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Varian Fry (1907–1967)

Author of Assignment: Rescue

Includes the names: Varian Fry

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In August 1940, after the German invasion of France, Varian Fry went to Marseille on behalf of a group he had helped found called the Emergency Rescue Committee. He travelled with $3,000 in cash taped to his leg and a list of some 200 Jews and other individuals -- artists, political dissidents, and intellectuals -- in peril from the Nazis. In Berlin in 1935, he had seen Jews assaulted in the street, and knew what would happen if he didn't act. He and a small group of volunteers took up residence at a villa where they hid people temporarily, and set about obtaining false passports and arranging escape routes to smuggle people to safety. By the time he was deported by the Vichy government 13 months later, he had saved thousands of lives.
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