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Arabs Too Were Among The Righteous Gentiles

The Yom HaShoah commemoration always focuses on the righteous gentiles, who risked arrest and imprisonment for hiding Jews during World War II.  Go through the Jerusalem Forest, and view the Righteous Among the Nations.  Here names are placed next to a tree of individuals, who lived in countries occupied by Nazi Germany and were allies of Nazi Germany, who went through great risks in hiding Jews from arrest and deportation.  People in Europe, but there are also people in North Africa.  Arabs who lived in North Africa, are among those too who risked arrest and imprisonment hiding Jews.  When France surrendered on June 22, 1940, the collaborationist Vichy French Government took over led by Marshall Phillippe Petain, the French war hero who gallantly defended Verdun during World War I, with "They shall not pass."  But during World War II, Marshall Petain went along pathetically with the Nazi German Government, and so did France's overseas possessions, such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Syria.  Many French Jews fled to North Africa, to try to escape arrest and deportation in France, only to face a similar fate in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.  But like in France, righteous gentiles hid them, and also in North Africa righteous gentiles hid them too, righteous gentiles who just happened to be Arab.  At the Jerusalem Forest among the Righteous Among the Nations are the names of European cities, where the righteous gentiles hid Jews, cities such as Riga, Vilnius, Minsk, Lvov, and Odessa.  But with the research that was done by the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, about both the Arabs and Jews who were a part of this operation in North Africa during World War II, the names of Casablanca, Fez, Tangier, Oran, Algiers, and Tunis have also been included.  To show that Arabs too were also among the righteous gentiles.

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Comment by Irit Hakim-Keller on April 12, 2014 at 5:45pm

Indeed it is about time to make justice with the dear Arab  people who helped Jews during the WW2. 

Comment by Deena Stryker on April 12, 2014 at 4:55pm

Great addition to knowledge of history!

Comment by Tim Upham on April 19, 2013 at 9:54pm
Comment by Tim Upham on April 19, 2013 at 7:51pm

I worked with Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and we interviewed people in Paris, Casablanca, Fez, Oran, Tunis, and Israel who were apart of this situation.  Many of them are now dead, but those living indicated that up to 2,000 were involved in this during World War II.  I interviewed an Arab man in Tunis, who had 24 Jews hidden on his family compound.  He told me that his heart stopped, when the Vichy French were searching everywhere, but his father led them all out to some nearby caves.  One of them was a bed-ridden man still alive in Paris.

Comment by Eyal Raviv on April 19, 2013 at 12:21pm

I appreciate this discussion of Arabs as righteous gentiles because it show what is possible even in difficult times. This discussion is featured in our recommendations this week!

Comment by Tim Upham on April 10, 2013 at 1:15am

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. just asked me to send a personal note to a Holocaust survivor -- very few of them are left too.  Many times these people survived, because a righteous gentile took them in, hid them and provided for them.

Comment by Tim Upham on April 10, 2013 at 12:19am

No it does not focus on them.  What is focuses on are those that helped.  Focus can be placed on the casualties, but just the casualties alone, indicates that no one was willing to help.  Which is not true.  Because during World War II, there were Arabs, primarily in North Africa that did help.  What the Allies did during World War II, was exactly the same as during World War I "stop the war, and the massacres will stop."  It is just that when the war stopped, millions of people were left dead.

Comment by Jeff stern on April 10, 2013 at 12:06am

Look, agree with me that this "The Yom HaShoah commemoration always focuses on the righteous gentiles," is not true. You are not looking at the Holocaust from all sides, you are looking at it from one very minor side. What is I put an article up about the Jewish terrorist and how charitably he was and just an over all well mannered guy... and that's it... Dont you see?

Comment by Tim Upham on April 9, 2013 at 11:50pm

But Yom HaShoah is not to claim that the Jews did not have any friends nor allies either.  Refugees from Europe were not allowed to enter the United States, so that does not mean there was no one concerned in the American Government.  Because both Eleanor Roosevelt and former President Herbert Hoover fought Congress to allow them entry.  Herbert Hoover was probably more successful getting them into the United States, and finding them jobs, many times at American universities.  Also, how many of them that got into the United States, which become pivotal parts of the American motion picture industry.  We can honor those who died, but also to look at the Holocaust from every angle.  Because the State of Israel was settled by survivors in the late 1940's, but in the 1950's the majority of them was Mizrahim from the Middle East.  When I did presentations at Yad Vashem, I woud frequently get people to exclaim to me "I did not know that!"  Because the Holocaust is by no means a closed subject, even today.

Comment by Jeff stern on April 9, 2013 at 11:31pm

Exceptions are fine but out of context it is the twisting of the truth. Yom Hashoa does not focus on righteous gentiles, it focuses on the horrible crimes committed against the Jews and those who survived, never forget. To say it focuses on righteous gentiles is to not understand the commemoration at all.... You missed the point completely.

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