- In Pictures
- Taste of Tribeca
- Under Cover
The yacht, “Lady M,” which stands in for “Nadine” in the film, is for sale for 11.9 million. It has what the sales brochure describes as “honey-glazed maple joinery” and “exquisite accents of gold and neutral tones throughout.” It has five staterooms, an outdoor Jacuzzi and a dining room that can seat 12. Most people will have to wait for the film to see this splendor.
“The Wolf of Wall Street,” in which DiCaprio plays Belfort, is scheduled for release in 2013.NV Salon & Spa opens at 1 World Financial Center:
The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Gerda III:
Tied to a dock at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, a lighthouse tender sports a huge Danish flag on its stern. The little white boat, the Gerda III, belongs to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. It was given to the museum by the Danish parliament in recognition of what the Gerda III and its crew did in October 1943, when Germans attempted to round up Denmark’s Jewish population for extermination.
Gerda III is in Mystic rather than Manhattan because the Mystic Seaport, a world-renowned maritime museum, has a full-time staff to care for the boat and make it accessible to the public.
Over a period of several weeks, the 46-foot-long Gerda III made numerous trips across the sound that separates Copenhagen, Denmark from Sweden — each time with 10 to 15 Jews packed into its tiny hold. In Sweden, which was neutral, the Jews were safe from Hitler’s Nazis. The little ship and its brave crew saved 300 lives.
Almost 70 years have passed since then, but the story of the rescuers and the rescued remains as gripping as when it happened.
In 1943, there were 7,500 Jews living in Denmark. Germany had occupied the country since April 1940, but the Danes were able to maintain rule of their government with little interference. Jewish life also went on as it had before.
That all changed on Sept. 29, 1943. The day before, a senior German official, G. F. Duckwitz, had quietly alerted some senior members of the Danish government that the Jews were going to be rounded up and sent to concentration camps beginning in October. The Danish officials contacted the heads of the Jewish community and told them to urge everyone to flee. Danes — Jewish and non-Jewish — went door to door to Jewish households with the news.
By the night of Oct. 1, when the Germans came, most Jews had fled. Hidden in trucks and in ambulances, they were driven to the coast, where they were surreptitiously ferried to Sweden. Several hundred ships took part in the rescue. Gerda III was one of them. More than 7,000 people were saved — almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark.
At the time, a 19-year-old named Henny Sinding was working for a lighthouse tender business that her father managed. The Gerda III’s crew approached her to ask her help and her father’s permission to use the boat to rescue the Jews.
“Henny’s father gave tacit permission,” said Anita Kassof, deputy director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, “and thereafter for that critical month of October she would leave her parents’ house at one in the morning to go smuggle Jews, and her parents essentially just looked the other way.”
A video called “Rescuers” in the Museum of Jewish Heritage honors people such as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler who aided the Jews. The segment about the rescue of the Danish Jews is simply entitled “Denmark.”
Henny Sinding appears in the video as Henny Sinding Sundø — her married name — by then a woman in late middle age with a weathered, sunburned face. “Why should the Germans kill our Danes?” she asks in the video. “They were Danes like we were. Danes? Jews? They were just Danes.”
Of her role in the rescue, which would have resulted in imprisonment and death had she been caught, she says, “Nobody — he or she — thinks that they are heroes because it was not a very heroic thing to do. It was just a natural thing to do.”
Harmony on the Hudson:
Harmony on the Hudson is the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s much-loved finale to its extraordinary line-up of mostly free summer programming. This year, the program, which offers music, dancing, face painting and street games, takes place on Sun., Oct. 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Wagner Park. As always, folk singer Tom Chapin and friends will be there, as will Hazmat Modine, Double Dutch Divas and the Bread and Puppet Theater with giant puppets. Don’t miss it!
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, e-mail Terese Loeb Kreuzer at TereseLoeb10@gmail.com.