Lois Lowry's Blog



Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I had an email from a man in Denmark who told me that he had been rescued in 1943, taken to Sweden in a fishing boat, like Ellen Rosen in NUMBER THE STARS.  He wanted to know where I found the information about the mixture of rabbit blood and cocaine, because, he said, no one in Denmark, including scientists, knew anything about that.

I gulped, because I wrote the book over 20 years ago. No computer then, and I've moved twice since. So I no longer have the research notes.  I became fearful that perhaps I had simply heard the story and accepted it as true, thereby doing what so many other people have done in repeating the myth that the king of Denmark wore a yellow star in sympathy with the Jews. That never happened, and I cringe whenever I hear the false story repeated.

But I started looking, and--whew. Amazingly, I found an obituary  for Dr. Ernst Trier Morch, one of the people who concocted the mixture that saved Jewish lives. Then I kept looking and found more details:

Fishing boat captains were paid (sometimes with stolen

money, according to Mørch) to smuggle the Jewish

people into neutral Sweden, some 5 to 15 miles by water.

When the Gestapo started to use bloodhounds to detect

Jewish people hidden below false bottoms of the boats,

Mørch and a pharmacist friend developed a rabbitblood-

and-cocaine powder that was sprinkled on the

decks to anesthetize the dogs’ noses. To quiet hidden

children, barbiturate suppositories were distributed to

their parents, and Swedish physicians were made available

on debarkation especially to look after the comatose

and deeply sedated infants 

All the Jewish people who were smuggled into Sweden


and also a picture of Dr. Morch, wearing the medals given him by the Danish government after the war:

Ernst Morch copy

So there you have it: another hero from that time. Dr. Morch died in 1995, at the age of 87. 

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Dorothy Menosky Monday, 29 November 1999

Ok, this is not an earth shaking comment, but - I remember Ponds as a hand cream, not a soap.

Anne Gallivan Monday, 29 November 1999

Twenty years ago, our neighborhood added a beautiful pond with a strong feed from a brook. I don't think it lasted more than a week before it flooded over and carried loads of mud and gravel down to a fish hatchery in the valley below, wiping out hundreds of fish in various stages of growth. It was devastating to the developer, and the gravel-banked hole is now overgrown with young birch trees and scrub growth - a sad reminder of what might have been...

T. Crockett Monday, 29 November 1999

When I read the title I thought "that sounds a lot like last night's Madmen". Do you watch that show? I think it is Ponds that the ad execs are trying to come up with a way to sell, and all the market tests are showing that use of the product should be related to getting a man.
Good luck with the pond. I somehow had no idea that nature sustaining ponds could be created by people. It's going to be beautiful I'm sure.

Anne Gallivan Monday, 29 November 1999

The escaped pond that I wrote about already is the opposite of the healthy man-made pond I visited in Hartland, where I swam with a friend. She reports that the pond is completely healthy, requires no maintenance, and provides good habitat for frogs and other life. I hope you get the green flag for such an addition.

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Yes, it was Pond's Face Cream, apparently!
Thanks, Anne, for your second post! The first one made me very nervous!
Test holes are being dug at this very moment. All the signs look good.

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