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Church to show documentary on the Holocaust

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – At 7 p.m. April 6, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry (Tree of Life), 5603 Bull Valley Road, will join dozens of other venues around the world in premiering “Two Who Dared: The Sharps’ War,” a documentary about courage and sacrifice by a young couple fighting to save Jews and other potential victims of the Nazis at the onset of World War II. 

After 17 ministers declined the American Unitarian Association’s request for relief volunteers in Europe, the Rev. Waitstill Sharp and his wife, Martha, committed to the dangerous undertaking. They left their two young children in Wellesley, Mass., and traveled to Czechoslovakia. To enable the clandestine transportation of refugees, they battled political and social blockades, broke laws to get imperiled individuals exit visas and laundered money on the black market. Over the course of two missions in Prague in 1939 and Southern France in 1940, the Sharps and their underground confederates played a vital role in saving thousands from persecution.

“If you remember the ‘letters of transit’ in the film ‘Casablanca,’ those were the kind of documents that the Sharps begged, borrowed, stole or forged at great risk to help refugees escape war-torn Europe,” said Patrick Murfin, chairman of the Social Justice Committee for the congregation, in a news release.

Because of their actions to save Jews, the Sharps were named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum. They are two of only three Americans to be so honored. The official premiere of the film in April coincides with Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The screening at the church will be followed by an open discussion. The program is co-sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and the congregation’s Fellowship Committee. Popcorn and refreshments will be available.

The program is open to the public. A voluntary $10 per family donation is requested to defer the cost of the program, but no one will be turned away.

For information, call Murfin at 815-814-5645 or email him at pmurfin@sbcglobal.net.

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