An article about the film, "Defying the Nazis," that I blogged about this past Wednesday, appeared in the New York Times two days ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/opinion/sunday/would-you-hide-a-jew-from-the-nazis.html
The article makes explicit the parallels between today's refugee crisis and the crisis of the 1930s, when many people including my godmother, father, and family members were trying to get visas to get out of Germany and needed sponsors to lend a helping hand on the other side of the sea. My father was able to migrate to the United States with the help of an organization here; my godmother's brother was not so lucky. This life-or-death situation is the reality of countless refugees today.
From the article:
“There are parallels,” notes Artemis Joukowsky, a grandson of the Sharps who conceived of the film and worked on it with Burns. “The vitriol in public speech, the xenophobia, the accusing of Muslims of all of our problems — these are similar to the anti-Semitism of the 1930s and ’40s.”
The Sharps’ story is a reminder that in the last great refugee crisis, in the 1930s and ’40s, the United States denied visas to most Jews. We feared the economic burden and worried that their ranks might include spies. It was the Nazis who committed genocide, but the U.S. and other countries also bear moral responsibility for refusing to help desperate people.
That’s a thought world leaders should reflect on as they gather in New York to discuss today’s refugee crisis — and they might find inspiration from those like the Sharps who saw the humanity in refugees and are today honored because of it.