where we could stay. They put us actually in the Grand Hotel. It's called the Grand Hotel. They paid for the suites, paid for everything, and they said we could stay there till if we had any relatives in Sweden we could go to them. I think we stayed about a week. And every day my parents would go down to the harbor to see if my grandparents had come. They were still...and, and, and an old aunt I had, my grandfather's sister. They were still in Denmark when we fled. And a few days later, four, five, days later, they came on another fishing boat.


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