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Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Honors UU’s

The Sharps Family

The Sharps Family

The UU Education and Enrichment Committee will show the documentary Two Who Dared: The Sharps’ War on Wednesday, May 1 at 7:00 pm. This film tells the story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp,an American Unitarian minister and his wife,  who boldly committed to a life-threatening mission in Europe to help save imperiled Jews and refugees at the onset of World War II.

In January of 1939 Unitarian Church leader Everett Baker called the Sharps and asked them to undertake a dangerous new project. The American Unitarian Association wanted them to travel to Czechoslovakia, where there was a large Unitarian community, to lead an emergency relief mission that church leaders described as “the first intervention against evil undertaken by the denomination.” Baker had approached 17 other couples prior to the Sharps, and all had refused this post.

Waitstill and Martha committed to the dangerous undertaking arriving in Prague shortly before the Nazis conquered the capital and the rest of the country. In an atmosphere fraught with danger and violence, the couple spent seven months aiding refugees. The Sharps were consistently followed by Nazi police and had to learn how to evade Gestapo patrols. Their offices were ransacked, and they faced arrest when the Nazis ordered all refugee aid and assistance to cease.

Despite these mounting dangers, the Sharps remained in Prague until August of 1939, when they heard a rumor that they were to be arrested the very next day. The Sharps decided to leave Prague. After a brief return to their home in Wellesley, they accepted another mission from the newly formed Unitarian Service Committee and spent most of 1940 working in war-torn France, where they helped intellectuals, Jews, and other at-risk individuals flee the country and provided aid to desperate refugees. Because of their actions to save Jews, the Sharps were named “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum. They are two of only three Americans to be so honored.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired by two Unitarians who chose to make a difference. Admission by donation to the filmmakers at the door.

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