Former commando to discuss historic rescue effort during April 18 event

April 01, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative at Penn State is co-sponsoring a virtual program marking the 45th anniversary of the rescue of more than 100 hostages held by international terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda.

The free public program — scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 18 — requires registration. It will feature Rami Sherman, who participated in the 1976 Operation Thunderbolt as an officer in Israel’s top commando unit, and Boaz Dvir, the initiative’s director, who has written and made documentaries about this mission, including “How Special Ops Became Center to the War on Terror,” which he co-produced with Retro Report for The New York Times.

The hour-long program is part of a series hosted by the New York-based Sousa Mendes Foundation.

“Our foundation honors the Holocaust rescuer and hero Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who displayed moral courage in his rescue action,” said the foundation’s president, Olivia Mattis. “It is an honor for us to feature the Entebbe rescuer Rami Sherman, who embodies the bravery and humanistic values that Sousa Mendes espoused.”

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Operation Thunderbolt, widely considered a turning point in the West’s counterterrorism efforts.

“Operation Thunderbolt, which took place when I was 9 years old, altered my worldview,” said Dvir, an assistant professor of journalism and an award-winning nonfiction storyteller. “Getting to know Rami in recent years has given me a great deal with insight into what happened, why it happened, and what it means today.”

Founded and led by Dvir, the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative partners with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and other organizations to provide educators with the professional development and teaching tools to tackle difficult topics.

The Sousa Mendes Foundation is dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust rescuer Aristides de Sousa Mendes and to teaching the importance of moral courage in a civilized world. Named “Organization of the Year” in 2012 by The Portuguese Tribune, the foundation is engaged in a worldwide search for families who escaped Nazi-occupied Europe through Portugal.

Last Updated April 02, 2021