Rescue operations and heroes during the Second World War.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Good Germans, WW2 Special Forces, War Reporters, WWII POWs, Legends, Heroes, Schindlers List, Operation Halyard.
Holocaust: How Spanish 'Angel of Budapest' Sanz Briz saved Jews
Thousands of Holocaust survivors and their descendants escaped the Nazis thanks to a Spanish diplomat nicknamed "the Angel of Budapest" - yet the late Angel Sanz Briz is hardly known in Spain today.
Diana Budisavljevic helped rescue 7,500 mostly Serbian children from wartime Croatia's death camps
In any Balkan country the names of war criminals are well-known. But the names of people who have moved humanity in a positive direction are often hidden from the public eye. That is the case with Diana Budisavljevic, whose heroics in rescuing thousands of lives during World War II-era Croatia went unrecognized for more than half a century. A few years ago, Croatian film producer Dana Budisavljevic was visiting the former concentration camp at Jasenovac when her last name caught the attention of the memorial center's director.
Marion Pritchard, Who Risked Her Life to Rescue Jewish Kids From Nazis, Dies at 96
Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, has passed away at 96. `By 1945, I had lied, stolen, cheated, deceived and even killed,` Ms. Pritchard said in a lecture in 1996 at the University of Michigan, where she received the Wallenberg Medal, a humanitarian award given by the university in memory of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.
Film tells of unsung Japanese hero who saved 6,000 Jews in WWII
Chiune Sugihara was a diplomat who is sometimes called the `Schindler of Japan.` Like Oskar Schindler in Germany, Sugihara saved the lives of many Jews during World War II. Stationed in Lithuania in 1940, he issued visas to perhaps 6,000 refugees fleeing the Nazis — against the orders of his foreign ministry — allowing them to escape to Japan and then to other countries. Though he was a national hero in Lithuania, his story was rarely heard in Japan or elsewhere, until the film `Persona Non Grata.`
American WWII vet becomes first soldier honored for saving Jews
The Nazi soldiers made their orders very clear: Jewish American prisoners of war were to be separated from their fellow brothers in arms and sent to an uncertain fate. But Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds would have none of that. As the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer held in the German POW camp, he ordered more than 1,000 Americans captives to step forward with him and brazenly pronounced: "We are all Jews here." He would not waver, even with a pistol to his head, and his captors eventually backed down. Seventy years later he is being posthumously recognized with Israel's highest honor for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. He's the first American serviceman to earn the honor.
Nicholas Winton, Holocaust hero who saved hundreds of Jewish children, dies
Nicholas Winton, a hero of WWII often called the "British Schindler" for his role in rescuing hundreds of Jewish children from the Holocaust, died at the age of 106. Winton organized the transport of 669 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain in 1939, saving them from being sent to concentration camps. At 29 years old, Winton travelled to Prague and organized 8 trains to London for hundreds of Jewish children fleeing the occupied city as part of Britain's Kindertransport initiative. Winton worked to convince British officials to accept the children, as long as foster homes were found and a £50 guarantee was paid for each one to ensure they had enough money to return home later. At the time, their stays were only expected to be temporary.
German magnate Berthold Beitz who saved Jews in WWII dies
A leading German industrialist who saved hundreds of Jews during World War II, has died aged 99. Berthold Beitz headed the ThyssenKrupp corporation, one of the world's largest steel producers. Beitz was internationally recognised for saving Jews in occupied Poland from being transferred to Nazi death camps. The magnate was also credited with playing a key role in Germany's post-war reconstruction. During the war, Beitz managed an oil field in occupied Poland. 1942-1944, he rescued hundreds of Jewish oil field workers from trains destined for the Belzec death camp. He and his wife also hid Jewish children in their home.
Tina Strobos, who hid over 100 Jews in an attic in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, dies at 91
Dr. Tina Strobos, a fearless woman who hid more than 100 Jews in a gabled attic in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam just a few blocks from the hideout where Anne Frank was captured, has passed away at 91. During the German occupation of the Netherlands, 1940-1945, Strobos and her mother, Marie Schotte, set up a sanctuary in their 3-story rooming house at 282 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, behind the Royal Palace in the heart of Amsterdam. With the help of the Dutch resistance, they had a secret compartment built to hold up to 4 people behind a hard-to-spot door in the attic during Gestapo searches.
