War Atlas (1940)


"No One Can Follow Today's News Intelligently Without Maps":
First Edition of War Atlas, 1940,
With Text by World War II Rescuer Varian Fry

Fry, Varian. Herlin, Emil. War Atlas. A Handbook of Maps and Facts. New York: Foreign Policy Association, 1940.

Slim octavo. Paper Wrappers. 1st Edition.

First edition of this helpful collection of annotated maps explaining the events of World War II, with text by Varian Fry, best known for rescuing dozens of Jewish and anti-Nazi Europeans. Released by the Foreign Policy Association, this atlas was created to help readers understand World War II news through accessible, clean maps ("Minorities in Poland", "The Threat to Scandinavia", "China's Supply Lines", etc.) drafted by renowned cartographer Emil Herlin. The accompanying text facing each map was produced by American journalist Varian Fry. Fry was the first American to be recognized as "Righteous Among Nations" for his work saving Jewish and anti-Nazi intellectuals. Stationed in Europe, Fry began writing about antisemitic abuses in Germany for the New York Times in 1935. Horrified by what he had witnessed, he devoted himself to faithfully cataloguing Nazi aggressions and raising money to fight the Nazis. After the Germans occupied France, Fry began a rescue organization operating out of Vichy France. Armed with just $3000 and a list of people targeted by the Gestapo, Fry leveraged every connection he had including the quiet patronage of Eleanor Roosevelt to begin saving the people on the list. Fry saved dozens of people, many high-profile, including Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernest. After the war, he was widely ostracized as he began suffering from visible symptoms of mental and physical illness and rumors of his homosexuality pushed him out of his previous social circles. Nevertheless, he remained one of the most effective rescuers of the war, uniquely notable for his contributions to saving European culture. Faint college library stamp with pencil notation "Vertical file duplicate copy. 2 copies catalogued April 1940" on front wrapper. About-fine condition.

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