After the Rescue

PDF-file by Andrew Buckser

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In October of 1943, the Danish resistance rescued almost all of the Jews in Copenhagen from roundups by the occupying Nazis. In the years since, Jews have become deeply engaged in a Danish culture that presents very few barriers of anti-Semitism or prejudice. This telling ethnographic study explores the questions that such inclusion raises for the Danish Jews, and what their answers can tell us about the meaning of religion, ethnicity, and community in modern society.

Social scientists have long argued that modernity poses challenges to traditional ethnic communities, by breaking down the networks of locality, kinship, religion and occupation that have held such communities together. For Danish Jews, inclusion into the larger society has led to increasing fragmentation, as the community has split into a bewlidering array of religious, social, and political factions. The community's persistent vitality in the face of such fragmentation, and the ongoing importance of Jewishness to the self-identity of its members, points to a new understanding of the meaning of ethnic community in contemporary society.

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