Feng Shan Ho, Chinese Consul-General in Austria, saved thousands of Jews
Harry Fiedler is sure that, if not for the visas issued by Dr. Feng Shan Ho, his parents would have been perished in the Holocaust and he would never have been born. Harry Fiedler was born in Shanghai in 1940, two and a half years after his parents fled Vienna with visas issued by Ho. Ho served as the Chinese Consul-General in Austria 1938-1940 and issued thousands of visas to Jews desperate to escape the Nazis. If he hadn't enabled Oscar and Berta Fiedler to escape Vienna after Kristallnacht, their son told: "they would have perished. They would have been taken to the concentration camps, I'm sure, and then I wouldn't have been born, plain and simple."
Documentary film: Sugihara - Conspiracy of Kindness -- How Japanese diplomat saved Jews
Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat based in Lithuania at the time of the Nazi extermination of European Jews. As an ally of Nazi Germany, Japan and its diplomats were expected to respect the policies of the Third Reich. Yet, when faced with requests from fleeing Jews for Japanese visas, in effect an escape from death, Sugihara acted on the basis of a morality that valued human life. He issued thousands of visas. This film tells the story of one man's efforts and the impacts. At a time when the Empire of Japan was engaged in genocidal killing in China, the imperial government nevertheless harbored Jews.
Foundation launches worldwide search for Holocaust refugees rescued by Sousa Mendes
A global search has been launched for Holocaust refugees saved by a little-known Portuguese diplomat stationed in France - a man described as "one of the great unsung heroes" of the era by writer Peter C. Newman, who credits the maverick consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes with helping his own family escape the Nazi death chambers. Sousa Mendes has never received the kind of attention given to Oskar Schindler. Sousa Mendes, who helped at least 10,000 refugees flee a fallen France in 1940, remain largely under the radar, explained spokesperson Harry Oesterreicher of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. While hundreds of those given "life-saving visas" by Sousa Mendes have been identified - including Salvador Dali and Hans and Margret Rey - thousands of other refugees never knew who cleared their way to freedom.
"Iranian Schindler" Abdol-Hossein Sardari saved Thousands of Jews from the Nazis
In his book "In the Lion's Shadow", author Fariborz Mokhtari paints a picture of a bachelor who found himself head of Iran's legation house, or diplomatic mission, at the start of WWII. Although officially neutral, Iran was keen to maintain its trading relationship with Germany. This arrangement suited Hitler. The Nazi propaganda machine declared Iranians an Aryan nation. Iranian Jews in Paris still faced persecution and were often identified to the authorities by informers. But Sardari used his German contacts to gain exemptions from Nazi race laws for more than 2,000 Iranian Jews, arguing that they did not have blood ties to European Jewry.
Allied troops used tea house surrounded by Gestapo to rescue Jews from the Nazis in Madrid
Thousands of Jews and Allied soldiers were ghosted out of Nazi Europe from a little English tea house in Madrid, a new book has claimed. Author Patricia Martínez Vicente says the cafe was the unlikely centre of an escape plot operating under the noses of the Gestapo. In her book Embassy, Martínez reveals the role of her father Eduardo Martínez Alonso played. He was a Spanish doctor who worked in General Francisco Franco's pro-Nazi regime as a British secret agent codenamed 055. She stumbled across his wartime diary after his death in 1972 and later unearthed classified MI5 documents confirming his role in saving thousands of lives.
WWII film Les Hommes Libres (Free Man) reveals how a Muslim saved Jews during the Nazi occupation of France
A new French film focuses on an unlikely savior of Jews during the Nazi occupation of France: the rector of a Paris mosque. Muslims, it seems, rescued Jews from the Nazis. "Les Hommes Libres" ("Free Men") is a tale of courage not found in French textbooks. According to the story, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the founder and rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, provided refuge and certificates of Muslim identity to Jews to allow them to evade arrest and deportation.
