In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) hosted the screening of the documentary The Rescuers on April 18 in Vienna, Austria. The film focuses on the courage of 13 diplomats who saved the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Immediately following the screening, a panel discussion was led by Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE’s Chairman in Office on Combating Anti-Semitism; film Director Michael King; Producer Joyce Mandell; and Edward Serotta, Director of Centropa, a Vienna- and Budapest-based NGO dedicated to preserving Jewish memory in Central and Eastern Europe. 105 individuals attended, including numerous OSCE Ambassadors and a number of civil society representatives, many of whom were from the Austrian Jewish community. U.S. embassies also supported well-attended screenings and public roundtables at the Bucharest Jewish Film Festival in Romania and the multiculturalism-focused Fjuzn (Fusion) Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Stephanie Nyombayire, an anti-genocide activist, said, “The same way genocide is always planned and executed by individuals, we can also plan and execute genocide prevention. We can take history and change into our own hands because as I mentioned in the film, evil only occurs as a result of good men and women staying silent.”
By screening The Rescuers in Vienna, as well as in Bratislava and Bucharest, we hope to move and encourage those who view the film to take a moral stand against hatred and intolerance. The Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism aims to confront all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred, to build tolerance through education, inter-religious and inter-ethnic efforts, and to promote the protection of minorities.