skip to main content

H.Res. 743 (110th): Honoring Varian Fry on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 15, 2007 (Introduced).


IV

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 743

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 15, 2007

submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

RESOLUTION

Honoring Varian Fry on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Whereas Varian Mackey Fry, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, embodied the spirit of American heroism and demonstrated personal bravery of the highest order during the Holocaust;

Whereas Varian Fry was born in New York City on October 15, 1907;

Whereas Varian Fry graduated from Harvard University in 1931 with a degree in classics, and an ability to read and write in 6 languages;

Whereas Varian Fry and his wife, Eileen Hughes of Boston, settled in New York City where he worked as a magazine writer and editor of Scholastic magazine, then called The Living Age;

Whereas in the summer of 1935, Varian Fry visited Berlin, Germany, on assignment for The Living Age and was horrified by the sight of Nazi storm troopers publicly beating and rounding up Jews for deportation;

Whereas following his trip to Berlin in 1935, Varian Fry wrote an article for the New York Times which detailed Hitler’s brutal treatment of Jews in Europe;

Whereas in 1937, Varian Fry took a job with the Foreign Policy Association's Headline Books in New York and wrote several books on foreign affairs, including The Peace That Failed;

Whereas after continuing to follow the news accounts of Jewish persecution in Europe, Varian Fry joined the Emergency Refugee Committee, which was working to raise enough money to rescue a large number of intellectuals then trapped in Vichy France;

Whereas on August 4, 1940, Varian Fry flew to Marseille, France, to embark upon a dangerous rescue mission on behalf of the Emergency Refugee Committee to save the lives of hundreds of intellectuals who were being systematically hunted down by the Nazis and the Vichy regime;

Whereas Varian Fry began this perilous mission with only $3,000 in his pocket and a list of 200 of the brightest scholars in the fields of art, science, literature and medicine who were trapped in Nazi-occupied France;

Whereas while serving as a representative of the Emergency Refugee Committee in Vichy France between 1940 and 1941, Varian Fry helped save the lives of 1,500 Jews and hundreds of other anti-Nazi refugees;

Whereas Varian Fry established a legal French relief organization, the Centre Americain de Secou, as a cover for his heroic but sometimes unlawful actions on behalf of the refugees, including securing false visas, planning daring escape routes through the mountains of Southern France, illegally chartering ships to transport refugees out of the country, and exchanging funding for these operations on the black market;

Whereas in order to save thousands of Jews and refugees threatened by the Nazis, Varian Fry risked his personal safety, forfeited his employment as a writer with the Foreign Policy Association, and was ultimately expelled from France because his actions contravened the policies of the Vichy French government;

Whereas Varian Fry's efforts resulted in the rescue of some 2,000 persons from Vichy France, including such distinguished artists and intellectuals as the painters Marc Chagall and Max Ernst; the political scientist Hannah Arendt; the writers Franz Werfel, Lion Feuchtwanger, and Heinrich Mann; the sculptor Jaques Lipchitz; and Nobel-Prize winning biochemist Otto Meyerhof;

Whereas in 1967, for his heroic actions, Varian Fry received the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, one of France's highest civilian honors;

Whereas Varian Fry died on September 13, 1967; and

Whereas in 1996, Varian Fry was named as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Heros and Martyrs Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, making him the first American recipient of Israel's highest honor for rescuers during the Holocaust: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives honors Varian Fry on the 100th anniversary of his birth.