Deputy Chief of Mission James D. Melville, Jr. Inaugurates the Event Series “Worldwide Exile” in Honor of U.S. Journalist Varian Fry

On January 29, in cooperation with Lea Rosh from the Society for the Promotion of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Deputy Chief of Mission, James D. Melville, Jr. inaugurated an event series titled “Worldwide Exile.” In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Concentration and Labor Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Eberhardt Schmidt, board member of the Society, gave a talk with the writer Manfred Flügge on the role of the U.S. journalist Varian Fry. Thanks to Varian Fry, who operated a rescue network in France, up to 4,000 Jews and several dissidents were able to escape the Holocaust in the Third Reich. Among the rescued were numerous artists, intellectuals and writers such as Heinrich Mann and Golo Mann, who found refuge in the United States. Additionally, the actor Gerd Wameling read from a selection of Varian Fry’s letters. In his address, Mr. Melville noted this year’s sad record of the 51 million people currently displaced worldwide–the highest number since World War ll. “Remembrance bestows a mission on us,” said Deputy Chief of Mission Melville, echoing Federal President Gauck’s speech on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. In this year’s series, events examined the role of the U.S. as an exile destination for Jews and others who fled persecution. A schedule is available on the Society’s website.