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Book and Media Reviews
January 14, 2009

Resistance Fighter

JAMA. 2009;301(2):225. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.923

Resistance Fighter is one of those unique texts that highlights an infamous period in history while documenting the courage and character of an individual—in this instance, Danish physician Jorgen Kieler. Born in Horsens, Denmark, in 1919, he emerged in 1943 as one of the founders of the Danish students' resistance organization, The Free Denmark Student Group.

The group was strongly involved in the struggle against the German occupational troops and their Danish collaborators. Their activities comprised prodemocratic publications, sabotage of factories for German war materials, and the disruption of transport lines used by the German army but did not include direct military attacks against armed German forces. Weapons for the resistance movements were dropped over clandestine reception positions in Denmark by the British Royal Air Force. Among the most valuable activities of the Danish underground movements during the 5-year occupation period was the transport of the Danish Jewish population to neutral Sweden just before the German holocaust initiatives reached Denmark in October 1943. A total of 7056 Danish Jews (around 91% of the Jewish population) were eventually brought to safety in Sweden. Of the many instances of industrial sabotage, one even made headlines in the United States: “Danes Blow Up Plant Making German Arms” (New York Times, December 13, 1943).

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