The Muslim Who Helped Save Holocaust Jews
A film named “Des Hommes Libres” (“The Freemen” in English), traces the heroism of the founder of the Grand Mosque of Paris who played a part in helping save Jews from the Nazis during the devastating Holocaust.
The film, released on September 28 2011, tells the story of Algerian-born Kaddour Benghabrit, founder of the Great Mosque of Paris, who rescued Jews in France from the Nazi brutality.
Benghabrit provided shelter and Muslim identification documents to scores of Jews to help them escape arrest by Nazi troops.
He used the Grand Mosque of Paris to shelter more than 100 Jews from persecution. The Mosque’s role in sheltering Jews from the Nazis was also explored by a television documentary tilted “A Forgotten Resistance: The Mosque of Paris” in 1991.
Hiding Jews inside the Mosque, Benghabrit gave tours to German officers and their wives to deceive them.
One account from a North African Jew named Albert Assouline who escaped from a German prison camp, shed light on what the Muslims did to help their ‘Brothers in Faith’, the Jews.
Assouline said that more than 1,700 resistance fighters, including Jews, found refuge in the Mosques underground caverns, and that the Imam provided many Jews with certificates of Muslim identity.
Benjamin Stora, France’s pre-eminent historian on North Africa, told The New York Times:
“Much has been written about Muslim collaboration with the Nazis. But it has not been widely known that Muslims helped Jews.”
Kaddour Benghabrit is not a well-known figure, but he is definitely a person people can look up to as a positive role model who helped those of another Faith, who were afflicted and in need of help. The film will help show this.
Watch the trailer below