“Varian Fry was a young Harvard-educated journalist and editor who worked for the American Emergency Rescue Committee during World War II. His primary goal was to prevent notable artists, writers and political exiles, many of them Jewish, from being interned in concentration camps. Stationed in Marseilles in 1940, Fry procured visas, created false passports and sought out escape routes on both sea and land for almost 2,000 people, including Marc Chagall, André Breton and Max Ernst. His inherently dramatic tale is the basis for Julie Orringer’s thoughtful and absorbing new novel, The Flight Portfolio.
For just over a year, Fry and a core staff of Jewish and non-Jewish expats focused their efforts in the south of France, collaborating with an extensive network of forgers, blackmailers and petty thieves. Working out of a hotel room, Fry eventually rented a villa to provide a temporary home for refugees who needed a safe residence.”