In the fall of 1939, a group of 150 Czech Jewish teenagers said goodbye to their families and friends, and boarded a train to Denmark. For many, it was the last time they’d see or hug their parents — because their families, the ones who stayed behind in then-Czechoslovakia, for the most part, perished.
At the ages of 14 to 16, the youngsters had started a new life. Their escape was planned by the youth division of the Jewish Agency (Aliyat Hanoar, or Jugend Aliyah) in affiliation with Zionist youth groups like Maccabi Hatzair as well as a Danish peace league and several Jewish communities.

They were taken in by ordinary Danish families; they lived in foster homes and worked on farms. Why farms? It was more than a means of escape. One of the goals of the youth groups was to prepare a class of Jewish land-tilling pioneers for future settlement in the State of Israel. (The plan worked. Many of those who made their way to Mandate Palestine or Israel ended up working in natural sciences or on the large farms of kibbutzim in the north.)
In Denmark, life was relatively good for the Lucky Ones: They were spared the fate of so many other Jews during the Holocaust, and they didn’t need to wear a yellow star. Nonetheless, they were refugees, and as the war raged on, the Nazis were ever-present.
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