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Subdeacon Joe

Another Hero Passes

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Knud Dyby of Novato, who helped spare the lives of thousands of Danish Jews during the Holocaust in a historic coup against the Nazis, died Sept. 8. He was 96.


During World War II when he was in his 20s, Mr. Dyby participated in an underground mobilization in 1943 that smuggled virtually all of the 8,000 Jews living in Denmark across the narrow body of water between Denmark and Sweden within a matter of weeks, keeping them out of the hands of the Nazis who were occupying Denmark at the time.


Mr. Dyby, who was born in Randers, Denmark in 1915, emigrated to the United States after World War II, settling in Novato.


Nearly 40 years passed before Mr. Dyby received much recognition for his valor. In the 1980s, when many Holocaust survivors finally began speaking out about their experiences, Mr. Dyby started talking to groups about his story.


"It was never about promoting himself. He was very humble in that regard," said Lynne Wasley, co-founder of United for Safe Schools Novato. "It was about the message."


Wasley met Mr. Dyby in 2004 when he was participating in an educational program for children called No More Scapegoats. The program used the life and times of Anne Frank to illustrate the need to confront racism and intolerance today.


Wasley said Mr. Dyby warned his audiences that the Holocaust is an example of what can happen when good people fail to stand up to hate.

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