Assignment: Rescue

Released 2011


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Movie Summary

Richard Kaplan
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ASSIGNMENT: RESCUE.... is the dramatic account of Varian Fry, a New York journalist sent to Marseilles in 1940 by the Emergency Rescue Committee. His assignment was to help save scores of anti-Nazi refugees trapped in France and hunted by the Gestapo. Fry soon became a veritable Scarlet Pimpernel and was responsible for the rescue of hundreds of anti Nazis, including many of Europe's most distinguished artists, writers and scholars: among them Andre Breton, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and Hannah Arendt. The narration, spoken by celebrated actress Meryl Streep, provides the historical context for this compelling but little known tale of a young American who helped save several thousand political and intellectual refugees in the early years of World War IIASSIGNMENT: RESCUE springs from Richard Kaplan's Emmy Award winning production, THE EXILES, the feature length documentary which first brought Varian Fry to America's attention. The film makes extensive use not only of Fry's papers, but also of a large collection of his photographs, many taken by Fry himself. The narration complements Varian Fry's own words, which are drawn from his correspondence and private papers. Fry died in 1967, an unknown American Schindler, his courage largely unrecognized. Only recently has the United States begun to honor this authentic American hero. In 1996 Varian Fry became the only American to be honored as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. In the words of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, "We owe Varian Fry our deepest gratitude, but we also owe him a promise - a promise never to forget the horrors that he struggled against so heroically, a promise to do whatever is necessary to ensure that such horrors never happen again."moreless

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