Varian's War: The Forgotten Hero (TV Movie 2001) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • After witnessing the treatment of Jews in Nazi territory made him physically sick, cultured American gentleman Varian Fry starts en emergency rescue commission to raise funds and lobby to help intellectuals and artists, especially Jews, escape from Vichy France -where the Pétain government avoid occupation only by utter collaboration- to the US, and for lack of a better volunteer personally sets out in search of them. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt personally overcomes the reticence of the State Department. In Marseille he finds the people he specifically looked for, such as Marc Chagall, already housed by Harry Bingham, a Jewish US consulate official so he starts screening less obvious candidates and examines with Miriam Davenport and a German social democrat they pass for US clergyman Beamish how some can be rescued legally, others via a clandestine route, while colonel Joubert's State Police is at their trace...

    - Written by KGF Vissers
  • 1939. The Nazis occupy much of France. Because he personally witnessed the persecution of Jews by the Nazis in Berlin the year before, American magazine editor Varian Fry wants to do something to help the Jewish cause during the war, especially those that are considered refugees in their own country in "unoccupied" Vichy France, the Nazis who nonetheless are aided by those in power. He believes that helping high profile Jewish artists and intellectuals who are in limbo in France otherwise for the duration of the war enter the United States would make a strong humanitarian/anti-Nazi statement. Developed with others, he has a small list of key Jewish figures that he would most like to assist in getting to the US, they who face the most scrutiny because of their high profile. He has many obstacles in even getting to France, from financial and political support especially in light of US policy not to issue entry visas to Jews, and then smuggling into France the vast amounts of money required to support the mission. And once in France, he seems to attract the attention of everyone dealing with this issue, including the Nazi-supporting authorities who seem to know his end goal. He also has to balance the good of helping the Franco-Jewish masses, who also learn of what he is doing, against helping those elite few, his successful assistance to who would have the greatest political impact. Through it all, he is assisted on the ground by a small team, most specifically Miriam Davenport, an American unofficially appointed as his right hand person who is facing her own personal not so well hidden problem, and a Franco-Jewish volunteer named Albert Hirschman, who Varian would "re-Christen" non-Jewish "Beamish" for his own safety with regard to this mission.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Varian Fry rescues more than 2,000 artists from Nazi persecution during World War II.

    - Written by Anonymous


Varian (William Hurt) is in America when he see's what is happening to the jews in France under the German occupation...

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