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Hour of Need

The Daring Escape of the Danish Jews during World War II: A Graphic Novel

Illustrated by Tatiana Goldberg
Published by Yellow Jacket
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

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About The Book

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

About The Illustrator

Product Details

  • Publisher: Yellow Jacket (September 12, 2023)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781499813579
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

A winning blend of inspiring history, page-turning action, and awesome comics!

– Steve Sheinkin, author of Bomb

Absolutely amazing! A brilliant, beautifully-written tale of hope and heroism that must be read. To
never forget means to tell stories afresh which remind all future generations of the power of courage,
kindness, and resolute determination - especially in the face of evil. Hour of Need is an outright
triumph!

– Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Rising Tiger

80 years have passed since the action against the Jews in Denmark and we are now at a crossroads where it is becoming even more important to hear and preserve the testimonies and remember what happened. Ralph Shayne has turned his mother's experiences into a well told graphic novel (aided by the beautiful artwork of Tatiana Goldberg) that opens the story up for a younger audience and helps us all to remember, in a nuanced way. Hour of Need is recommended reading.

– The Danish Jewish Museum

Rather than focusing exclusively on their rescuers, Shayne depicts Jews in a way that gives them agency. Hour of Need is a story about how the Danish people enabled the survival of Jews like Mette. It is also about a family who nearly lost their Jewish identity-but didn't.

– Jewish Book Council

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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