A Hero of Our Own: The Story of Varian Fry

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Random House, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 349 pages
In 1940, a young Harvard-educated American named Varian Fry, inexperienced and not at all certain that he possessed any courage, went on a secret mission to Marseille. There, with only three thousand dollars and a list of names, he was to help those who had fled Nazi Germany and were now trapped in southern France.
The list he took with him had been prepared by, among others, the Museum of Modern Art and Eleanor Roosevelt. It included most of the premier writers, painters, and scientists of Europe, many of them Jews--people like Marc Chagall and Max Ernst, Jacques Lipchitz, Marcel Duchamp, Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, Andre Breton, Andre Masson, and other sur- realists, and hundreds more. When Fry witnessed their plight, he became determined not just to give them immediate aid but to find ways for them to escape. Slowly he built up a group of people who could help, forging passports and finding secret paths across the Pyrenees into Spain and then to Lisbon.
Fry himself was constantly in great danger, but he seemed to experience a divine inspiration, achieving greatness and glimpsing immortality by acting as the hero he never thought he could be. His own government tried again and again to stop him and send him home, but he managed to continue his rescue operations for more than a year.
Only in the past decade has the world begun to honor Fry, who died in 1967. He is, for instance, the only American honored at Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations."
Using letters and records unavailable to anyone else, as well as interviews with numerous survivors, Sheila Isenberg has given us an inspiring story of how the brave anddetermined actions of one individual can help change the world.

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A HERO OF OUR OWN: The Story of Varian Fry

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The life of a little-known American WWII hero.Varian Fry is the only American honored at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial. And he's there with good cause—in the year and a half after the ... Read full review

A hero of our own: the story of Varian Fry

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Isenberg's (English, Marist Coll.; Women Who Love Men Who Kill) biography of Varian Fry is part of a developing trend in Holocaust studies to focus attention on "rescuers." Fry, recently the subject ... Read full review



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About the author (2001)

Sheila Isenberg teaches at Marist College. She is the author of Women Who Love Men Who Kill, and she coauthored My Life as a Radical Lawyer with William M. Kunstler. She lives in upstate New York with her husband.

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