United Nations to Screen ‘The Rescuers’ to Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day While Honouring Heroic Actions, Moral Courage of 12 Diplomats

Note No. 6375
8 January 2013

United Nations to Screen ‘The Rescuers’ to Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day While Honouring Heroic Actions, Moral Courage of 12 Diplomats

8 January 2013
Press Release
Note No. 6375
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

United Nations to Screen ‘The Rescuers’ to Mark Holocaust Remembrance Day


While Honouring Heroic Actions, Moral Courage of 12 Diplomats


The United Nations Department of Public Information will honour the heroic actions of 12 diplomats who demonstrated moral courage and integrity in helping to save the lives of Jews during the Second World War by screening the award-winning documentary film The Rescuers at 6:30 p.m. on 23 January in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at New York Headquarters.

Organized by the United Nations Holocaust Programme, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the United States and the Sousa Mendes Foundation, the screening highlights the 2013 theme “Rescue during the Holocaust:  The Courage to Care”.  Opening the event will be Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States, and Joyce D. Mandell, the film’s producer.

Directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Michael King, The Rescuers takes the viewer on a journey to examine how the Holocaust unfolded in several countries across Europe.  The story is told through the eyes of Stephanie Nyombayire, an activist who lost members of her family in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and pre-eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert, who lost family members in the Holocaust.  As they travel across 15 countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of the rescuers, Ms. Nyombayire and Sir Martin explore the mystery of goodness in the face of danger.

Among those featured in the film are German diplomat and Nazi party member Georg F. Duckwitz in Copenhagen; Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham from the United States in Marseilles; Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara; the Dutchman Jan Zwartendijk in Kaunas; Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen in Rhodes; British Captain Frank Foley in Berlin; Polish diplomat Henryk Slawik in Budapest; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped coordinate the rescue efforts in Budapest in 1944 with Archbishop Angelo Rotta, representative of the Vatican; Consul Carl Lutz of Switzerland; and Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul stationed in Bordeaux, who issued visas in defiance of his Government’s orders, allowing the safe passage of Jews to Portugal.  Princess Alice, grandmother of the Prince of Wales, is also recognized for hiding a Jewish family in her Athens palace.

Following the screening, director Michael King and Holocaust rescuee Leon Moed will participate in a panel discussion to be moderated by Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information.  Born in 1931 in Antwerp, Belgium, Mr. Moed escaped Nazi-occupied Europe with his parents and two siblings under the protection of a visa issued by Mr. Sousa Mendes.

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme was established by General Assembly resolution 60/7 in 2005 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust, and to help prevent future acts of genocide.  Its multifaceted programme includes online and print educational products, seminars, exhibitions, a film series and the annual worldwide observance, every 27 January, of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  Please visit www.un.org/holocaustremembrance for more information.

The Sousa Mendes Foundation

Founded in 2010, the Sousa Mendes Foundation is dedicated to honouring the memory of Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to educating the public about refugees and rescue during the Holocaust.  Named “Organization of the Year” in 2012 by The Portuguese Tribune, the Sousa Mendes Foundation is engaged in a worldwide search for families who escaped the Holocaust through Portugal.  It has a twofold mission:  raising funds for the creation of a Sousa Mendes Museum and Human Rights Centre; and sponsoring projects that teach the importance of moral courage in a civilized world.  For more information, please visit www.sousamendesfoundation.org.

Admission to the screening is open to the public and free of charge.  To register, please e-mail holocaustremembrance@un.org.  Guests must enter the United Nations from the visitors’ entrance at 1st Avenue and 46th Street.

For more information on the event, please contact Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, at tel.:  +1 212 963 6835, e-mail:  mann@un.org.

Media contacts for interviews with film director Michael King:  tel.:  +1 323 868 1808, e-mail:  bmking1@hotmail.com or mking@rescuersdoc.com

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.