Ambassador Riggelsen, Consul General of Denmark, Speaks at Friday Morning Meeting
On March 8, the Middle and Upper School boys learned about Denmark’s role in helping the Jewish people during World War II from Ambassador Anne Riggelsen, Consul General of Denmark, whose visit was made possible by an organization called Thanks to Scandinavia. This organization offers scholarships to Scandinavian students to study in Israel or the US in honor of the rescue of Danish Jews during World War II.
All of the boys in the audience were familiar with the history of the Jewish people in Denmark during World War II having read Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, in Fourth Grade. It is a work of historical fiction, describing the life of a Jewish family and their escape from Copenhagen, during the war. The fourth graders, who recently completed the book, helped prep the older boys for this assembly by going into advisories to play games and quiz them about the book using Kahoot.
The Ambassador opened the presentation by announcing that it was International Women’s Day and explained that in many countries around the world women don’t have the rights they should have. She went on to say that it is the responsibility of the world to help with equality. “Equality is the theme underpinning the story [Number the Stars] you know so well.” She described Denmark’s geography, pointing out that to understand international affairs you have to study geography. She walked through Denmark’s occupation by the Germans during World War II and explained that almost all of the Jews in Denmark were saved because of the view that the Danish people took: “Don’t look at Denmark as a country of people but look at yourselves as a community that helps each other.” The answer was, “They are our Jews.”
Ambassador Riggelson closed by suggesting that the boys do further research into one particular hero from this story, Georg Duckwitz, a German diplomat who worked undercover in Denmark, and how his role helped to save the Jewish people.