‘Varian Fry, A Connecticut Hero In Vichy France’

On Sunday, January 12, at 3 pm, at Congregation Adath Israel, 115 Huntingtown Road, Rita L. Frost will present a talk on “Varian Fry, A Connecticut Hero in Vichy France.”

In 1935, Varian Fry, after returning from an assignment in Berlin, reported Hitler’s intentions to eliminate the Jews in The New York Times. He had seen firsthand the violent treatment of the Jews by Germans. In 1940, the International Rescue Committee appointed Fry, an unlikely hero, to save the lives of 200 important artists and intellectuals. He was given three weeks to complete this mission. Defying President Roosevelt, he stayed 13 months until his passport ran out.

In all, Fry saved over 2,000 people, including some of the 20th Century’s most important contributors, including Marc Chagall, Max Ernest, Jacques Lipchitz and the photographer Fred Stein. He was named one of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem in Israel, the first of only three Americans to be so honored.

Varian Fry lived in Fairfield County in Connecticut for many years.  He taught at Ridgefield High, Wilton, Joel Barlow School, and in Greenwich.

In her program Ms Frost will describe how Fry managed, with his own life in danger, to brilliantly save lives under the watchful eye of the Gestapo. She will also discuss the ill fortune Fry met with upon his return to the US.

The program will also include a screening of the 30-minute film, Assignment Rescue, narrated by Meryl Streep, about Fry’s activities.

Rita Frost is an artist, photographer, poet and member of The Varian Fry Foundation. Her interest in Fry began in 1997 through an exhibit honoring him at the Jewish Museum in NYC. Since then, she has been engaged in a passionate quest to keep his name alive and have him honored in Connecticut where he lived, worked and died.

Ms Frost has met many interesting and famous survivors and their children on her path. She will discuss their experiences in this program as well.

Refreshments will be served. For more information about the free program, call 203-426-8787 or 203-426-5188.


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