In 1939 an American couple, Unitarian Minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha Sharp, agreed to a secret mission in Europe helping people escape the Nazis and their horrifying acts.
Over the next two years, the Sharps helped dozens find safety elsewhere. Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, a grandson of the Sharps, created this documentary, which is airing next week on PBS.
Ken Burns is a master of storytelling--stories of real human beings, people who made major changes that we feel today. Surely "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War" will be no different.
In a time when we seem to have lost compassion for those who suffer, for those who are wrongly persecuted, for those whom are told that they are somehow not "right," that they are not "enough," we need stories like these to remind us of who we are as people. As human beings--before all the labels of country, religion, and politics.
In this very important documentary, you will learn how Waitstill and Martha Sharp left their two children behind to secretly intervene against the Nazis and how they risked their own lives for the sake others.
Now, generations later, we can see what they risked for everyones' future and the impact it has had on so many people.
Here's a clip detailing Martha's emigration project, in which she brought several dozen children to the US so that they might grow up safely. Separated from their parents, but safe from war.
Watch "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War" next Tuesday on PBS.
The Sharps' War airs on PBS
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
at 9 pm Eastern / 8 pm Central
Click here to find your local listing.
Join in the conversation
Use the hashtags #WeDefy and #SharpsWarPBS on social media to see what others are saying and to chat with them about the documentary. Click here to find out more about the #WeDefy project from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
It's impossible to teach or to learn German without running into the far-reaching ramifications of the Nazi Party, World War II, and the Holocaust. That's why this website is for everyone--you are all welcome here. I'm very proud to make sure you know about his documentary because this helps us create a more open dialogue about the horrifying events of WWII and how we do better together when we remember how much we need one another. When we look at how people like the Sharps stood up for complete strangers, it shows us how connected we are to folks all across the globe. And it gives us courage to stand up and fight for others.
Martha and Watistill Sharp departing New York Harbor for Prague (via London) 1939
Credit: Courtesy of Sharp Family Archives
The Sharp Rescue Committee has issued a Call for Stories of Moral Courage. Do you know someone who has acted courageously, like the Sharps? You can interview them and submit your story via email to the Sharp Rescue Committee. Click here to find out more.