Thursday, October 15, 2009
The elegant fellow on the right in the picture above, is one Varian Fry, born this day 1907 in New York City, New York. Mr. Fry's major claim to fame is as the American Schindler. In 1935, while assigned to Berlin as a journalist, Mr. Fry got to see Nazi brutality against Jews up close and personally. Moving to the south of France after the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, Fry set up the Emergency Rescue Committee. Its purpose was to help people who needed to flee the Nazis. Working out of a villa outside of Marseille, Fry and his co-workers helped nearly 2,200 people flee the terror of Nazism that was spreading like wildfire across Europe. Some of the famous people that Fry helped escape were Hannah Ardent, Andre Breton, Max Ernst, and Marcel Duchamp, amongst others. He was rewarded by the government of France in 1967, when it granted him the Legion of Honor. He was also the first American citizen to be named "Righteous Among the Nations," at the Holocaust Memorial of Israel. I am not sure what that exactly means, but it sounds cool as shit, and pretty exclusive. If you ever done any reading about World War II Europe, and the beginnings of the Nazi reign of terror, you can appreciate what Mr. Fry did, and the risks he took in order to do it. So for saving all those lives that needed saving, at a time when the world was going mad, Varian Fry (October 15, 1907-September 13th-1967, at the age of 59), you are my hero of the day.