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Listen to the audioguide: "A terrible day for all of Gilleleje"
A TERRIBLE DAY FOR ALL OF GILLELEJE
Kjeldgaard Jensen was the parish priest of Gilleleje. In early October 1943, he and his wife received a phone call from a Reverend Bartholdy in Copenhagen. He told them about the many Jewish refugees that would soon be arriving in Gilleleje. On Confirmation Sunday, 3 October, he gave a sermon in which he outlined the duty of the church to object to the persecution of the Jews. He would later willingly make the church loft available as a hiding place for the many refugees that came to the village.
CHURCH RECORDS OF GILLELEJE (SIGNED BY KJELDGAARD JENSEN)
5 October 1943 was a terrible day for all of Gilleleje. This was the day the German occupation forces carried out a raid looking for any Jews in the village. This was repeated during the following days, and many known and previously [unknown] Jews (estimated at 1200–1300) had taken refuge here – both in private houses and, unfortunately, also in the church loft and parish hall. Unluckily for us, the Gestapo and police forces stormed these premises. I, the undersigned parish priest, had been up in the loft on numerous occasions to help and give comfort in the desperate situation that had unfolded. Probably 100 Jews were taken to Horserød Prison Camp, from which they have since left – but for where? …
Kjeldgaard Jensen and his wife were forced to go into hiding. The events that occurred during the night between 6 and 7 October left the priest scarred for the rest of his life. He felt a personal responsibility for the people who had been captured in his church, and the traumatizing events during the war were a major factor leading to his premature death in 1952.