The Rescuer (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Thanks to author Dara Horn for writing a short, engrossing story about Varian Fry. In 1940, France fell to the Germans. By this time, many of Europe's Jewish cultural elite had fled to southern France, which was ruled by the collaborationist Vichy government. A young American idealist, Varian Fry, volunteered to go to France on behalf of the Emergency Rescue Committee to rescue the "guiding lights of Western civilization." Over the next year, Fry helped about 2,000 of Europe's leading Jewish artists, writers, musicians, philosophers, and scientists escape from the Germans.
But what made The Rescuer notable was not just the brief, but fascinating, biography of Varian Fry and his role in saving European Jews, but Ms. Horn's persistence in asking difficult questions. Questions like "Why do some people willingly go in harm's way to save others whose lives are in danger?" The answer, as Ms. Horn found, isn't at all obvious, nor is there any consensus opinion. In the case of the Holocaust, Ms. Horn points out that the real story--and a painful one--is that thousands were saved, but millions were lost due to the world's inaction as nations tried to accommodate and compromise with the Nazis, while closing their eyes to the plight of the European Jews. Does that devalue the rescuers' accomplishments?
The anecdotes about Fry, members of his volunteer staff, and some of their "clients" were especially intriguing.Read more ›
True, the essay focuses on Varian Fry, an idealist American who volunteers to travel to occupied France to help leading artists, composers, writers and intellectuals of the day escape the spreading horrors of the Nazis. But Horn goes beyond the mere facts of Fry's heroism to pose the question of what makes a "rescuer," someone who puts his own life at risk to save others. She also ponders the psychology of the rescued as well, many of whom were indifferent to Fry after their escape to America. And what about the morality of deciding who is worthy of being spared while millions of others were ground up in the Nazi death machine? Horn poses that issue also in the brief essay.
I have to admit that when Amazon first started publishing Kindle Singles I had my doubts. Who, after all, would want to purchase just an essay or short story? Now I regularly scan the titles published as Kindle Singles. I've read some fascinating pieces of journalism, essays and fiction in the Singles format and Horn's The Rescuer is one of the most provocative titles I've encountered. It resonated with me long after I had finished and left me wishing the Single could have been a far longer work. But in the meantime I will content myself with re-reading the essay, certain that when I do fresh insights will pop out at me.
This is a true story of Varian Fry, an american who was sent into Marseille, France in 1940 to try to rescue intellectuals from then Nazi occupied France. Marseille unoccupied, but was controlled during this time by the Vichy government who ruled under the direct thumb of Nazi occupied northern France. Varian Fry and his associates at the Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC) during thier time of operation (1940-41), were able to save 2000 people from extermination in German concentration camps.
What is somewhat unusual about the story is that almost no one knows of this man, despite his deeds of heroics. It was author's intent to discover why... she talked to several people and read as many articles and interviews she could find to try to glean a little more information about this man and his life (before, during and after the war).
Some revealing findings about his personality... it appeared that Fry was difficult to get along with most people and as a result had few friends, had a labile temperament, had trouble holding jobs (when at home) both before and after the war, and had two unsuccessful marriages.
In her investigation she is confronted with some disturbing facts.
1.) the premise of the ERC was to try to save the intellectuals... prevent the best brains in Europe from falling into the wrong hands. Most of who were classified as undesirables, and were thus destined for extermination. As a result many 'normal' people were rejected from being 'saved' because they weren't famous enough.
2.) the lack of gratitude on part of those saved towards the 'rescuers'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A revealing view about Varian Fry. I had heard about his work but knew nothing about him.
Very well written.
A wonderfully written essay searching what motivates a person to do the right thing. And thankfully brings to light the heroic story of Varian Fry saving the Jewish "great artists"... Read morePublished 8 months ago by John W Edelglass MD
A revelation to me about one man's heroism and tortured soul. Also a revelation of the obstacles that anti-Semitic forces in the US State Department in World War II put in the way... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ellen
Interesting but not riveting-just touched the surface of the subject I think.Published 15 months ago by Lois
the book seems to be a little hard to follow. i really did not care for it. it seemed to jump around different people , different places. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Paulette p
Well, maybe not hero. Dara Horn tells the true story of a man I had never heard of before, a Righteous Gentile, who saved some of the world's greatest artists from certain death by... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Pamela Sawyer
If this book only told the story of Varian Fry and his work rescuing people from the Nazis, it would be worth reading. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tungsten Hippo
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