The Muslims who fought the Nazis

There were many Muslims who sacrificed their wellbeing to help Jews during the horrific times of Nazi supremacy in Germany. Noor Inayat Khan, for instance, was born to an Indian Sufi mystic. When she was a child, her parents escaped revolutionary Moscow in a carriage belonging to Tolstoy’s son. When, in May 1940, the Germans began occupying Paris, Khan and her family fled like the millions of others on a boat to England. There, Noor joined the British war effort. By 1942, she was recruited by Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a wireless operator. What she was doing was helping the underground French effort and preparing for the English’s D-Day invasions. Her job, among the SOE agents, was the most dangerous. In fact, a Resistance telegrapher would stay alive for about six weeks on average in Paris.

Behic Erkin was the Turkish ambassador in Paris. He provided citizenship papers and passports to thousands of Jews and arranged their evacuation by rail across Europe. Abdol-Hossein Sardari worked at the Iranian consulate in Paris and helped thousands of Jews avoid Nazi capture. He basically convinced the Germans that Iranian Jews were Aryan and that they had been Iranian since the days of Cyrus the Great. He then issued hundreds of Iranian passports to non-Iranian Jews to save their lives. Finally, Ahmed Somia, the Tunisian co-director of the French Muslim Hospital outside of Paris, organized weapon caches, helped Resistance radio transmissions, treated wounded Resistance fighters and helped many U.S and British pilots by hiding them. Obviously, Eastern Europe offered even more examples. In the Balkans, only 200 Jews lived in Albania before WWII, but by the end of the war, about 2,000 Jews lived in the country from Greece, Austria and other places in the continent.  Read the rest of the details and watch Michael Wolfe’s PBS film coming out this week at The Washington post.

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