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Defying the Nazis

Defying the Nazis

The Sharps' War

Official companion to the Ken Burns PBS film tells the little-known story of the Sharps, an otherwise ordinary couple whose faith and commitment to social justice inspired them to undertake dangerous rescue and relief missions across war-torn Europe, saving the lives of countless refugees, political dissidents, and Jews on the eve of World War II.

Author: Artemis Joukowsky   Foreword By: Ken Burns

Price: $18.00

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In 1939, Rev. Waitstill Sharp, a young Unitarian minister, and his wife, Martha, a social worker, accepted a mission from the American Unitarian Association: they were to leave their home and young children in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and travel to Prague, Czechoslovakia, to help address the mounting refugee crisis.

Armed with only $40,000, the Sharps quickly learned the art of spy craft and covertly sheltered political dissidents and Jews, and helped them escape the Nazis. After narrowly avoiding the Gestapo themselves, the Sharps returned to Europe in 1940 as representatives of the newly formed Unitarian Service Committee and continued their relief efforts in Vichy France.

This compulsively readable true story offers readers a rare glimpse at high-stakes international relief efforts during WWII. Defying the Nazis is a fascinating portrait of resistance as told through the story of one courageous couple.

The UUA has created a congregational action guide with tools, materials and stories, available for download at the Defying the Nazis UU Action Project site.

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Foreword by Ken Burns

Preface

CHAPTER TWO Learning the Ropes

CHAPTER THREE Witnesses to History

CHAPTER FOUR The Dying Republic

CHAPTER FIVE Einmarsch-The Invasion of Czechoslovakia

CHAPTER SIX Under the Swastika

CHAPTER SEVEN Changing the Rules

CHAPTER EIGHT Helping the Kulturtr?gers

CHAPTER NINE Money Talks

CHAPTER TEN Last Days in the Protectorate

CHAPTER ELEVEN The First Choice

CHAPTER TWELVE In Lisbon

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Helping Hands

CHAPTER FOURTEEN Reunion in Cerb?re

CHAPTER FIFTEEN Dividing Forces

CHAPTER SIXTEEN The Emergency Rescue Committee

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN The Milk Arrives

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Refugees' Odyssey

CHAPTER NINETEEN Escape from Marseille

CHAPTER TWENTY The Children's Journey

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE The Home Front

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO The Family

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE Back to Europe

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR A Run for Congress

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE Palestine

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX Civil Rights and Chicago

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN Divergent Paths

Epilogue

Rescue and Relief Organizations

Acknowledgments

Notes

Works Consulted

Index

"A clear, unpretentious volume that justly celebrates a couple who risked all for others." -Kirkus Reviews

"Defying the Nazis hooks you, catches you up in the narrative, and pulls you along by all the elements of great storytelling...It reads like a spy novel, but it's all true." -Ken Burns

"This gripping tale of intrigue and courage, of love's power and its loss, is both entertaining and inspiring. Heroes are often thought to be super-human. But Defying the Nazis proves that true heroes emerge not from the pages of comic books but the halls of everyday life. The common denominator is a stubborn faith in humanity and a conviction that the shape of history is ultimately in each of our hands." -William F. Schulz, president of the UUA, 1985-1993; executive director of Amnesty International USA, 1994-2006; and president of the UUSC, 2010-2016

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