Outside Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Israel, there is a special place called the Avenue of the Righteous. Rows of trees are planted there to commemorate people who risked their lives to save Jews from the death camps. Some were able to save dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of lives. One person, however - Georg Duckwitz - was responsible for saving the population of an entire country... and he was a Nazi official!
Of all the countries Germany invaded, Denmark received the most lenient treatment. Until 1943, Germany had been leery of antagonizing Denmark, and its Jewish citizens had been largely left alone. However, Hitler was impatient. He ordered that the crackdown on Denmark's Jews begin. The plan was to load the captured Jews on a pair of ships bound for a concentration camp. When Duckwitz, who had been stationed in Denmark, heard about it, he warned his Danish friends that on October 2nd, the Germans were planning a raid on Jewish homes.
The word soon spread. Quickly, Danish citizens went into action, calling to warn everyone they knew, hiding Jewish friends in their homes and finding hiding places for others. A fleet of fishing boats was organized to transport them to safety in Sweden, a neutral country nearby. Everything the Germans could do to stop their escape proved ineffective. In only two weeks, virtually all of Denmark's Jewish citizens had been rescued.
Although some were captured, all but 53 of Denmark's almost 8,000 Jewish citizens survived. And that is how one Nazi official, who feared God, ended up saving the Jewish population of an entire country.