Lidegaard's new book, Countrymen, is about the escape of Danish Jews from Nazi persecution in September and October 1943. It is a unique history about a unique exemption from the Holocaust. The great majority of the Danish Jews managed to escape.
The book is cast in 14 chapters covering each one day. They are all based on documentation written that day, reflecting the concerns, actions and feelings of both the refugees, of the Nazis and those of the surrounding Danish community. By keeping so close to real time in 1943, the book reflects all the uncertainty, doubts and anxiety of those who lived through those crucial days.
Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Lidegaard's reply:
Madeleine K. Albright's Winter in Prague, which covers much of the same ground as Countrymen, yet seen from Czechoslovakia and London. Albright writes masterly about the dilemmas facing the fragile Czech state facing Nazism and she has the courage and integrity of not passing easy judgments on the politicians and bureaucrats facing impossible choices. Her book has been an inspiration for an account from Denmark dealing with similar hard questions.Learn more about Countrymen at the Knopf website.
The Page 99 Test: Countrymen.