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IN DEFIANCE OF HITLER by Carla Killough McClafferty


The Secret Mission of Varian Fry

by Carla Killough McClafferty

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-38204-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

At the behest of the Emergency Rescue Committee, a non-governmental organization, journalist Varian Fry traveled to Marseilles, France, in the summer of 1940. His two-week mission was to find and rescue from the Nazis as many artists, authors and musicians as he could locate. They would need complex sets of travel documents, sometimes forged, and it became obvious that the job could never be accomplished in two weeks. Varian ended up spending over a year in France before he was forced to leave, ultimately rescuing more than 2,000 people. The effort cost him his marriage and his job. Although Varian’s heroic story is fascinating, too often McClafferty lists people who aided in the rescue effort without providing sufficient background information about them, and at times the text is somewhat repetitious. Period photographs help to flesh out the story, and an appendix provides brief follow-up biographies of some of the others involved. An interesting read that shines a light on a hitherto little-known figure. (appendix, source notes, bibliography, recommended further reading, recommended websites) (Nonfiction. 11 & up)