Film still courtesy of Menemsha Films
The alternately heartwarming and heart wrenching documentary “The Rescuers,” about heroic non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, focuses on the role diplomats did — and can — play in saving victims of genocide. The film, screening October 27 at the Museum of Tolerance in New York and October 30 at Yeshiva University, is reminiscent of made-for-TV films such as “Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story” (1985) and “Varian’s War” (2001). But “The Rescuers” differs from its predecessors in its comprehensive look at how a few civil servants thwarted genocide and became righteous saviors of the innocent.
The documentary is also different from other films in that it ties Holocaust history to contemporary genocides. Co-host Stephanie Nyombayire, much of whose family was murdered during the Rwandan genocide, is joined by Sir Martin Gilbert, in many ways her polar opposite. Yet the Jewish, white haired author of 80 books shares something with his African counterpart: During the Battle of Britain he was among the children evacuated to Canada, and he went on to write definitive histories of the Final Solution.