The Concept of Rescue: A line in space and time

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1905 Physicist Albert Einstein publishes the theory of special relativity,

1933 Einstein instrumental in forming the International Relief Organisation.

 1942 This became the Emergency Rescue Committee, assisting more than 2, 200 people to escape from Vichy France to Spain, Portugal and the USA including prominent writers and artists Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall and Arthur Koestler. In 2013 British former Foreign Secretary Mr David Miliband became President of the present day International Rescue Committee.

Flight by Marc Chagall, portfolio of International Rescue Committee

1941 Captain Pilecki of the Secret Polish Army (TAP) alerts the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile in London to The Holocaust. The Żegota committee organises in Warsaw and Kraków to aid Jewish populations inside occupied Poland.

1943 Belgian Resistance stop a convoy train from Mechelen-Leuven to Auschwitz and rescue over 230 people

1944 Rescue operations organised by Church and University organisations in Amsterdam and Utrecht. Westerweel group leads departures across Pyrenees but arrested by Nazis for escape work on Belgian border.

1943 Physicist Niels Bohr, actress Great Garbo make representations to Sweden to accept Jewish people from Nazi occupied Denmark rescued by Danish Resistance boats.

Danish rescue vessel ‘Sunshine’, US Holocaust Memorial Museum

1990 Good Evening Mr Wallenberg film released about the rescue work of the Swedish diplomat. Wallenberg was inspired by the UK 1941 picture ‘Pimpernel’ Simith.  

1993 Schindler’s List film released about the rescue work of the German industrialist

2005 The Bund: Gemeinschaft für ein sozialistisches Leben [ Union for a Socialist life ] recognised as Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem for their efforts to rescue Jewish people inside Nazi Germany 1933 – 45.

2020 Second Generation Network hosts a positive meeting on the topic of the Concept of Rescue from Nazi controlled Europe.  The discussion included sharing information on the different ways relatives had been rescued, new discoveries and contemporary resonances.

2020, 2021 The Second Generation Network website is open for contributions on this theme, complementing our discussion group.  What stories do you carry on this topic? Unsung heroes? What are your views on some of the cultural depictions of rescue in this time? What histories and perspectives continue to emerge.

This is the third of our ongoing series in the  members’ area www.secondgeneration.org.uk  

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Introductory feature by John King, Second Generation Voices.

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