History of the Jews in Denmark

History Of The Jews In Denmark

History of the Jews in Denmark

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The Jewish community of Denmark constitutes a small minority with a known history back to the 17th century.


Medieval Danish art contains depictions of Jews – visibly wearing pointed hats – but there is no evidence any Jews actually lived in Denmark during that time. With the conclusion of the Danish Reformation in 1536, Jews along with Catholics were prohibited entry into Denmark.

The first known settlement on Danish territory was based on a royal dispensation. When the industrious Christian IV founded Glückstadt on the river Elbe in today's Schleswig-Holstein, he allowed one Jewish merchant, Albert Dionis, to settle in the city. This dispensation was extended to a few other Jews, and in 1628 their status was formalized by being promised protection, the right to hold private religious services, and maintain their own cemetery. Albert Dionis rose to special status within the Danish royal court, apparently being a source of credit for ambitious projects. Gabriel Gomez, who also attained this status, persuaded Frederik III to give general leave for Sephardic Jews to reside in Denmark for purposes of conducting trade. Although this was limited to Sephardim, a number of Ashkenazim were granted letters of safe passage and settled in the kingdom in the coming years.

Of special note is perhaps the story of Gabriel Milan, who converted to Christianity and became governor of the Danish West Indies in 1684, only to be executed in 1689 for corruption and abuse of......
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