Hide and Seek: A Dramatic True Story of Rivalry, Survival and Forgiveness During WWII by Stephen Walker
The Vatican had a very bad war. Pope Pious XII has gone down in history as "Hitler's Pope", a man of deafening silences who made no public protests at Nazi atrocities - or even at the rounding up of Italian Jews. Add to that the assistance the Vatican gave in the post-war chaos to Nazis on the run. So it is a surprise for to learn of a Vatican priest who did all in his power to help escaped POWs from the Allied forces survive by hiding them in and around Nazi-occupied Rome - while playing a real-life game of "cat and mouse" with Gestapo colonel Herbert Kappler.
Wilfrid Israel rescued thousands of Jews, yet little is known about him, expect that Nazis shot down the aircraft he was on
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 777 was on its way from Lisbon to Bristol on June 1, 1943 when it was shot down by a German fighter plane. Aboard the flight 777 was German Jewish businessman Wilfrid Israel, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis.
"I never understood how we know so much about other people who saved Jews, like Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler, but no one has heard of Wilfrid Israel," explained Ophir Baer, who is part of a group which is trying to solve the riddle of Israel's mysterious life and death - and producing a film about him.
Drama-documentary recounts how Nicholas Winton organized 8 trains to save 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia
"Nicky's Family", a drama-documentary on the story of Nicholas Winton, the British man who rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia by setting up trains to transport them to London, has premiered in Prague.
Nicholas Winton - nicknamed "British Schindler" - is just one of the many WWII-era heroes whose actions have been overshadowed by Oskar Schindler, whose name has become synonymous with saving Jews.
Albanian Muslims risked their lives to save 2,000 Jews from Nazis - Photo exhibit in Creve Coeur, Missouri
With rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the United States, an untold World War II story is raising awareness about the Muslims and the teachings of the Quran. That awareness comes from an unlikely source: a Jewish congregation in Creve Coeur. Temple Emanuel is running an exhibit of photographs that showcases Albanian Muslims who rescued 2,000 Jews from the Nazis. It is a story told through the faces of Albanian Muslims who risked their own lives to live by a code of honor called Besa - an ancient code which expects people to endanger their lives if necessary to save the life of anyone seeking asylum.
Is tourist board worker Tatsuo Osako Japan's Oskar Schindler - Search is on for the people he helped
A Japanese Tourist Bureau helper's diary has put in motion a global search after it was discovered to contain photographs of Jews he helped escape the Nazis. One of the photos shows a young man's monochrome portrait. The photo, a gift to the man who helped him escape, is one of 7 pictures that cast light on a little known part of the war. The writing on the back of the picture - signed "I. Segaloff" and dated March 4, 1941 - reads: "My best regards to my friend Tatsuo Osako," On the back of another photo is written: "A souvenir to a very nice Japanese man," signed "Rozla."
The Role of Righteous Muslim Persons: booklet covers Muslim acts of heroism during Holocaust
A booklet showcasing Muslim acts of heroism during the Holocaust chronicles the role played by Muslims who saved Jews during the Second World War. The 34-page booklet - "The Role of Righteous Muslim Persons" - was initiated by Faith Matters, an interfaith organization. "It is important to remember and learn from the actions of brave people who risked their lives to save others during the Holocaust. These stories of individuals who faced great dangers to help Jewish people are inspirational," explained Karen Pollock, of the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Danish fishermen who helped Jews escape Nazis are sought for thanks
What began as a casual conversation between two Minneapolis lawyers has turned into a small-scale search for Danish fishermen who helped save Jews during the Second World War. Finding people who took part in 1943 has been really difficult because of the passage of time and a cultural reputation for modesty. In October 1943 Danish Jews in Nazi-occupied Denmark were about to be sent to concentration camps. But, in one of the few positive chapters of the Holocaust history, an underground network began a huge boatlift of 7,200 Jews from Denmark to neutral Sweden. It's estimated that all but 450 found freedom.
