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Jorgen R. Jenk; Dane Who Helped Jews Escape Nazis

May 07, 1988|From Times Wire Services

LONDON — Jorgen R. Jenk, a key member of the Danish Resistance in World II who helped rescue thousands of Jews and later became head of the prestigious silverware firm George Jensen Inc. in New York, has died. He was 65.

Jenk died Tuesday at Charing Cross Hospital of heart and liver failure, said his wife, Faith Jenk.

Jenk joined the Resistance as a student and was involved in underground newspapers and acts of sabotage.

Operating under the code name "Finn," he was part of an operation that smuggled most of Denmark's 8,000 Jews to safety in Sweden in 1943.

Wanted by the Gestapo, he fled to Sweden and then England, where he joined the London-based Special Operations Executive, which was organizing sabotage behind German lines.

Jenk parachuted back into Denmark in 1944 as one of about 50 Danish agents of the Special Operations Executive. Ole Lippmann, chief of the Danish Resistance, picked him as his right-hand man.

"He was a very courageous and very energetic officer," Lippmann recalled in a telephone interview from his Denmark office.

After the war Jenk returned to England and joined the colonial service and was posted to Nigeria, then a British colony.

In 1950 he returned to Denmark and worked for an export company before joining Fisons, the British fertilizer giant. In 1959 he went to Bombay and helped found a partnership between Fisons and the Tata group, creating the largest industrial conglomerate in India.

After working in Switzerland he moved to New York and from 1965 to 1969 was president of George Jensen on 5th Avenue before ill health forced his retirement four years ago.

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