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Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**

For immediate release

"Desperate Hours"
Turkish-Jewish Documentary Premieres in Chicago

By Sel Yackley
Midwest Correspondent

Two hundred fifty persons attended the premiere of the documentary "Desperate Hours" shown at to a mixed audience of Jewish American and Turkish Americans at Wilmette Theatre, north of Chicago, recently.

The documentary recounts the efforts of Turkish diplomats and the Turkish government during the Hitler rule in Germany to safeguard human life and integrity.  "This was definitely a tender chapter in the long history of friendship and fraternity between the Turkish and Jewish people," said Hon. Yavuz Aktas, Consul General of Turkey, as he addressed the standing-room-only audience before the screening.  He spoke about the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 and how the Ottoman Empire welcomed thousands of Jewish refugees.



Rabi Michael Asuze with Hon. Yavuz Aktas


"The Jewish people brought with them their knowledge, talents and capital, contributing significantly to the development of the Ottoman industry, agriculture and cultural life," he said. In the 1930s Ataturk provided jobsto Jewish academicians, scientists and musicians, who were deemed unfit to teach in Germany by the Nazis in Turkish universities and institutions." These refugees helped in the development of Turkish education and the advancement of the arts, said Mr. Aktas.

The documentary integrates black and white clips of Hitler, his lieutenants and the concentration camps with interviews by descendants of Jews saved by the Turks and recollection of dangerous stands taken by a number of Turkish diplomats in Europe.  Many risked their lives to keep the Jewish people from being sent to camps. Also addressing the crowd was the Hon. Moshe Ram, the Consul General of Israel who thanked Turkey for standing by the state of Israel in the past and during these "crisis times."  Rabbi Michael Ezus spoke about the warmth and friendship of the Turkish people and how his ancestors had fled Spain and found refuge and solace in the Ottoman Empire.


The showing of the documentary was jointly sponsored by the Jewish-American League of Chicago and the Turkish American Cultural Alliance. Desperate Hours" is also available in DVD and by contacting the Turkish Consulate in Chicago.

Below is a letter Mr. Aktas received from one of the audience which reflects an impression and aftereffects of the documentary.

* * * * *

To Yavus Aktas,  the Honorable Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Chicago

Dear Mr. Aktas: Shalom.

 

My wife Rosemary and I, Isac Kapulski, walked out last night, following the extraordinary evening that we and all those who attended the "Desperate Hours" film presentation at the Wilmette Theater witnessed, with a sense of awe and deep respect for the Republic of Turkey and all of its citizens for all of the wonderful acts of loving kindness performed by the Turkish people over the centuries, and especially during the dark and horrible years of the Nazi horror that assailed the world.

I am certain that we express feelings that must have been shared by all persons present,  that the presentations made by you, by Consul General Moshe Ram and by Rabbi Ezoz were heartwarming, full of sensitivity, penetrating deeply into our hearts and souls.


At a time, when it seems to be fashionable to be criticizing and joining the "bandwagon"  against Israel, for its efforts to protect the integrity of its land  and security of its population, it was refreshing to be at a gathering where true friendship was expressed by you, reflecting the strong ties of friendship that bind your  nation, the Jewish people and its ancestral home - Israel.

I feel that the movie presentation: "Desperate Hours" should be shown to as many audiences as possible throughout the  USA (and wherever there are Turkish and Israeli  Consulates)  to create a greater awareness about the righteous, selfless and compassionate generosity performed by  the Turkish people when the world turned its back to the victims of the Holocaust.

Because of these selfless "Guemilut Chassadim" - Acts of Loving Kindness, The world is indeed  a better place.

Cordially,

Isac and Rosemary Kapulski

E-mail to: seliko@earthlink.net

This issue dedicated to such distinguished poet & composer as (alphabetical order):
Nazim HIKMET & Ilhan MIMAROGLU

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