The Minister’s War

Download a printable pdf  for this event HERE

Friday, December 07, 2012 – 7:30 pm

A VERY SPECIAL FILM EVENT

The Minister’s War revolves around the Unitarian activists, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, who boldly committed to a dangerous and hands-on approach to social justice in an attempt to save thousands of imperiled Jews, regardless of the consequential strains it would prove to have on their personal lives.

Director’s Statement:
My hope is to immortalize my grandparents (Waitstill and Martha Sharp) by showcasing the remarkable hands on approach they took in combating the destructive political forces of their time.

I think that their story is compelling, unique, and inspirational, and I want people who watch this film not only to aspire to but also to feel encouraged by the self-sacrificial, and heart-felt moral obligation by which they lived.

ABOUT THE SHARP’S

In February 1939, Waitstill Sharp, a young Unitarian minister from Boston, and his wife Martha left for Czechoslovakia on a refugee mission. For months, the Unitarian Church had been receiving alarming reports from Prague over the plight of refugees. The Sharps arrived in Prague, home to the largest Unitarian church in the world, with $28,000 in monetary aid. The Unitarian church was already a step in front of the Nazis, having set up a secretive network of volunteers and agencies to secure the safe passage of both Jews and non-Jews out of Prague. The task became even more difficult when on March 15, 1939 the Nazis entered Prague. For the next five months, the Sharps continued their work undaunted by the presence of the Gestapo and the possibility that they would be arrested or killed. In August 1939, the couple left Prague and headed back to the United States, barely escaping arrest.

Only 10 months later, the Sharps returned to Europe on their second mission, setting up a refugee office in Lisbon, Portugal. Eventually, they made their way to Nazi controlled France, to find ways to help refugees escape. In an elaborate plan, the Sharps helped a renowned German Jewish author, Lion Feuchtwanger, and his wife escape to New York via Spain. During their sixth months stay in France, the Sharps worked closely with another American rescuer Varian Fry.

Finally, in December 1940, after rescuing a plethora of people from the horrors of Nazi persecution, Waitstill and Martha Sharp returned to the United States. Following the war, Martha Sharp remained very active in efforts to assist the Jews around the world and the establishment of Israel. The Minister’s War tells this remarkable story of courage, documenting the lives of Rev Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha. The documentary will be told from the point of view of Martha and Waitsill, drawing on their recorded interviews, letters and unpublished memoirs.
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There will be a discussion after the film with Rev. Betty and Tom Stapleford.
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  • Community Forum Photos by Jon Delorey (except where noted)
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