Remembering the Muslim "Schindlers" Who Saved Jews from the Nazis

(Ha'aretz) Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt - In 1940, Iranian diplomat Abdol Hossein Sardari had just taken over the Iranian consulate in Paris after the Nazi invasion. France's Iranian-Jewish expatriate community was included in Nazi racial purity laws, they were forced to wear a yellow patch and carry stamped documents. Sardari argued that Iranian Jews, like Persians, were part of the Aryan race. "By virtue of their blood, their language, and their customs," he wrote, "Persian Jews are assimilated into the indigenous race and are of the same biological stock as their neighbors, the Persians and the Sartes (Uzbeks)." Sardari issued new Iranian passports for the Iranian-Jewish community that allowed for freer travel across Europe and saved over 2,000 lives. Other Muslims included Albanian King Zog I (1895-1961), who opened the borders of Albania to all Jewish refugees - thus making Albania one of the only European countries with more Jews at the end of the war than before it. Khaled Abdul Wahab, a Tunisian, ferried two dozen Jews to safety as the Nazis took over the town of Mahdia, and then protected them for the next two years. Si Ali Sakkat, a former mayor of Tunis, was approached by 60 Jewish-Tunisian laborers escaping a labor camp; Sakkat brought them into his farm southwest of Tunis. Mohamed Helmy, an Egyptian-born doctor living in Berlin, personally hid four Jews throughout the war years, and was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2013.

2016-02-05 00:00:00

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