In April 2017, the front page of the Sunday New York Times Metropolitan section was devoted to the story of an unlikely hero…
HOW TO BECOME A GUERILLA
Coming of Age with Varian Fry and the Underground in Wartime France
by Justus Rosenberg
William Morrow, 2018
Justus Rosenberg, shockingly spry at 95 and teaching a full load of World Literature classes at Bard College, turns out to have been instrumental in saving countless lives during the Holocaust. Born in Danzig (now Gdansk), Poland, to a Jewish family, Rosenberg fled to France in 1937 and, remarkably, remained there throughout the war, fighting with the Resistance, escaping from a detention camp whose internees were destined for Auschwitz, and joining the underground network of Varian Fry. Fry, a journalist who helped over two thousand artists and intellectuals escape Europe for the safety of the U.S.—including Marc Chagall, Franz Werfel, Alma Mahler, Hannah Arendt, Max Ernst, and André Breton—put 19-year-old Rosenberg to work running dangerous missions that included scouting border crossings, procuring false documents, and getting those documents into the hands of refugees. Rosenberg is now considered to be the last living member of Fry’s courageous band of rescuers.
Justus Rosenberg is a Commander of the French Legion of Honor and has been awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He is also Professor Emeritus of Languages and Literature at Bard College in New York. He has previously taught at Swarthmore College, New York University, and Singapore University.