All Americans Should Wear a Yellow Badge — and a Crescent One, Too

Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House has given us ample reason to fear what he will do once in office. He has made threats and boasted of being the man to get things done. He has also indicated, if less convincingly, that he can change his mind. We should persuade him to change his mind on his plan to register Muslims.

Being patriotic has not persuaded Trump that Muslims should be treated like everyone else. Decorations for valor count for nothing.

In Nazi-occupied Europe, Jews had to register under the Nazi Nuremberg Laws. This was the first step in finding who they were and where they were, forcing them to wear a yellow badge of the Star of David, ending with the seizure of property and the murder of millions.

But there was one European country where this did not happen. Germany’s small neighbor, Denmark, had barely resisted the German invasion, capitulating within a few hours. Yet during the occupation that followed, Jews were not forced to comply with Nuremberg Laws. According to popular legend, the Danish King wore the badge and told his fellow Danes to do the same, forcing the Germans to back down.

Because in fact the King never actually wore a badge, some say it is a myth, an invention by a Jewish writer (Leon Uris), or propaganda by Danish-Americans to boost themselves during World War II. Certainly stories circulated about the King, perhaps as myths do - to explain the apparently inexplicable.

But something did happen, because there were no yellow star clad Jews in Denmark. Danes, including the King, did help Jews escape to neighboring neutral Sweden. In fact the King may have had some influence on events. In his private journals at that time, he wrote:

“When you look at the inhumane treatment of Jews, not only in Germany but occupied countries as well, you start worrying that such a demand might also be put on us, but we must clearly refuse such this due to their protection under the Danish constitution. I stated that I could not meet such a demand towards Danish citizens. If such a demand is made, we would best meet it by all wearing the Star of David.”

What may be understood, I suggest, is that King told the German representatives that if they went ahead, then he would say how Danes should respond. The Germans did not press their plan.

We too should not accept Trump’s demand for a registration system. A proportionate response could outflank this flamboyant President-to-be. Not just Jews, but all US citizens, should register as Muslims, in solidarity. But mere registration is too private an act. So if that does not persuade Mr Trump, then inviting everyone to wear a badge – perhaps combining the Star of David with the Muslim Crescent –makes the point clear enough.

This story "All Americans Should Wear a Yellow Badge — and a Crescent One, Too" was written by Richard Hallmark.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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