How British sisters helped Jews by smuggling their jewellery out of Nazi Germany
In the years before World War II, British sisters Ida and Louise Cook travelled time and again to Austria and Nazi Germany to see the opera stars. Nazi officials didn't pay too much attention to the unremarkable-looking sisters, arriving in fairly plain clothes. Before travelling back they would put on fine clothes and jewellery and furs that belonged to the Jews allowed to leave the Third Reich - but only without their wealth.
It Happened in Italy: Untold Stories of How the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust
During World War II, Fascist Italy under Benito Mussolini was allied with Nazi Germany. In Italy, Jews were persecuted first by Fascism and then by Nazism. Yet, next to Denmark, Italy had the highest survival rate for Jews in any Nazi-occupied country - much less a country allied with Third Reich. In occupied Europe 75-80% of the Jews were executed, but 80% of Italian Jews survived the war - as did thousands of foreign Jews who found safety in Italy. "It Happened In Italy", by Elizabeth Bettina, recounts the story of how many Italians - from all walks of life - helped to save Jews.
American Tina Strobos hid over 100 Jews in Amsterdam
The walls of Tina Strobos's apartment are filled with the plaques she has received from Jewish organizations, even though she is not Jewish. She is honoured every so often for the valiant things she did 70 years ago as a medical student during the Nazi occupation of Holland: with her mother, she hid more than 100 Jews who passed through their 3-story rooming house in Amsterdam - just a 10-minute stroll from Anne Frank's hideout. Why would she take such gambles for people she barely knew: "It's the right thing to do. Your conscience tells you to do it. I believe in heroism, and when you're young, you want to do dangerous things."
Photo exhibition: How Muslims saved thousands of Jews during World War II
When no other European country was brave enough to face the anger of Nazi Germany, it was the Muslims of Albania who saved a thousands of Jews from extermination. Albania, a Muslim majority country in Europe, opened its borders and provided shelter refugees from different countries. They were treated like honored guests, and many were given fake names and passports. This little-known part of WWII history is the focus of the photographic exhibition "Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust", at the Holocaust Museum Houston. The exhibition displays photographs taken by photographer Norman Gershman, who travelled to Albania to research the topic for his book.
"Righteous gentile" status suggested for top ranking nazi, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris
The Chabad Lubavitch Hassidic movement wants "righteous gentile" status from the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial institute for a top ranking Nazi who saved Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Schneerson during WWII. The campaign is based on information by historian Danny Orbach that Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence) smuggled the rabbi and hundreds of others out of Nazi Germany. Orbach says that Canaris also worked against the Nazi war effort, and his aide Hans von Dohnanyi was named a righteous gentile in 2003. However, Yad Vashem claims Canaris was indirectly responsible for Jewish deaths.
American diplomat Harry Bingham saved 2,500 refugees - Against the U.S. policy
German novelist Lion Feuchtwanger had been a fierce critic of Adolf Hitler since the 1920s. He called the Fuhrer's Mein Kampf a 140,000-word book with 140,000 mistakes. The Nazis stripped him of his German citizenship and burned his books. In July 1940, the Nazis had just occupied Paris, and Feuchtwanger found himself in a lightly guarded detention camp, fearing transfer to the Gestapo. Fortunately, he was saved by Harry Bingham, who, disobeying orders from Washington and anti-Semitism among his State Department bosses, saved 2,500 refugees, including Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, and Max Ernst.
Wehrmacht officer Wilm Hosenfeld who saved Jews honored in Israel
Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem has honoured Wilm Hosenfeld, the Wehrmacht officer made famous by the film "The Pianist" for his role in helping Jews during World War II, with the title "Righteous Among the Nations" after new documents back up the German officer's role during the Nazi era. The film depicts how Hosenfeld helped hide musician Wladyslaw Szpilman in the ruins of Warsaw in 1944 and supplied the musician with blankets and food. Another survivor, Leon Wurm, had also testified that Hosenfeld helped him after his escape from a concentration camp. Wilm Hosenfeld perished in a Soviet prison in 1952.
