This is one more reason that the ADL is wrong about the Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero. You will not win their hearts and minds with intolerance.
Do you hear me, Dr. Dean?
The Mosque That Sheltered Jews
“Their children are like our own children”
“Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested. The old, the women, and the children. In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune – or sorrow – lasts. Oh, man of my country, your heart is generous.”
– A tract read to immigrant Algerian workers in Paris, asking them to help shelter Jewish children.
by Annette Herskovits
There is in the center of Paris a handsome mosque with a tall slender minaret and lovely gardens. It was built in the 1920s, as an expression of gratitude from France for the over half-million Muslims from its African possessions who fought alongside the French in the 1914-1918 war. About 100,000 of them died in the trenches.
During World War II, when the Germans occupied France, the mosque sheltered resistance fighters and North Africans who had escaped from German POW camps. (The French recruited 340,000 North African troops into the French army in 1939.) When the French police started rounding up Jews and delivering them to the German occupiers, the mosque sheltered Jews as well, most of them children.
The Nazi program called for eliminating all Jews, of any age. More than 11,600 Jewish children under 16, including 2,000 younger than six, were deported from France to be murdered at camps in eastern Europe. Still, 83 percent of the Jewish children living in France in 1939 survived. Most were “hidden,” that is, given non-Jewish identities to keep them out of the authorities’ reach. This required massive help from the French people.
Hiding children entailed a complex, extended organization. Rescuers had to get hold of the children, which often meant kidnapping them from detention centers or Jewish children’s homes in full view of the Nazi occupiers. They had to procure false papers, find shelter (in foster homes, boarding schools, convents), raise funds to pay for upkeep, and send the payments without attracting attention.
They had to keep records, in code, of the children’s true and false names and whereabouts, bring the children to their hiding places in small groups, and visit them regularly to ascertain that they were well treated. Many who participated in this work – both Jews and non-Jews – perished.
Innumerable French citizens provided aid of a less active kind: they remained silent, even when they suspected the children were fugitives. Many of the children were recent immigrants who spoke French with an accent and did not “look” French. A child might disclose his or her true name when surprised – or in defiance. Most at risk were very young children who needed repeated coaching.
Annette was one of those children.
h/t to valadon from a re-tweet and an article at Street Spirit