Monday, November 13, 2006

Arabs in the Holocaust

Rob Satloff talks about events which have been swept aside due to the Arab-Israeli conflict:
"In my research, I found stories of Arabs who welcomed Jews into their homes, guarded Jews' valuables so Germans could not confiscate them, shared with Jews their meager rations and warned Jewish leaders of coming SS raids. The sultan of Morocco and the bey of Tunis provided moral support and, at times, practical help to Jewish subjects. In Vichy-controlled Algiers, mosque preachers gave Friday sermons forbidding believers from serving as conservators of confiscated Jewish property.

"I found remarkable stories of rescue, too. During the heat of battle in the Zaghouan valley, west of Tunis, a group of Jewish internees at an Axis labor camp banged on the farm door of a man named Si Ali Sakkat, who courageously hid them until liberation by the Allies. In the Tunisian coastal town of Mahdia, a dashing local notable named Khaled Abdelwahhab scooped up several families in the middle of the night and whisked them to his countryside estate to protect one of the women from the threat of rape by a German officer.

"And there is strong evidence that perhaps the most influential Arab in Europe - Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris - saved as many as 100 Jews by providing them with certificates of Muslim identity, with which they could evade arrest and deportation. In my view, these men, and others, were true heroes."

Going clear back to here, one of my running themes for the year has been that Arab anti-Semitism is a modern phenomenon out of touch with most of Arab and Islamic history.


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