Documentary filmmaker Artemis Joukowsky, who co-directed Defying the Nazis: The Sharps War, recently spoke to Catholic Memorial School juniors in West Roxbury about filmmaking and living a moral life.
Mr. Joukowsky worked for more than 15 years to research the story of his grandparents, Unitarian Minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife, Martha Sharp. As Nazi Germany conquered Czechoslovakia and France, the Sharps left their family in Wellesley, Mass., and went to Europe to rescue Jewish refugees and bring them to the United States.
Mr. Joukowsky collaborated with noted documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on the project. Tom Hanks provided the voice for Waitstill Sharp.
All juniors watched the film in their US History classes as part of a unit on World War II and the Holocaust.
“We were blessed with the presence and insights of a tremendous filmmaker and very deep and substantial person,” said Vin Bradley, chair of the History and Social Studies Department. “We strive to bring thought leaders like Artemis Joukowsky to campus in order to bring the past to life, and help students recognize the heroic choices made in our nation’s history.”
In his appearance, Mr. Joukowsky shared his thoughts on courage and morality in relation to the story of his grandparents. In place of a typical speech, Mr. Joukowsky engaged in a conversation with students.
“I thought it was really interesting to talk with Mr. Joukowsky about his film,” said junior John Dashe. “I especially liked how he made it so engaging having an open-ended conversation about the messages and themes of his film.”
"I thought Mr. Joukowsky had great insight not only on his grandparents’ story or the filmmaking process, but also on how our moral education provides us with a foundation from which we can make the world a better place,” said junior Jack Manning.
“It was fascinating to be in the presence of someone related to the Sharps, who were true American heroes,” said junior Michael Maloney.
Mr. Joukowsky has screened his film at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and at the White House for scholars and Holocaust survivors.
Article reprinted with permission from Catholic Memorial.
About Catholic Memorial
Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, is an all-boys college-preparatory school that transforms lives and prepares them for college and the world. The school is in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.catholicmemorial.org.