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Documentary on rescue of Jews to be shown Saturday at Unitarian Church

Published 6:18 am, Tuesday, May 27, 2014
  • "Two Who Dared: The Sharps' War" is the story of a Massachusetts minister and his wife who risked their lives to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution at the onset of World War II. Photo: Westport News/Contributed Photo / Westport News
    "Two Who Dared: The Sharps' War" is the story of a Massachusetts minister and his wife who risked their lives to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution at the onset of World War II. Photo: Westport News/Contributed Photo

 

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A documentary film about a Massachusetts minister and his wife who completed two daring missions to rescue European Jews from Nazi persecution will be screened Saturday evening at the Unitarian Church in Westport.

"Two Who Dared: The Sharps' War" will be shown at 8 p.m. at the 10 Lyons Plains Road church. The screening of the 2013 documentary is sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Westport and Weston.

The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served at 7:30 p.m.

The film chronicles the work of Unitarian minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha, a social worker, who made trips to Czechoslovakia and France at the onset of World War II to obtain exit visas for hundred of Jews and shepherd them to safety, Interfaith Council officials said.

Seventeen other Unitarian ministers were asked to volunteer, but declined. Then, in February 1939, the Sharps committed to the life-threatening missions, leaving their two young children with their congregation in Wellesley, Mass.

To obtain visas for the Jews, the Sharps broke laws, became involved with the black market and laundered money, according to the Internet Movie Database. Then, they worked with underground conspirators to transport the refugees from Prague in 1939 and from the south of France in 1940.

Director Artemis Joukowsky shot the film in Europe, Israel and the U.S.

In 2006, the Sharps were recognized by the state of Israel as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem. Of about 25,000 honored, three were Americans -- the Sharps and U.S. journalist Varian Fry.

Fry used forged documents to rescue an estimated 2,000 Jews and anti-Nazi dissidents, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.