Hour of Need is a graphic novel telling the true story of the resistance to Nazi rule in Denmark during World War II and the heroes that saved the Danish Jews by helping them evacuate to Sweden.
In the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, legend had it that should danger ever come to Denmark, the mighty warrior Holger Danske promised to wake from his centuries-long slumber to protect its citizens.
When the Nazis move to round up young Mette and her fellow Danish Jews in a surprise raid in 1943 after years of letting Denmark rule its people, her father must make life and death decisions to save his family. Overnight, they have become refugees at the mercy of the complete strangers they meet during their escape. The mythical Holger Danske's promise to the Danish people manifests in the compassion and bravery of a school teacher turned resistance leader and other ordinary citizens who bravely defy the Nazi regime to come to her rescue in her hour of need.
Told from the point of view of Mette returning to Denmark years later with her grandchildren, Hour of Need tells the story of how the people of an occupied nation--from king to fisherman--risked their lives to evacuate their Jewish countrymen to Sweden in small fishing boats. Hour of Need is a tribute to the heroes that saved the Danish Jews and how humanity triumphs in the darkest hours.
Developed in partnership with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Find out more at ilholocaustmuseum.org.
About the Author
Ralph Shayne is an entrepreneur and finance professional, and the son of a mother who was a Danish citizen until she married an American and immigrated to the United States in the 1960s. Born and raised in Chicago, his mere existence is predicated on being the offspring of a mother who was part of the one in ten European Jewish children to survive the War because of the rare bravery, compassion and exploits of her fellow Danish citizens.
Tatiana Goldberg is a Danish comics illustrator born in Frederiksberg and now living in Hillerød. Her work with illustration and comics has been informed by her background as a licensed psychologist specializing in psychological tools in visual design.
This graphic historical fiction of the Nazi Resistance in Denmark during World War II begins in present-day as Mette visits Denmark with her grandchildren, and alternates with the daring story of the Danish people who saved the lives of its Jewish community through heroic resistance. Included is the story of King Christian and the apocryphal tale of him riding on horseback with a star of David to show solidarity; the story of "Svend Otto Nielsen," pseudonymously known as John, who fearlessly sabotaged the German attempts to deport Danish Jews to concentration camps; and the stories of everyday Danes who, without reservation, aided in evacuating most of the Danish Jews into Sweden. The book also introduces readers to Jewish culture in Denmark. Danish culture is also covered, specifically the Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tale version of the mighty warrior Holger Danske, who became a symbol of the Danish resistance to the Nazis. The full-color artwork is dramatic, with dark shadows portraying their harrowing escape and realistic drawings showing landmarks in Denmark. Recommended purchase for libraries looking for stories of heroic acts by everyday citizens, less-than-well-known stories of resistance to Nazi Germany, and the saving of a majority of the Danish Jewish population. — School Library Journal
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