I watched this week:
Pimpernel Smith, directed by, produced by, and starring Leslie Howard: Since learning more about Raoul Wallenberg, I wanted to see this movie that inspired him. I watched it twice. The first time it just seemed dated and I didn’t think much of it. The second time I caught more nuance. The closing speech resonated with my view of dominance hierarchies like our polluting, depleting culture and where they lead.
I recommend it after learning about Wallenberg.
According to Wikipedia:
The film helped to inspire the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to lead a real-life rescue operation in Budapest that saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi concentration camps during the last months of the Second World War.
When “Pimpernel” Smith reached Sweden in November 1943, the Swedish Film Censorship Board decided to ban it from public viewing, as it was feared that such a critical portrayal of Nazi Germany could harm Sweden’s relationship with Germany and thus jeopardise the country’s neutrality in the Second World War. Raoul Wallenberg did, however, manage to see it at a private screening at the British Embassy in Stockholm, together with his half-sister, Nina Lagergren.
She later recalled that on their way home after the screening, “he told me this was the kind of thing he would like to do.” Since 1941, Wallenberg had made frequent trips to Hungary, and knew how oppressed the Hungarian Jews were. He traveled as a representative and later joint owner of an export-import company that was trading with central Euriope and was owned by a Hungarian Jew.
Following the mass deportations that had started in April 1944, Wallenberg was sent to Budapest in August 1944, as First Secretary to the Swedish legation, assigned under secret agreement between the US and Swedish governments to organise a rescue programme for the Jews. By issuing fake “protective passports” which identified the bearers as Swedish, he and others working with him managed to rescue tens of thousands from being sent to German death camps. He rented 32 buildings and declared them to be Swedish territory; eventually, almost 10,000 people were sheltered there.
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