History Undercover: Diplomats for the Damned
When most people think about the plight of Jews who tried to escape the horrors of Hitler’s Nazi regime, the story of Anne Frank and her family immediately comes to mind. Most students read The Diary of Anne Frank and know about the fear and foreboding that her family faced, as they relied on the loyalty of friends and acquaintances to hide them from Nazi troops. While the story of Anne Frank’s family is best known, they were many other Jewish families who tried to escape, and in some cases they succeeded. Foreign diplomats played an important and little known-role in helping thousands of Jews flee Nazism. Dozens of such diplomats, from more than twenty-five countries, risked their lives and careers by secretly issuing unauthorized visas, falsifying papers, and cutting backroom deals to rescue thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps. This program profiles the stories of four of these diplomats, interviewing their descendents, as well as some of those whose families were shepherded to freedom by these diplomats’ heroic acts. Diplomats for the Damned would be appropriate for middle and high school level classes in American, European, and World history. 50 minutes
Cohen Center materials are available for school libraries to borrow for classroom use. If your school would like to borrow any of these materials, please contact Mason Library Interlibrary Loan at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a Lending Web account.