Paying the Ultimate Price
Henry Christian and Ellen Margrethe Thomsen
Henry Christian Thomsen, an active member of the Danish resistance and an innkeeper in the village of Snekkersten in North Zealand, Denmark, saved the lives of hundreds of persecuted Jews by assisting them to reach Sweden. He paid for this with his life.
Thomsen and his wife Ellen became involved in resistance activity in its early stages, taking part in illegal cargo shipments into Sweden. When information about the deportation of Jews of Denmark leaked out in October 1943, Thomsen joined the underground endeavor to transfer the Jews to Sweden. His inn soon became the meeting place of the fishermen of the area involved in the rescue operation. Soon the number of refugees increased so greatly that it became difficult to arrange their transfer. Thomsen decided to buy a small fishing boat and take the passengers to Sweden himself. However, before long he was arrested by the Gestapo. Luckily, he was acquitted on charges of smuggling Jews out of Sweden as there was no clear evidence against him. Yet despite the danger, he went on with his rescue operations until the Gestapo arrested him for a second time. This time he was deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp in Germany, where he died on 4 December 1944.
On August 29, 1968, Yad Vashem recognized Henry Christian Thomsen and his wife Ellen Margrethe as Righteous Among the Nations.