May 6, 2003 Award-Winning Film "Desperate Hours" To Be Shown at the Library on May 20
Public Contact: Chris Murphy (202) 707-5676
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Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
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"Desperate Hours," a documentary film about Turkey's efforts to rescue Jews from the Holocaust, will be shown at the Library of Congress at noon on Tuesday, May 20, in the West Dining Room, sixth floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. The film showing, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Library's African Middle Eastern Division and the Hebrew Language Table.
"Desperate Hours" reveals how Turkish diplomats put their lives at risk to save Jews being shipped to concentration camps. As Germany began excluding Jews from university and professional positions, Turkey welcomed them. This experience was similar to the earlier Ottoman acceptance of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.
Victoria Barrett, who produced and directed the 64-minute film, will be on hand to describe her efforts to portray the virtually unknown story of Turkey's rescue of thousands of Jews facing certain death. In researching the film, Barrett interviewed historians, diplomats, clergy and survivors in the United States, Turkey, Italy and Israel. Michael Berenbaum, director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Ethics at the University of Judaism, Los Angeles, served as the film's executive producer, writer and historian.
"Desperate Hours" was recently named "best documentary"at the 2003 D.C. Independent Film Festival. The Washington Jewish Week film review described the film as "well written" with an "uplifting message of decency."