Prince Charles stars in The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust

By Tom Tugend, April 22, 2009
Follow The JC on Twitter
Michael King

Michael King

The Prince of Wales is to appear in a new film telling the stories of 12 non-Jewish diplomats who helped save an estimated 200,000 European Jews during the Second World War.

The film also highlights others who helped Jews survive, including Princess Alice of Greece, Prince Charles’s grandmother, who hid Jews in the royal palace in Athens during the German occupation and withstood interrogations by Nazi officials. The Prince pays tribute to his “very remarkable” ancestor in the film.

The feature documentary is the work of distinguished British historian Sir Martin Gilbert, Michael King, an African-American documentary filmmaker, and Stephanie Nyombayire, a Rwandan human rights activist, who lost more than 100 family members in her country’s genocide.

The film, The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust, and Mr Gilbert’s book, Noble Diplomats: Saving Jewish Lives in the Nazi Era, are to be released early next year.

The diplomats include a member of the Nazi party and a Turkish Muslim, as well as two Britons, two Americans and former envoys from China, Japan, Poland, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Portugal and Italy.

The rescue efforts are presented by Ms Nyombayire as a survivor of a recent genocide viewing the desperate struggles of Holocaust survivors.

Mr Gilbert said, “I was moved by her personal story of the fate of her family in Rwanda, by her own activism with regard to Darfur, and her strong desire to do something, to make a difference, as those diplomats had done 70 years ago.”

Mr King is a teacher and film producer best known for his documentaries on inner-city teenagers. He won an Emmy for the PBS special, Bangin’, which dealt with youth violence.

His most recent work was Rapping with Shakespeare, in which an English teacher uses hip hop and rap to help his students in South Central Los Angeles connect with the Bard’s characters.

“The story of the rescuers, who risked their careers by choosing God over their governments, has universal significance,” he said. He was inspired by a trip to Ellis Island.

He added, “If Steven Spielberg can make The Color Purple (on the lives of black women in the Deep South), why can’t I make a film about the Holocaust?”

    Last updated: 4:16pm, April 23 2009