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Stephen Fry Announces Documentary About Queer WWII Heroes

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry has a new project on the way for Channel 4 in the U.K., a documentary about two queer artists who fought back against the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands during World War II, Yahoo! News reports.

“I confess that before Rik Carmichael and John Hay sent me the fruits of their amazing research, I had never heard of Willem Arondeus or Frieda Belinfante — a pair whom I now regard as being authentic and remarkable heroes,” Fry said. It’s an oversight the documentary Willem and Frieda: A Story of Resistance seeks to correct.

Prior to WWII, artist Willem Arondeus and cellist Frieda Belinfante lived out lives in the Netherlands. All that changed, however, when the war broke out. Arondeus and Belinfante gave up their careers for a new gig: helping Jews escape persecution in their country.

The two worked together, first forging documents, then plotting to blow up the Central Records Office when the Nazis began checking their forgeries against real records.

Their example of bravery inspired Fry.

“Living their lives as openly gay in the 1930s was remarkable enough, but once the Nazis invaded their homeland of the Netherlands, they found in themselves a depth of courage and determination that is, across the years, still inspiring,” he told Yahoo! News.

“It’s a question we often ask ourselves – how would I respond to the occupation of my country? Would I fight for freedom or duck down and keep out of trouble?” he asked. “I think the world needs to be reminded of Willem and Frieda, ordinary people who found extraordinary inner resources.”

Along with narrating Arondeus and Belinfante’s stories, Fry will also share his personal experience in today’s ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and social justice. 

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