Turkish-Jewish Documentary Premieres
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.
Michael Asuze with Hon. Yavuz Aktas
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.
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.
is a letter Mr. Aktas received from one of the audience
which reflects an impression and aftereffects of the
Yavus Aktas, the
Honorable Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in
* * * *
Mr. Aktas: Shalom.
wife Rosemary and I, Isac Kapulski, walked out last
night, following the extraordinary
evening that we and all those who attended the "Desperate
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
of the Nazi horror that assailed the world.
am certain that we express feelings that must have been
shared by all persons
the presentations made by you, by Consul General
Ram and by Rabbi Ezoz were heartwarming, full of sensitivity,
deeply into our hearts and souls.
At a time,
when it seems to be fashionable to be criticizing and
against Israel, for its efforts to protect the
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
home - Israel.
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
selfless and compassionate generosity performed by the Turkish people
when the world turned its back to the victims of the
of these selfless "Guemilut Chassadim" - Acts
of Loving Kindness, The
world is indeed
a better place.
Isac and Rosemary Kapulski