29 Kasım 2001, Turkish Daily News

'Hours of Desperation, Moments of Decency' in Bilkent

Bilkent University and the 500th Year Foundation will organize a reception for the gala of the film "Hours of Desperation, Monients of Decency" on Nov. 29 at Bilkent University, in the Fine Arts Design and Architecture Faculty Conference Center at 19:30.
"Desperate Hours" recounts the little know story of Turkey and the Holocaust and is based on authoritative accounts by American, Israeli, Turkish and Italian historians as well as interviews with survivors, former diplomats and clergy in Israel, Italy, Turkey, and the United States. It is presented by Main Street Media in association with The Bcrenbaum Group and Shenandoah Films. The United States Holocaust Museum premiered "Desperate Hours" on Sept. 5, this year.
in the years preceding the Holocaust, the Nazis began dismissing and ultimately persecuting and killing its Jewish professors, architects, musicians, scientists and physicians. Under the leadership of Turkey's president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey actively recruited these men and women to serve as agents for modernizing the new Republic.
In both occupied and Vichy France, Turkish officials vigorously defended the rights of its Jewish citizens abroad. Diplomats followed tip on individual cases of Turkish Jews being sent to transit camps, extended Turkish citizenship to many Jews who had lost it, and at times mounted daring and dangerous rescue missions on behalf of their beleaguered citizens. Vice Consul Necdet Kent, who was assigned to Marscilles, and Vice Consul Namik Yolga, assigned to Paris, now men in their 80s and 90s recount their stories, along with rescued. The story of the Turkish Consul to Rhodes, Selahattin Ulkumen, who was the only Turk to be awarded the honor of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel for his work in rescuing Jews of Turkish origin, is explored as well. "Desperate Hours" tells the story of the rescue attempts, those that succeeded and those that did not.
Monsigner Roncalli (who in 1958 became Pope John XXIII), another hero, was the Apost lie Delegate in Turkey. He pleaded with the Vatican to become actively engaged in saving Jews, he met with Jewish Agency Representatives in Istanbul to offer assistance and to obtain desperately needed information, and undertook rescue efforts himself by helping to provide Jews with documents to help them escape the Nazi web. Throughout his long life, he never forgot his experiences in Turkey nor the importance of the Holocaustmemories that would later shape his actions as Pope when he would lead a dramatic revolution in the relationship between the Church and the Jews.
At a time when millions were murdered before the eyes of an indifferent world, there were some men, and at times, some governments, who chose to act not for praise, not for glory but in the name of simple human decency. In doing so they dispel the myths that people were powerless to resist the Nazis. "Desperate Hours" tells the stories of those precious few who, in the dark face of utter darkness never lost hope.
"Desperate Hours" was also shown at the 4th international Meeting of Cinema and History in Istanbul, held between Nov. 16-23 this year.

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