Online Event: Saving Israel: WWII Aviators in Israel's War of Independence - Boaz Dvir
June 18, 2020 –
Boaz Dvir joins us on Zoom to discuss his new book Saving Israel: The Unknown Story of Smuggling Weapons and Winning a Nation’s Independence.
As it prepared to ward off an invasion by five well-equipped neighboring armies in 1948, newborn Israel lacked the weapons to defend itself. Enter Al Schwimmer, an American World War II veteran who feared a repeat of the Holocaust. He created factitious airlines, bought decommissioned airplanes from the US War Asset Administration, fixed them in California and New Jersey, and sent his pilots—Jewish and non-Jewish WWII aviators—to pick up rifles, bullets, and fighter planes from the only country willing to break the international arms embargo: communist Czechoslovakia.
Award-winning filmmaker and Penn State University assistant professor Boaz Dvir tells the stories of ordinary people who, under extraordinary circumstances, transform into trailblazers who change the world around them. They include an average inner-city schoolteacher who emerges as a disruptive innovator and a national model (Discovering Gloria); a World War II flight engineer who transforms into the leader of a secret operation to prevent a second Holocaust (A Wing and a Prayer); an uneducated truck driver who becomes a highly effective child-protection activist (Jessie’s Dad); and a French business consultant who sets out to kill former Nazi officer Klaus Barbie and ends up playing a pivotal role in history’s most daring hostage-rescue operation (Cojot).