Desperate Hours

  • How Turkish diplomats in France and Rhodes put their own lives at risk rescuing Jews of Turkish origin
  • How Turkey recruited the talented men and women Hitler discarded to revamp Turkish sciences, architecture, music, medicine, legal education, and art
  • How the Yishuv -Jews from Pre-State Israel- daringly used Turkey as a base to rescue Jews in locales such as the famous Pera Palace Hotel ? terminus of the Orient Express
  • The tragic sinking of the Struma Refugee Ship with 760 refugees aboard and the odyssey of its lone survivor- David Stoliar
  • How Monsignor Roncalli (who later became Pope John XXIII), then the Apostolic Delegate in Istanbul, worked with delegates of the Yishuv and whose experiences there later inspired him to change Catholic teaching towards Jews
  • The infamous "Jews for Sale" deal - the attempt in 1944 to trade one million Jews for 10,000 trucks

Desperate Hours is based on authoritative scholarship by American, Israeli, Turkish, and Italian historians as well as interviews with survivors, former diplomats and clergy in Israel, Italy, Turkey, Austria and the United States. 

Shenandoah Films produced Desperate Hours in association with The Berenbaum Group and Mainstreet. Desperate Hours is directed and produced by Victoria Barrett. Dr. Michael Berenbaum is the Executive producer, historian and writer. Ronald Goldfarb is the producer for Mainstreet.