Nazi Party member John Rabe saved 250,000 people from the Japanese army
A new movie about China's Oscar Schindler tells story of Nazi Hero: John Rabe. He was a member of the Nazi party and Siemens' man in China during the build-up to WW2. He also helped save 250,000 Chinese from the rampaging Japanese army. Based on Rabe's dairies, Florian Gallenberger's film "John Rabe" comes amid a boom in movies about Hitler's Nazi Germany. The film depicts how Rabe helped Chinese civilians escape the horrors of the Nanking by helping set up and run a security zone. "Ten years ago it was not possible to conceive that there was such thing as a good Nazi," explained Ulrich Tukur, who plays John Rabe.
A Dominican haven for Jews fleeing the Nazi Regime (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1940, the Dominican Republic welcomed Jews fleeing Hitler - and in all the world, this was the only haven offered to them. In the 3 years since the Nuremberg laws canceled Jewish citizenship in 1935, 150,000 Jews had fled Nazi Germany. Then the Anschluss made 200,000 more Jews stateless. President Franklin Roosevelt had come under pressure to push Congress to liberalize U.S. immigration laws. But America was stuck in isolationism, which took on an anti-Semitic stripe in the 1930s. Finally, the State Department acted on the Dominican plan: The bloody dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo returned to Jewish refugees the very rights Hitler had taken away.
70 years on diplomats win recognition for saving thousands before and during WWII
A plaque was revealed in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to honour British diplomats who saved thousands of Jews before and during World War Two. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, British diplomats in European capitals helped thousands to escape by providing visas, passports and travel documents that allowed them to flee to Britain or other havens. There are no names on the plaque, because there is no full record of their efforts and more names are still coming to light. Although the Nazis officially promoted the emigration of Jews before the start of war, thousands were being rounded up and sent to the camps.
"Silent Heroes" memorial center opened in Berlin for WWII Germans who helped Jews
A new memorial center pays tribute to the thousands of Germans who saved Jews from Nazi persecution and documents the stories of those who spent years in hiding. The "Silent Heroes" center focuses on the legacy of the "good German," who resisted Nazi policies. "Their accomplishments were totally forgotten, and this is an initiative to bring them back into our memory," said Johannes Tuchel, of the German Resistance Memorial Center Foundation. Some 5,000 Jews survived the war in hiding in Nazi Germany but it is not clear how many people were involved in helping them. Research suggests that for each person in hiding, about 10 people were involved in aiding them.
Holocaust scholars urge Yad Vashem to include the Bergson Group in its museum
A group of over 50 Holocaust scholars urged Yad Vashem to include an exhibit about a WW2 rescue group. The appeal to add the Bergson Group in the Holocaust museum came 2 months after Yad Vashem rejected an earlier petition. The Bergson Group was a maverick group in the US in the 1940s that raised public awareness of the Holocaust and crusaded for US rescue action to save the Jews. Led by Hillel Kook (under the pseudonym of Peter Bergson) the organization was viewed by most US Jewish leaders as being too direct in its criticism of Roosevelt's failure to rescue Jewish refugees, but today most scholars acknowledge the group's crucial part to the belated rescue effort.
Irena Sendlerowa who saved 2500 ghetto Jews dies during World War II
The death of a Polish woman who spared the lives of 2,500 Jewish children has been announced. Irena Sendlerowa set up the rescue of the children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. After Third Reich's invasion of Poland in 1939, she took great risks to help Polish Jews held by the Nazis - an act punishable by death. In 1942 she joined the Zegota resistance movement. With the rest of her team of 20, she rescued the children 1940-1943, when the Nazis burned the ghetto. In October 1943 she was caught and tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to reveal the names of the children.
Book about of Italian police officer Giovanni Palatucci who saved 5000 Jews
"Capuozzo, Indulge this Child: The Life of Giovanni Palatucci," by Angelo Picariello, tells the story of the Italian police officer who saved 5000 Jews during the Second World War. When WW2 started he was in charge of the office of exterior affairs for the Italian region of Fiume. In his capacity he destroyed the records of 5000 Jews and gave them false documents. He sent them to an internment camp in Italy under the protection of his uncle Bishop Giuseppe Maria Palatucci of Campagna. During the German occupation, he was exposed by the Gestapo and sent to the Dachau camp where he died in 1945.
