Mazal - Luck and fortune
Listen to the audioguide: "Fishermen in Gilleleje" (MP3)
FISHERMEN IN GILLELEJE
By 1943, the 27-strong fishing fleet of Gilleleje was the next largest in the Helsingør region, not to mention several unregistered boats. During the first days of the evacuation, fishermen were cautious about sailing Jews across the Öresund, because of the risk of detection, even though they stood to earn often quite large amounts of money in the process. But since the first trips across were uneventful and without any hitches, more and more fishermen became involved in the transport until more than one third of the fleet ended up being actively involved in sailing Jewish refugees to Sweden.
THE FLYVBJERG EPISODE
Several sailing ships often lay anchored up in Gilleleje harbour, as they often did in the advent of bad weather on such trips as from Copenhagen to Jylland. On 6 October 1943, 20–30 sailing ships were anchored in the harbour, and among these was Captain Gunnar Flyvbjerg with his schooner M.A. Flyvbjerg.
Captain Flyvbjerg had been contacted by that morning by lecturer Mogens Schmidt, who had informed him of the refugees’ current plight and convinced him to transport a group of Jews at noon that day – when the Gestapo would be in Helsingør.
Around 11:00, Flyvbjerg docked his schooner at the pier in the middle of the harbour, and the rumour of the arrival of a large schooner soon spread through the village. In no time at all, various groups of Jews with their helpers ran towards the harbour. The sight of hundreds of refugees hurrying through the village left a lasting impression on everyone who witnessed it. A sense of confusion and a rather tense atmosphere soon developed in the harbour, and this gave rise to rumours of the impending arrival of the Germans.
The crowd suddenly shouted “The Germans are coming!”, and this caused Flyvbjerg to suddenly disembark. Several families were left divided when the schooner unexpectedly left the pier and Flyvbjerg himself did not receive the agreed payment. In total, 187 Jews.