U.S. Christians Who Saved Jews from Nazis Featured in Film Created by Disney with Holocaust Scholars

News Release
September 20, 2016

The inspiring efforts by a handful of American Christians to save Jews from the Nazis will be featured in the new documentary, “Defying the Nazis,” which will air on PBS this week. This amazing story of Holocaust heroism is also highlighted in “Rescue Over the Mountains,” an animated short created for schools by Disney Educational Productions and The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.

“Rescue Over the Mountains” may be viewed by visiting www.theyspokeout.com (Choose the “Episodes” tab.) It is part of a seven-episode series, “They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust,” created by the unique team of Disney’s educational division, legendary comic book artist Neal Adams, and Holocaust historian Dr. Rafael Medoff. This dramatic 12-minute film is designed for classroom use; a teacher’s guide is available by contacting info@wymaninstitute.org

“Rescue Over the Mountains” blends animation, comic book-style illustrations, and period film footage to chronicle the work of the rescue network established and led in Vichy France in 1940-1941 by American journalist Varian Fry. Key members of Fry’s group included dissident U.S. consul Hiram Bingham IV, ex-wrestler Charles Fawcett, and Unitarian minister Rev. Waitstill Sharp and his wife, Martha. The Sharps are featured in this week’s PBS film. (Check local listings for the PBS broadcast in your area.)

Fry’s rescue effort was halted in 1941 by the Roosevelt administration, in response to complaints by the Nazis. The administration forced Fry to leave France by refusing to renew his passport, on the grounds that he had been “carrying on activities evading the laws of countries with which the United States maintains friendly relations.” The United States had not yet entered the war, and the Roosevelt administration still maintained friendly relations with Nazi Germany.