Man who saved Jews in WWII to repay survivor he swindled
A man credited with helping save hundreds of Jews during World War Two has agreed to pay back a fellow Holocaust survivor that he and his wife were accused of swindling out of $260,000. Aron Bell and his wife Henryka were charged with plotting to defraud Janina Zaniewska, exploitation of the elderly and theft. In a plea deal the Bells agreed to repay $260,000. Zaniewska claimed the Bells kidnapped her and left her in a nursing home in Poland, then returned to Palm Beach and spent almost all her money. The Bells have said they were only helping their neighbor with her finances as she grew frail.
Berlin Exhibition Honors Little-Known Nazi Opponent
A new exhibition at a Berlin museum - a former brush factory run by a German entrepreneur during the Nazi era - throws light on people who tried to save Jews from deportation to Hitler's death camps by hiring them. Tucked away in a backyard in Berlin's downtown Mitte district the museum "Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt" is a former brush workshop run by Otto Weidt in the 1940s. Since it mainly supplied its brushes and brooms to German army, the Wehrmacht, and was deemed to be supplying "war essentials," the factory enjoyed special status - a fact which enabled Weidt to bribe Nazi officials and falsify documents.
The Righteous Among Nations - 400 tales of bravery
The book is thick, dense with profiles. By their sheer number, they give you hope for humankind. "The Righteous Among Nations" contains 400 tales of bravery, and these are only a small sample of the 21,300 stories of men and women who did what they could to save the lives during World War II and who have since been honored as righteous. In this book you read about the 5 friends who tried to save Anne Frank. You read about a Dutch Tina Strobos-Buchter, who was arrested several times and who never gave up the people she was hiding because she said, "I never believed in God, but I believed in the sacredness of life."
Film about the long march across China and a very British hero (Article no longer available from the original source)
Englishman George Hogg took 60 orphans on a journey of hundreds of miles to safety across war-ravaged China in the winter of 1944. Now his remarkable World War II story has been turned into a film, which threatens to reopen old wounds. In the town of Shandan Hogg and Rewi Alley are remembered with a statue, but Hogg is little known outside China. This is all set to change with a new film The Children of Huang Shi being made by Roger Spottiswoode. With Japanese forces snapping at their heels as they made their advance, and with the help of Mao Zedong's Communist guerrillas, Hogg escorted the boys across 688 miles of mountainous terrain.
WWII Arab saviour
Holocaust memorial centre has for the first time nominated an Arab to be recognised as a "righteous gentile" for saving lives. Researchers at Yad Vashem will now examine the life of Khaled Abdulwahab to see if he is eligible for the award. He is said to have sheltered Jews on his land during the Nazi occupation. The Righteous Gentile award has already been bestowed on 60 Muslims from the Balkans. Tunisia was the only North African country to come under direct Nazi rule during World War II.
Sisters who saved people from Nazi death camps (Article no longer available from the original source)
Swaddled in furs two sisters marched through the border patrol of pre-war Nazi Germany, their unexpressive faces giving nothing away. Ida and Louise Cook looked liked well-to-do women, concerned only with pursuing their favourite opera stars around the cities of Europe. Behind the façade, however, lay a very different story. The sisters were risking their lives in a dangerous mission to save refugees from Adolf Hitler's death camps. In 1965 they were awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Vad Vashem Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority for their "courageous acts of humanity".
Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and Zone Libre
When the German Army rolled into Paris in June 1940, some of Europe's leading artists were among the millions who fled to the so-called Zone Libre. With Paris now an outpost of Hitler's Reich, Marseille became the last resort. Though the U.S. did next to nothing for these gifted "remnants," a group in New York organized a Committee to get as many of them as possible out of France, choosing Varian Fry its emissary. Some famous personalities holed up with Fry in Villa Air-Bel mansion near Marseille. As France fell to the Nazi nightmare, they waited frantically for the papers that would allow them to get out.
A haven from Hitler - The only Righteous place in France
The French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon played a courageous role in the second world war, providing sanctuary for thousands. Yad Vashem hailed the wartime population of Le Chambon as among the "Righteous". It is the only place in France to have such an honour. Historians generally agree that fewer than 5% of French people took part in even the most mild form of resistance. "Quite the contrary: it was the exception in a country that overwhelmingly submitted to the Nazi regime," says Sauvage.
