Magazine article Tablet Magazine

BREAKING: Not All the French Collaborated

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

BREAKING: Not All the French Collaborated

Article excerpt

Though the Holocaust is not exactly unspoiled cinematic terrain, movies that explore new angles should be welcome. So all should look forward to Les Hommes Libres, a French film whose American rights have been sold. Directed by a French-Moroccan and starring a Palestinian as a Jew, it depicts the real-life story of the Grand Mosque of Paris, which during the Nazi occupation saved Jews (estimates vary widely, from merely several dozen to a few thousand). Most of them were Sephardic and could therefore pretty easily pass, though at least one person has suggested her Ashkenazic mother was also protected by the mosque and its founder and leader, Si Kaddour Benghabrit.

You learn all of the above, and much more, in this dispatch from former Times Paris bureau chief Elaine Sciolino. Yet am I the only one who was put off by the "gee-whiz," condescending tone of the piece, which basically takes the position that it is really quite remarkable that there were Muslimsyes, even Muslimswho were against shipping Jews off to gas chambers?

If you think I'm overstating my case, please consult the third paragraph: "Muslims, it seems, rescued Jews from the Nazis." Muslims, of all people! Assuming for no particular reason that we would be confused or bewildered by the notion of Muslims wishing for Jews not to die, Sciolino reassures us, "It was simpler than it sounds." Phew. "In the early 1940s France was home to a large population of North Africans, including thousands of Sephardic Jews," she reports. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.