United Nations to Screen “The Rescuers” to Mark Holocaust Remembrance DayWhile Honoring Heroic Actions, Moral Courage of 12 Diplomats

The United Nations Department of Public Information will honor the heroic actions of twelve diplomats who showed moral courage and integrity to help save the lives of Jews during the Second World War with a screening of the award-winning documentary film The Rescuers on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. 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”.

Directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael King and produced by Joyce D. Mandell, The Rescuers takes the viewer on a journey to examine how the Holocaust unfolded in several countries in Europe.

The story is told through the eyes of Stephanie Nyombayire, a Rwandan anti-genocide activist who lost members of her family in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and pre-eminent historian Sir Martin Gilbert who lost family members in the Holocaust. As they travel across fifteen countries and three continents interviewing survivors and descendants of the rescuers, Ms. Nyombayire and Mr. Gilbert 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; Americans Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham in Marseille, Japanese Consul Chiune Sugihara and Dutch diplomat 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, who represented the Vatican; Consul Carl Lutz of Switzerland and Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul-General stationed in Bordeaux who issued visas in defiance of his government’s orders, allowing safe passage of Jews to Portugal. Princess Alice, grandmother of Prince Charles, is also recognized for hiding a Jewish family in her palace in Athens.

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. Following the screening, film director Michael King and Holocaust rescuee Leon Moed will participate in a panel discussion to be moderated by Maher Nasser, Director of the Department’s Outreach Division. 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 2006 to further education about and remembrance of the Holocaust to help prevent future acts of genocide. Its multifaceted program includes online and print educational products, seminars, exhibitions, a film series and the annual worldwide observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust each January 27th. Please visit: www.un.org/holocaustremembrance.

The Sousa Mendes Foundation
Founded in 2010, the Sousa Mendes Foundation is dedicated to honoring 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. The Foundation has a twofold mission: raising funds for the creation of a Sousa Mendes Museum and Human Rights Center and sponsoring projects that teach the importance of moral courage in a civilized world. www.sousamendesfoundation.org

Admission to the event is open to the public and free-of-charge. Seating is limited, and guests must pre-register by January 19th. To register, please click here or e-mail: holocaustremembrance@un.org. Guests must enter at 1st Avenue and 46th Street, New York, 10017. For more information on the event, please contact: Kimberly Mann, Manager, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme: (212) 963-6835 or mann@un.org.

Media contact: For interviews with the film director Michael King, please contact (323) 868-1808 or bmking1@hotmail.com or mking@rescuersdoc.com.