PoW camp Veteran recalls daring Airborne rescue mission (Article no longer available from the original source)
Gen. Douglas MacArthur ordered the rescue mission after he received information that prison guards planned to slaughter the prisoners and flee the camps as Allied forces prepared to retake the Philippines. Galen Johnson would be the third member of the 11th Airborne Division to parachute out of an airplane as the sun was about to rise on the Los Baños Internment Camp and help rescue the men, women and children. Prison guards had no idea the raid was about to take place. A Filipino scout was killed, but nobody else in the several US units that participated in the rescue died.
Resistance hero: He smuggled more than 100 people to safety
The Nazi blitzkrieg had overwhelmed Belgium, and Charles Schepens,an eye doctor, attempted to continue practicing medicine. That strategy collapsed in October 1940, when he was charged with ferrying downed Allied pilots out of the country. He was innocent. But that didn't save him from Gestapo interrogation. That persuaded Schepens to take action, and he joined the resistance. He smuggled more than 100 people to safety. In July 1943 the Gestapo tortured a resistance fighter into revealing Schepens' activities. Now his life depended on lessons learned from 8 years as a Boy Scout. For two weeks he hiked through mountain forests toward Spain.
Canadian Naval hero Robert Timbrell rescued British troops
Robert Timbrell, who became the first decorated Canadian naval officer of the WW2 for his bravery in rescuing British troops in 1940, has died. He skippered a ship that was commandeered to evacuate as many troops as possible from a 16-kilometre stretch of beach at Dunkirk. Thousands of allied troops had been pushed back to the Channel by a powerful German army and were in danger of being captured. A call was made for all vessels that could float to make their way to the French coast. 800 private boats commandeered by the British navy with the help of 222 warships, rescued more than 338,000 Allied troops from the clutches of the German army.
China Hails a Good Nazi who shielded more than 200,000
69 years ago the courtyard of two-story brick building was filled with Chinese seeking refuge from Japanese troops who were rampaging through the China's capital. The invaders subjected Nanjing to a 6-week reign of terror, killing large numbers of unarmed Chinese soldiers and murdering and violating thousands of civilians. The property was the home of John Rabe, a Nazi Party member and employee of Siemens. In addition to sheltering people in his own compound, Mr. Rabe led a score of other foreigners in the city to form an international safety zone that shielded more than 200,000 Chinese.
The Port Of Last Resort - The free city of Shanghai
Documentary - The Port Of Last Resort: In 1938, as the noose began to tighten around them, German Jews began casting about for anyplace where they could find refuge. For about 20,000 of them that place turned out to be the city of Shanghai. Up until 1941, prior to Japan's entry into WW2, Shanghai remained a free city, which meant there was no need of passports, visas, or entry stamps, to gain admittance. All you had to do was be able to get there. Shanghai's unique situation came about as a hold over of colonial times.
On Holocaust Exploiters, Deniers, & Heroes
Six decades on since the slaughter of WWII and the Nazi holocaust, we hear extremist voices alternately exploiting or denying the Holocaust for political gain. Several Muslims have since been honored by Yad Vashem and other Holocaust memorial groups as Righteous Gentiles. They include: the Bosnian Dervis Korkut, who harbored a young Jewish woman resistance fighter Mira Papo and saved the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the most valuable Hebrew manuscripts in the world; the Turk Selahattin Ulkumen, whose rescue of 50 Jews led to the death of his wife Mihrinissa; the Albanian Refik Vesili who (as a 16-year-old) saved 8 Jews by hiding them in his family's mountain home.
A right royal rescue
In January 1945, Air Gunner Norman Richardson and his pilot were shot down by a Japanese fighter plane, to be rescued by the young naval officer who would become HRH Prince Philip. Some 60 years after he was plucked from the sea off Sumatra by a Royal Navy destroyer, Norman "Dickie" Richardson meets his rescuer at Buckingham Palace. The men are older, but their memories are fresh and vivid as they launch into wartime reminiscences.