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“Resistance”: How Marcel Marceau Saved Children In World War II

You probably remember Marcel Marceau, the “King of Mimes,” from watching the Ed Sullivan show or countless other variety shows in the ’60s and ’70s.

Personally, I have never been a fan of mimes, especially the street version, and have found myself laughing at them more than with them. But even as a kid, I remember being affected by Marceau when I saw him on TV. He told stories silently, not about being trapped in a box, but about life and the human condition, adding just enough comedy to keep you from crying.

Source: Flickr, Credit: HeyValera

What I didn’t know, and maybe what most of us don’t fully appreciate about “the greatest generation,” is what Marceau did during World War II. He was an artist who, through circumstance and conscience, worked with the French resistance fighting the Nazis and, in the end, saved thousands of children from certain death. He was an expert document forger, helping the underground navigate through the Reich, and a gentle soul who kept children entertained and shielded from the horror around them. And when given the opportunity to exact revenge on those that were killing, Marcel Marceau chose to save lives instead, insisting that surviving was the ultimate victory.

That’s the story that “Resistance” tells. Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, one of Venezuela’s best known filmmakers, it’s a tale of bravery, selflessness, horror and loss, and ultimate triumph; a clarion call to everyone, reminding us that one person can make a difference. The fact that Marceau and so many other resistance fighters and Allied troops were able to return to a normal life after such tragedy shows the triumph of the human spirit and the hope that good will always destroy evil.

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Larry Pollack
Larry Pollack
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