Saving the Rabbits of Ravensbrück
It was February 5, 1945, in Ravensbrück, the largest women's only concentration camp in the Third Reich. The inmates - Catholic, Protestant, Jewish women – were starving, sick, and struggling to survive day-to-day in the camp known as “Hitler’s Hell for Women." Many had lost husbands, children, and other beloved family and friends; all had lost their countries. Yet these women, from over 20 different nations, still found a way to come together and risk their lives to save 63 young Catholic Polish inmates, many of whom were high school and college students, who had been horribly maimed by Nazi experimental surgeries on their legs and slated for execution. Not only did this international group of women pull off one of the most amazing large-scale concentration camp rescues of the war, but ensured that the young Polish students, known as the “Rabbits," survived to testify at the Nuremberg Trials against their Nazi doctors. It took the courage and cooperation of thousands of women, of varying countries, religions, and political beliefs, but in the end - and against all odds - they saved the Rabbits of Ravensbrück.
Through this story, a larger truth begins to emerge: there is great strength, courage, and heroism in empathy and compassion. The Rabbits and the international group of inmates who helped them used it to defy the Nazis again and again and again, despite starvation, disease, and machine guns. The focus of the film is how these women accomplished the impossible, overcoming cultural, religious, economic, and political differences, to resist the brutality and oppression of the Nazis - not through armed conflict - but through mutual aid and cooperation. The women of Ravensbrück, on many levels a microcosm of the world today, remind us of a strength greater than any weapon - and one within us all.
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