‘Jewish Schindler’ saves more than 1,200 refugees fleeing tyranny in Syria, Iran and Iraq

Yank Barry is a Canadian philanthropist and humanitarian who's saving families from imminent danger

By Nathan Legg
Posted on Sep 9, 2014 - 9:04am

SOFIA, Bulgaria (Daddyhood.net)  
Yank Barry in Bulgaria

‘Jewish Schindler’ Yank Barry along with former heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield visiting a refugee camp in Bulgaria. (NOV, 2013)

The headline in the Jerusalem Post says it all: ‘Jewish Schindler’ reaches goal of saving more than 1,200 Muslim and Christian refugees.

The Post, Israel’s esteemed newspaper that is read throughout the world, declared that news in today’s paper.

To date, Yank Barry, the Jewish Canadian humanitarian and philanthropist, has been a savior for 1,218 Muslim and Christian refugees who have fled the violence and volatility in their home countries of Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Barry first rose to international acclaim as lead singer of The Kingsmen which produced the pop culture classic ‘Louie, Louie.’ Now he’s making headlines for his humanitarian work and philanthropy.

These days Barry, both as an individual and as the co-founder of the not-for-profit Global Village Champions Foundation (GVCF), focuses a lot of his attention on relieving the plight of refugees fleeing oppression who have landed in nearby Bulgaria seeking safety and shelter.

The refugee crisis has been at the forefront of news coverage for many months now.

Instead of just watching events unfold, Barry has been working tirelessly to save as many of the refugees as possible, many of whom make it refugee camps in Bulgaria.

In cooperation with the Bulgarian government, Barry rescues families and puts them up at hotels he has secured. He makes sure they get everything they need–and then some.

At a news conference in Bulgaria, through a translator Nikolay Chirpanliev, president of the State Refugee Agency in Bulgaria, praised Barry.

“[Barry and GVCF] have focused their efforts in helping those who need help the most: Sick people, families with lots of kids, those traumatized by war and lost relatives,” said Chirpanliev.

Locals in Bulgaria have dubbed Barry the “Jewish Schindler,” quickly spread by the Jerusalem Post.

During World War II, Oskar Schindler, who was not Jewish, saved 1,200 Jews from death at the hands of the Nazis.

Barry, while aware of the comparisons does not equate himself to Schindler, but says the number of 1,218 is significant.

“Eighteen in Hebrew means life, that is life to 1,218 people,” said Barry at the joint news conference.


Barry is accountable for each refugee released into the care of GVCF, guaranteeing they become contributing members of Bulgarian society. He agrees to provide essentials such as food, shelter, clothing and health care coverage; but also gives extras like toys for the children, language classes and opportunities for adults. Barry’s mission is to give each person in exile a chance to rebuild their lives.

Barry and his not-for-profit are also supplying the daily food needs for the more than 5,000 refugees in seven Bulgarian camps.

“I see a great ally who considers our problem [Barry’s] own,” added Chipanliev. “Nobody else has done this much to help Bulgaria in this crisis; we can’t be thankful enough.”

Yank Barry and GVCF are clients of Selig Multimedia, Inc., which also owns Daddyhood.

Nathan Legg is a contributing writer for Daddyhood who enjoys most writing stories about dads teaching their sons life lessons, sports and finance. Born in Pittsburgh and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Nathan and his dad’s relationship revolves around sports. Together they watch and discuss all things Black n’ Gold on a daily basis.